The chief of the London Legacy Development Corporation (LLDC) has quit following the launch of an inquiry into the spiralling cost of converting Populous’s 2012 Olympic Stadium into the new home for West Ham Football Club
The LLDC, which operates the east London stadium, confirmed that its chairman since 2015, David Edmonds, had resigned ‘for personal reasons’. Edmonds headed the board of E20 LLP, the joint venture between the Newham Council and the LLDC responsible for the London Stadium, and ‘played a leading role in planning for and delivering the post-games legacy programme’.
Edmond’s resignation follows a series of revelations about the rising costs of turning the centrepiece of the 2012 Olympics into a football ground. This is now estimated at £323 million – £50 million above the estimate given by Boris Johnson’s administration last year.
Earlier this week London mayor Sadiq Khan announced he had become so concerned about the ballooning cost of the project that he had ‘ordered a detailed investigation into the full range of financial issues’.
Work to convert the stadium – including the overhaul of the roof and the addition of 21,000 retractable seats – was originally estimated at £154 million. The figure is understood to have risen dramatically partly due to the complexity of adapting the huge cantilevered roof and the costs of new seating, which has reportedly risen from an estimated £300,000 to £8 million.
The AJ understands that West Ham FC contributed just £15 million towards the conversion costs and that the rest of the £752 million cost of building the arena and subsequently making it fit for football has been met by the taxpayer.
The stadium was in the headlines at the weekend for separate reasons when its was branded unsuitable for football by Burnley chief executive Paul Fletcher, who advised on the original planning of the stadium.
Talking to The Mail on Sunday in the wake of the violence that erupted in the ground during West Ham’s home EFL cup match with Chelsea, he said: ‘This is what happens when politicians and bureaucrats get involved in professional sport. Instead of leaving West Ham a thoroughbred stadium, the legacy is that they have been left a donkey.
‘The only way to get it right is to knock it down and rebuild it.’
Edmonds joined the Board of the Olympic Park Legacy Company in 2010 and continued as an LLDC board member following its inception in 2012.
He chaired the LLDC’s investment committee, and was also deputy chairman until his appointment as chairman last year.
LLDC chief executive David Goldstone said: ‘Edmonds has made an enormous contribution to the legacy of the London 2012 Games and he has helped to steer the organisation through some extremely challenging issues.
’We thank him for all his hard work and wish him well in the future.’
Olympic stadium roof construction November 2014