West Ham United’s Olympic Stadium: ‘The nation is the winner’

NEWHAM Council say the country is the winner as West Ham United won the Olympic Stadium battle.

The Olympic Park Legacy Company has this afternoon announced that it has chosen West Ham United and Newham Council as its preferred bidder to take over the 2012 Olympic Stadium after the Games.

Sir Robin Wales, Mayor of Newham, said: “We are delighted by the announcement. We think this decision is the right one and the nation will be the biggest winner.

“We are pleased the OPLC has recognised our bid. London won the right to host the Olympics by making a promise to leave a lasting legacy, not just for us and our children but for future generations. It will inspire people in Newham and beyond.

“We were delighted when public opinion supported this view, and this overwhelming public support has been recognised by the OPLC.

“Our bid is about giving something back to the community, to London and the country. We will make the stadium a magnet for visitors across Britain, Europe and the world, to view and participate in a wide range of sport and entertainment fixtures.

“We want to create a situation where people will feel good about community education projects and more. That means every member of our community could access the Olympic Stadium. Spectacular events drawing huge crowds could sit side by side with community activities. You could go to a Madonna concert – then sing on the same stage in a community choir the next day.”

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Karren Brady, Vice Chairman of West Ham United, said: “Today is a momentous day. I would like to thank the Olympic Park Legacy Company for making us preferred bidder and acknowledge everyone involved in what has been a truly professional process.

“I would also like to recognise the significant contribution of Newham Council, who have shared in our exciting vision from day one, and thank our supporters for trusting in us to take West Ham United to a new level.

“We are proud to have been passed the Olympic torch and fully embrace the responsibility we have for keeping the flame alive.

“We have been working on this project for some time now and are just at the starting line of the race to make this a stadium that will really make the nation proud.

“With our partners we know exactly how to do it. We are working on realising our proposals already. We would like to say far more but fully understand we are still under the process and must continue to respect it - as we have to this point.

“To West Ham supporters, I look forward to extending our consultation process – now that we have the mandate from the OPLC to do so – and I guarantee their views will continue to be heard. We simply cannot wait to show them around this impressive and intimate stadium so they can truly experience the awe and excitement that all who visit are compelled to feel.

“The club is run by supporters and today is another great day in our proud history. This will be your stadium and an atmospheric home for generations to come. Our vision is to move forward always with an eye on the past. We have been granted a once in a lifetime opportunity to grow our club in a way its huge fan base deserves and to really give something back to the community of which it is such an intrinsic part.

“The nation has kept its promise and we’ll keep ours. I promise.’’

Stephen Timms, the MP for East Ham, welcomed the recommendations made by the Olympic Park Legacy Company. The decision followed months of debate over the merits of the two bids – from West Ham United Football and their North London Rivals Tottenham Hotspur. The recommendation must now be ratified by the OPLG, two government departments and the Mayor of London.

He said: “West Ham put in a very strong bid, and as the local team there was a lot of support in Newham and around the country for their bid. Unlike Spurs’ plan to scrap the running track in the stadium, West Ham have promised to keep the track, ensuring the athletics legacy of the Olympic Stadium which was promised when London won the Games.”