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Judge grants Olympic Stadium legal challenge

Tottenham Hotspur and Leyton Orient have been granted a second appeal for a judicial review to block West Ham’s move to the Olympic Stadium.

After the Olympic Park Legacy Company ruled in favour of West Ham United’s move to the Olympic stadium, a second hearing for Tottenham Hotspur FC and Leyton Orient’s bid to block the move has been granted.

A hearing will start in October after Judge Mr Justice Collins agreed Tottenham had an arguable case.

The two clubs started the legal battle after the Olympic Park Legacy Company (OPLC) board voted 14-0 in February to make the Hammers the first choice to move in to the £486 million Populous-designed stadium after the 2012 Games.

Justice Davis had initally rejected Tottenham and Leyton Orient’s application to seek a judicial review.

West Ham, in a joint bid with Newham Council, intended to convert the 80,000-seater stadium into a 60,000-capacity facility which retains an athletics track. The club plans to move from Upton Park in 2014/15 with a 250-year lease, and give a 250-year lease to UK Athletics (UKA).

Previous story (AJ 11.05.2011)

Spurs granted 2012 stadium review

Tottenham Hotspur FC have been granted permission for a judicial review into the decision to allow West Ham to move into the Olympic Stadium following next year’s Games.

Spurs have challenged the role of several parties in awarding West Ham the use of the Populous-designed stadium after the 2012 Games.

The board of the Olympic Park Legacy Company (OPLC) voted 14-0 in February to make the Hammers their preferred choice to take over the £496 million stadium in Stratford, east London.

The decision was backed by both the Government and the London mayor.

However, the Premier League club said in a statement: ‘The club has sought permission from the High Court to bring a claim against the Olympic Park Legacy Company Limited, the mayor of London, the Minister for Sport and the Olympics and the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government for judicial review of a series of decisions made by them to appoint a joint bid by the London Borough of Newham and West Ham United Football Club as preferred bidder in a competition for the lease of the Olympic Stadium.

‘The club continues to hold discussions with both local and national government bodies in order to seek to agree a feasible stadium solution.”

Last month Spurs applied for a judicial review into Newham Council’s role in arranging a £40 million loan to finance West Ham’s move to the £486m stadium, which was constructed by Sir Robert McAlpine and the Team Stadium consortium.

Spurs already have approval for plans to transform their current White Hart Lane home as part of the wider £450 million Northumberland Development Project (NDP) designed by Make and KSS.

However it is understood the Olympic Stadium move could prove a much cheaper option for the North London football club which, having been forced to amend and shrink its NDP scheme to allay heritage fears, has admitted having doubts over the viability of the project (see AJ 26.01.11).

Previous story (AJ 31.03.11)

Spurs set to challenge Olympic stadium decision

Tottenham Hotspur is set to take court action over the decision to hand the Olympic Stadium to West Ham after the 2012 Games

West Ham was chosen as the preferred bidder by the Olympic Park Legacy Company (OPLC), ahead of its Premier League rivals last month (see below).

The North London club club has now issued a letter before action ahead of an attempt to judicially review that decision - a move which coincides with the completion of construction on the £537 million stadium (see AJ 29.03.11).

An OPLC spokesman told the BBC: ‘We can confirm that a letter before action in relation to potential judicial review proceedings has been issued.

‘The Olympic Park Legacy Company ran a very rigorous and transparent process in its selection of the recommended preferred bidder.

‘We have been supported by independent experts in their field in terms of legal, financial, commercial and technical advice.

He added: ‘We have been consistent, fair, objective and entirely equal in our dealings with the bidders from start to finish. We are confident that if these judicial review proceedings are pursued, our approach will be entirely vindicated by the courts.’

Spurs already have approval for plans to transform their current White Hart Lane home as part of the wider £450 million Northumberland Development Project (NDP) designed by Make and KSS.

However it is understood the Olympic Stadium move could prove a much cheaper option for the North London football club which, having been forced to amend and shrink its NDP scheme to allay heritage fears, has admitted having doubts over the viability of the project (see AJ 26.01.11).

Previous story (11.02.11)

Official: West Ham to move into Olympic Stadium

West Ham United are to move into the Olympic Stadium after the London 2012 Games, the Olympic Park Legacy Company (OPLC) has announced

The Hammers were officially named as the preferred bidder for the showpiece £537 million venue ahead of London Premier League rivals Tottenham Hotspur.

OPLC chair Baroness Ford said the board had considered really carefully and come to a unanimous decision that West Ham United, in the London borough of Newham, should be the long-term tenant.

She said it was a ‘cracking decision for the community of east London’.

The unanimous decision was made after a vote by 14 members of the OPLC board at a special meeting where the future of the venue in Stratford, east London, was the only topic. The meeting started at 8am and the announcement was made soon after it ended just after 12.20pm.

The decision still has to be rubber-stamped by the Government and the London mayor’s office, but it would be a major surprise if it was not accepted.

West Ham’s success, even in the face of relegation, means an athletics track will stay inside the stadium.

The club, in a joint bid with Newham Council, wants to convert the 80,000-seater stadium into a 60,000-capacity arena for football, athletics, concerts and community use.

Tottenham’s plans, part of a joint bid with AEG sport and entertainment group, was to create a football-only stadium without the track and redevelop Crystal Palace for athletics.

West Ham’s success means that ministers and London mayor Boris Johnson, who might have been accused of breaking athletics legacy promises to the International Olympic Committee, have been saved potential embarrassment .

London 2012 chairman Lord Coe was among those calling for the track to be maintained.

Tim Leiweke, president of Anschutz Entertainment Group (AEG), has claimed the Olympic Stadium will ‘go broke in 10 years’ if an athletics track is retained.

The OPLC is aiming for a deal to be struck on the stadium and contracts signed by the end of the financial year.

In a joint statement, Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt and Communities Secretary Eric Pickles said: ‘Today’s recommendation by the OPLC board marks an important milestone for the future of the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park and the whole of the Olympic project.

‘We would like to thank Baroness Ford and all her board members for the conscientious and thorough way they have approached the decision-making process.

‘We will look through their recommendation in detail before coming to our own decision. We aim to make a formal announcement to Parliament shortly.’

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