LLDC boss defends West Ham Olympic Stadium deal secrecy

The Olympic Stadium (picture: John Giles/PA)

The Olympic Stadium (picture: John Giles/PA) - Credit: PA WIRE

The chairman of the London Legacy Development Corporation has defended the partial redaction of details surrounding West Ham’s Olympic Stadium move.

David Edmonds told the London Assembly’s budget and performance committee that the reasons for not doing so were “purely commercial”.

He said: “There are only some small bits that we have not published of that initial contract.

“Those small pieces relate to the concession agreement with West Ham in terms of what they pay, they relate to the naming rights, they relate to the terms and conditions that apply were the owners of West Ham in due course to sell.

“In all of those cases, our clear legal advice is that publishing the details would be in breach of our original contract with West Ham.”

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He added that the LLDC is currently trying to find a naming rights partner for the stadium and said it would “not be helpful” to put a figure on public record.

The partially redacted rental agreement was released in August following a Freedom of Information request by the BBC.

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It outlines a number of “facilities and services” to be paid for by the LLDC that West Ham, as anchor tenants, will benefit from.

Among the omissions, however, is the sum of money to be paid by the club for their use of the stadium.

There was a reason for that, Mr Edmonds explained, saying: “There is the possibility of other organisations using the stadium and again, we would want to negotiate the highest price we could.

“It is nothing to do with a lack of transparency or fear on our part.”

Last year, the information commissioner ruled the whole deal should be made public, something called for by a number of football supporters’ organisations.

The LLDC has appealed the decision, with a tribunal set to take place at some point this year.

Mr Edmonds confirmed that £4,000 had been spent on legal fees so far – a figure which may rise if the tribunal decision is then appealed.

Stephen Knight AM, the deputy chair of the budget and performance committee, said: “In times when public bodies are facing unprecedented budget cuts, it is more important than ever that public money is spent meeting the needs of the public.

“It is therefore astonishing that the Mayor’s London Legacy Development Corporation is spending thousands of pounds of public money on lawyers to keep the details of the deal with West Ham secret.

“The information commissioner has looked at the arguments and ordered the LLDC to publish the deal in full - and the LLDC should clearly now do so.”

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