Company which operates the Olympic Park gets a grilling over budget
PUBLISHED: 07:00 17 December 2018
The London Legacy Development Corporation received a grilling over the London Stadium at a meeting of the London Assembly’s budget and performance committee.
High operating costs, legal fees and naming rights dominated the discussion about the LLDC’s 2018/19 budget on Wednesday.
Among the questions fired was the issue of naming rights. With no naming sponsor, the London Stadium is losing a significant amount of potential income a year, but so far, there’s been deadlock between West Ham and the LLDC on trying to find one.
“With the football club, we need to get into a better relationship space before we can start talking about things like naming rights,” said Lyn Garner, chief executive of the LLDC.
“You can’t enter into a partnership with someone you’re litigating with. Naming rights is a commercial opportunity we’ve not exploited, but West Ham are a partner in that. They have their own intellectual property in the stadium.
“Before doing that, we have to get onto a better footing with the club.”
Ms Garner, along with the LLDC’s director of finance, Gerry Murphy, and David Gallie from the GLA, were also quizzed on the stadium’s high operating costs, which amount to £6 million a year.
Ms Murphy said: “We’re effectively in the third season now and it’s taken some time for us to get visibility of the costs.
“But now we do have visibility we can action some of the discussions about bringing it down.”
Operating costs cover utilities, staffing, security and pitch maintenance, with operating company LS185 appointed to run the stadium on a daily basis.
Ms Garner added: “Our intention is to sit down with LS185 to go through those costs. I expect it’s a mixed bag, but I would expect some costs to come down. “There are things we could discuss but we have to do it together and be determined to make a difference.”
As well as the stadium, the LLDC’s budget for housing, borrowing and future running of the Olympic Park were also examined. By 2025, Ms Garner said, she’s no longer expecting LLDC to run the park.
She said: “One of my objectives when I joined was to have a look at transition. Estimates for the transition in my head are five to eight years depending on how we work through the detail.
“If we want to keep the park as a single entity and protect the legacy of the park for the success of the future, there’ll need to be a successive body of some sort. The task will be working out who is that.”