West Ham plans for Olympic Stadium collapse

The DCMS has confirmed that West Ham's plan to buy the Olympic Stadium has collapsed. Instead, a statement released today says:

The stadium will now be retained it as a public asset, and the Olympic Park Legacy Company (OPLC) has been asked to start a new process to secure tenants for the stadium.

Athletics will remain at the heart of the facility, as has been promised as part of the 2017 World Athletics Championship bid, but the OPLC will also seek leasehold football tenants as well as considering alternative options. This ownership model is used very successfully in other stadiums in the country and across Europe and is also in keeping with other venues in the Olympic Park.

Sports Minister Hugh Robertson said:

“The process to sell the stadium has become bogged down.  We are acting today to end the legal paralysis that has put that legacy at risk.  Ending the current sale process and looking for a leasehold solution will remove the current uncertainty and allows us to help secure the future use of the Stadium with more confidence”. 

Back in January we wrote that the West Ham plan was a bad one that might need to be revised, although we didn't anticipate how quickly the whole thing would unravel. This is what happens when people try to play politics with a major stadium. There was a plan on the table from Spurs, which would have delivered a regenerated Crystal Palace (great news for South East London) and found a credible legacy use for the Olympic Stadium.

The new plan, which insists on retaining a major role for athletics at the Olympic Stadium, looks doomed to failure from the start.