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Olympic Stadium architect in plea over sole use

London mayor Boris Johnson has been urged not to approve sole use of the Stratford venue after the 2012 Olympics to West Ham United by the architect who drew up the original masterplan for the Games and the Paralympics.

The Hammers should enter into a ground-sharing agreement with Barclays Premier League rivals Tottenham Hotspur at a revamped Olympic Stadium, according to Steve Lawrence.

Stratford Development Partnership commissioned Lawrence, a partner in the London-based firm Carrick, Howell and Lawrence, to carry out an alternative feasibility study for the Olympics more than 10 years ago and he proposed any Stratford venue should be shared by West Ham and Spurs.

The idea, however, was rejected as local land owners were wary of potential conflict between fans.

The Olympic Park Legacy Company has recommended West Ham as the preferred bidder but Lawrence, in a letter to Johnson, called on him not to simply rubber-stamp the decision.

He wrote: “It is appalling that the original proposal for a shared use of the Olympic Stadium by Tottenham Hotspur and West Ham, with the revenue stream being used to fund a Centre for UK Athletics, has not been considered appropriately.

“I wrote to your predecessor, Ken Livingstone, several times from 2000 on about this, your office has therefore been aware of the proposal for ten years.

“I cannot understand why this proposal has not been considered, it is far and away the most cost effective and in not considering it properly, your office is complicit in wasting vast sums of taxpayers and ratepayers money.

“I hope you will now set aside the OPLC recommendation, which is highly-flawed, and instigate a more accountable analysis of proposals including the possibility of a shared use of the stadium.’

Readers' comments (3)

  • That may be a logical solution in Lawrence's eyes but he clearly has no understanding of the resistaance of football fans in the UK to ground sharing. It would never be ageed to so why waste time and money looking at the option.

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  • I think problems with ground sharing have previously occured when one club has made use of another clubs ground. Effectively becoming Landlord and Tenant. I don't believe there has been a situation in the UK where two clubs have moved to a new facility with equal rights. I think sharing should be fully considered but I suspect as with all things new there would be objections from both sets of supporters.

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  • Martin Stockley

    As someone born and brought up in Stratford I am afraid it is now and has always been ridiculous to consider any football club other than West Ham taking over the Olympic Stadium. Football is a territorial support game and it is is unthinkable that any other club should be sited in what (before the creation of Newham) was West Ham.
    Steve Lawrence is exposing a gap in his master planning skills in missing this critical piece of local understanding. In almost any other business he is right that the business argument might hold the key but it is simply unrealistic to take this stand where football is concerned.
    Stratford has been a very deprived part of London for most of its existence. A football club working with British Athletics will be a great legacy for the games and provide a great sports facility for the people of Stratford.

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