West Ham's Olympic Stadium move vital to Newham's housing and regeneration plans
Published by Jon Land for 24dash.com in Housing and also in Communities, Local Government
West Ham's Olympic Stadium move vital for Newham's housing and regeneration plans
Today's confirmation of West Ham United's move to the Olympic Stadium in 2016 will pave the way for the development of affordable housing on the site of the club's current stadium.
Although plans for the Upton Park ground remain officially "confidential", its sale is expected to present extensive regeneration opportunities. It is understood any future development will have to include a "significant" number of affordable homes regardless of what else is planned for the site.
The London Borough of Newham is currently in the grip of a major housing crisis.
Last year the council was criticised for attempting to move vulnerable people on its housing waiting list to Stoke-on-Trent due to the lack of appropriate properties.
Figures from September 2012 also showed that the borough had seen a 100% drop in the number of affordable homes under construction while the borough has also been forced to take robust action, through the introduction of a landlord licensing scheme, to address the desperate state of private rented accommodation, including the much-reported 'beds in sheds' epidemic.
West Ham and Newham Council have fought a long battle to secure the Olympic Stadium and today's announcement has been met with jubilation - and huge relief. Regeneration plans for the borough hinged on the success of their joint bid.
Sir Robin Wales, Mayor of Newham, said: “Newham has been committed from the start to ensuring a lasting legacy for the Olympic Stadium that will benefit Newham residents, London and the nation as a whole.
“Our investment of £40 million secures that legacy by transforming the Olympic Stadium into a word class attraction and the beating heart of Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park. This will provide us with a share of the profits generated over the long-term and a range of community benefits for Newham residents.
“It will enable us to support residents into jobs in such an inspirational place, provide tickets to the stadium as a reward for those who put something back into our community, and fire the ambition of Newham children as they cross the same finishing line as their sporting heroes.
“We’re delighted that West Ham United has been chosen by the London Legacy Development Corporation to become the main occupant of the Stadium. It is a community club which shares our vision for Newham and the local area.
“We will now work with our partners to transform and develop the stadium and island site into one of London’s premier destination venues and a home for sport and entertainment for generations to come.”
Dennis Hone, Chief Executive of the London Legacy Development Corporation, said: “West Ham has a long and proud history in the East End so it’s fitting that its new home will be at the heart of Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park. The club also has great experience working with local communities and we are delighted that they will now be partnering with us and Newham Council to bring further sporting, health and education benefits to local people.”
“The Stadium is one of the final pieces in the legacy jigsaw on the Park and with its future now secured, we can be confident of a bright future for generations to come. We are on track to deliver a fantastic new destination and a great legacy for east London.”
West Ham will move into the stadium in summer 2016, after it is transformed into a UEFA Category 4 venue with 54,000 seats. Transformation works will include a new roof, corporate areas, toilets, concessions and retractable seating. In addition to the funds to be provided by the Legacy Corporation for the adaptation works, West Ham will contribute £15 million, Newham Council will invest £40 million and the Government has agreed to provide additional support of up to £25 million should it be required once the tenders are returned.
The deal is expected to generate hundreds of new jobs, encourage many thousands of visitors to the local area and act as a catalyst for further economic investment and growth in the area.
The stadium deal and Newham’s investment also secures a host of community benefits for residents, including:
• Year round access to the 400m community track
• Ten exclusive mass participation events in the Stadium per year for Newham residents
• Millions of tickets to West Ham United matches held in the stadium from 2016
• Additional tickets to sports and other entertainment events held in the stadium
• A training and education centre in the Stadium
• A majority of new jobs created on the site will be filled by Newham residents