We welcome today’s House of Lords report which highlights two serious issues with the future of the Stadium. Firstly, maximising usage of the Stadium for the community, and secondly, maximising the return for the taxpayer.
Recommendation 12 of the report calls on the two most local football clubs to come together and work things out:
“In examining the arguments over the Stadium’s future use, we are concerned that the central point is being missed: the Stadium is a national asset and the focus should be on making the best use of it for the community and for the taxpayer. There is also the issue of the important morale and leadership role two successful football clubs can have in their local community, particularly in the motivation and aspirations of less motivated children in education. Ongoing conflict and bad relationships will only hinder the impact they can have on this work. We urge those concerned to think further on how the two most local football clubs might work together.” Paragraphs 244 and 245 of the House of Lords Report.
Barry Hearn said: “I agree with the House of Lords recommendation, ourselves, West Ham and the LLDC should sit down and work this out together once and for all. Leyton Orient is a local club which undertakes a huge amount of community work in one of the poorest areas in London. There can be no doubt that West Ham moving so close to Orient will have a financially detrimental affect on us and our ability to deliver this community work. Having access to the Olympic Stadium would help us achieve this, all we’ve ever wanted is fair access to and share a national asset funded by the taxpayer. But it’s not just on the community usage side that we can help, we’ve always been happy to pay. It has been said that Orient did not bid enough to cover its costs of using the Stadium, but we were bidding within our means and against ourselves – we do not know what the LLDC want from us because they will not tell us. So we ask them again, publicly, to say what we have to pay to share the Stadium, a national asset which is on our doorstep.
We are writing to the LLDC today seeking a meeting so that we can have an open and transparent discussion about what part we can play in the future use of the Olympic Stadium”