Designer behind legacy plan was concerned about risks to taxpayer
An anonymous complaint that scuppered West Ham’s bid for the Populous-designed Olympic stadium was made by the architect behind the original legacy plans, it has emerged.
Steve Lawrence, partner at Devon-based practice Carrick Howell & Lawrence, was commissioned by the Stratford Development Partnership in 2000 to produce a feasibility study into holding the Olympics on Stratford Rail Lands.
Lawrence said he submitted his complaint to the EU Commission, which the government blamed for derailing the legacy deal with West Ham, because he was concerned that the bidding process was flawed and carried risks for the taxpayer.
“In respect of the stadium, the process hasn’t been handled well and has been characterised by indecision and lack of vision,” he said.
Lawrence said that the bidding process “lacked transparency” and warned that the current proposals would require large amounts of state subsidy carrying “a high degree of risk”.
He added that he believed the stadium’s legacy could be saved, and called for local football club Leyton Orient to be considered as co-tenants, with athletics moved out of the stadium to a purpose-built centre nearby.
“A multi-media stadium with a football club as an anchor tenant would have been world class with the potential for an immense revenue stream,” he said.
“To achieve that kind of legacy now is possible but it requires some fundamental rethinking.”