By Andrew Warshaw

Olympic_Stadium_February_2010February 15 - The architect who wrote the original masterplan for the London Olympics and Paralympics has written to the Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, urging him not to approve West Ham's sole use of the Stratford venue after the 2012 Games.

Steve Lawrence has re-iterated his view that West Ham should ground-share with Tottenham Hotspur at a revamped Olympic stadium – with the revenue being used to build an adjacent athletics venue to preserve the legacy issue that has caused such ferocious controversy.

Over 10 years ago, Lawrence was commissioned by Stratford Development Partnership to carry out an alternative feasibility study for the Olympics once it became clear that Wembley would never be a viable location for the Games.

He proposed that any venue in Stratford should, after the Games, be shared by Tottenham Hotspur and West Ham United as anchor tenants.

But the idea was rejected because local land-owners were fearful of rowdy fans.

Last Friday (February 11) the Olympic Park Legacy Company (OPLC) Board recommended West Ham as the preferred bidder for the sit and within possibly as little as a week's time, the Mayor and two Government departments are expected to rubber-stamp the move.

But Lawrence says it is the wrong solution and has urged Boris Johnson not to let it happen for fear of wasting public money, and to support a ground-share scheme instead.

"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," wrote Lawrence who has also complained to the Department for Culture, Media and Sport.

"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."


Lawrence told insidethegames that West Ham's sole tenancy of a 60,000-capacity football stadium including the running track would come back to haunt those supporting that option, including the club's vice-chair Karren Brady (pictured).

"The debacle over the legacy use of the Olympic Stadium had been caused by Government failure to put in place a coherent and transparent process," he said.

"Also, the idea that the OPLC - a non-elected body - will make a decision involving considerable expense to the taxpayer is unpalatable for most ordinary people.

"It is not appropriate for such a decision to be simply rubber-stamped by DCMS and the Mayor.

"This is a major national political decision with cost implications for ordinary people and it must be made at the highest level of Government by elected members and then only after proper, open and transparent consideration.

"That consideration must include the possibility of West Ham and Tottenham Hotspur sharing the stadium.

"It is, by far, the most cost effective legacy."

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