By Daniel Hunter
The amount of work needed to convert the Olympic Stadium means it may not be open to the public till August 2016, the London Assembly has heard.
At a meeting of the Assembly’s Budget and Performance Committee, the newly appointed Chief Executive of the London Legacy Development Corporation, Dennis Hone, confirmed that the stadium would not reopen till August 2015 at the earliest and possibly not until August 2016 if West Ham were selected.
Hone told the Committee that the Corporation was exploring various design options to convert the stadium to meet the specifications of the four bidders, with the most complex options unlikely to be completed until the start of the football season in August 2016, four years after the Games.
Hone also denied reports that the stadium could be home to an American Football team, saying no formal bid had been received, and no approach had been made outside of the bidding process. Neale Coleman, the Mayor’s Director of London 2012 Co-ordination, confirmed that the estimated 9.3m annual visitors to the Park presumed up to 2m from the presence of a Premier League football club.
“It’s disappointing to hear of more delay to the Olympic Stadium legacy," John Biggs AM, Chair of the Budget and Performance Committee said.
"Regardless of who gets the stadium, a huge amount of work will need to be done before it can reopen to the public. Over the next three or four years, the LLDC will have to face that extra cost while coping with lost rent and lower visitor numbers on the Olympic Park.
“In the longer-term, questions remain about who will pay for improvements to the Park and whether the LLDC has access to the kind of sums needed to pay for new infrastructure — like schools and health centres - without raiding the public purse.”
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