West Ham granted Olympic stadium approval - better match on “value for money” and “flexible use”

The government and the mayor of London have backed West Ham as the preferred choice to move into the Olympic Stadium following the 2012 London Games.

Their joint bid with Newham Council was approved by Boris Johnson, Hugh Robertson, the minister for sport and the Olympics and Communities minister Bob Neill this morning.

The east London club was initially selected by the Olympic Park Legacy Company over Premiership rivals’ Tottenham Hotspur as the preferred bidder last month.

West Ham’s plans to convert the 80,000-seater stadium into a 60,000 multi-sports venue after next summer were chosen because they provided a better match on value for money, on the duration of the development and on allowing flexible use.

In a written ministerial statement, Bob Neill said: “We are delighted with the progress that has been made and very pleased we have reached this very significant milestone in determining the long term legacy for the Olympic Park following the Games.”

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The Hammers also showed a better capability “to deliver and operate a legacy solution for a venue of the stadium’s size and complexity” and “to ensure that the stadium remains a distinctive physical symbol supporting the economic, physical and social regeneration of the surrounding area.”

Spurs, backed by entertainment company AEG, planned to demolish the existing stadium and rebuild a football-only venue which would have taken longer than the West Ham development.

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The government ministers and Boris will now write to the OPLC who will enter into negotiations with the preferred bidders over the terms of a lease.

Once that is arranged, a final approval will be made.

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