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Ken and Wembley team up for 'megalomaniac-free' stadium

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London mayor Ken Livingstone and Wembley National Stadium are to join forces in an effort to persuade the government to build a new stadium in the capital - but free of 'megalomaniacal extras'.

Livingstone told the Greater London Assembly at mayor's question time last week that the scheme must remain in London, was vital for the local economy and that £95 million of GLA money was still available.

'It's a question of removing the megalomaniacal extras. . . that drove the costs through the roof, ' he said. 'If Cardiff can get away with a stadium for £190 million, we should be able to get one for £400 million.'

Livingstone said up to 20,000 jobs would be put at risk if the stadium was built elsewhere.

He also expressed his delight that plans for a multiplex in Crystal Palace Park had fallen through (AJ 17.5.01), but that the GLA must be involved in a future scheme.

'I am delighted the multiplex has collapsed and hope Bromley council will be able to agree an appropriate scheme that will address the environment and concerns of the local people. This must involve the GLA at an early stage for strategic issues to be resolved, ' he said.

Livingstone had also approached culture secretary Chris Smith with the idea of building a new national athletics stadium in Crystal Palace if the project for Picketts Lock in Enfield, designed by FaulkerBrowns and in for outline planning, fell through. Smith told him the government was committed to Picketts Lock, however.

'But if it looks as if it can't go ahead, there's no reason why a little more investment at Crystal Palace wouldn't make that perfectly acceptable as a venue, ' said Livingstone.

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