Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Covered Stands 'Scrapped to Cut Costs of Olympics'

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Covered Stands 'Scrapped to Cut Costs of Olympics'

Article excerpt


LONDON's Olympic stadium may be built without a roof over the majority of seats to keep costs down, it was claimed today.

A design is being proposed for the 80,000-seat landmark venue in Stratford that features only one covered stand, leaving spectators at the mercy of the British summer weather.

Such a design is contrary to the promotional images used in the run-up to London's bid for the 2012 Games, which featured a striking roof of interlocking leaves covering the entire arena.

The row over design comes as Olympics Minister Tessa Jowell has been given a new deadline by the International Committee to end the furore over the soaring cost of the 2012 Games.

She has only 20 days to provide the IOC with a clear breakdown of the bill for the Games when senior committee officials visit London on 28 February.

The decision by the IOC's Olympic Games executive director-Gilbert Felli, to turn up the heat shows how frustrated the IOC has become over the costs.

Ms Jowell's problem, however, is that she may run out of time to conclude negotiations with the Treasury. It is understood she can already put a figure on the cost of the Olympic Park but she has not concluded negotiations with the Treasury and other government departments on how costs are going to be paid.

Mayor Ken Livingstone has said he will not raise council taxes to pay for the Games and Lottery chiefs fear further raids on their cash will cause huge damage to funding for good causes. Chancellor Gordon Brown is coming under increasing pressure to use more Exchequer cash to pay for the event.

A report today in specialist construction magazine Building says the stadium plans are the latest to be scaled down in response to ongoing concerns about soaring budgets.

Previously the aquatics centre had to be sent back to the drawing board, and have its "rolling wave" shaped roof redesigned, when costs threatened to double beyond the [pounds sterling]75million budget. …

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