Olympic Stadium transformation given go-ahead
By Football News
West Ham have been given the green light to transform the London Olympic Stadium into an arena fit for football.
The Legacy Corporation unanimously backed plans for the original structure to be transformed into a 60,000-seater venue, with this capacity set to be increased to 80,000 for concerts.
It remains subject to a referral from the Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, but, if all goes to plan, the work will begin later this year on the alterations. This work will see retractable seating put in the lower tier as well as a new extended roof design to cover this seating and the re-use of the stadium's lighting towers.
Mayor of Newham, Sir Robin Wales, said: "This is fantastic news and we will work hard to make sure our residents have access to the jobs created by the construction project as well the Stadium itself once it opens.
"Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park is beginning to take shape and the progress that’s been made so far is impressive."
As well as West Ham's home fixtures, the stadium will also host Rugby World Cup matches in 2015 as well as the 2017 World Athletics Championships. Dennis Hone, Legacy Corporation chief executive, said the decision to press ahead with the transformation was a big step.
"This is an important milestone that paves the way for the Stadium’s intended legacy use as an all-year-round venue," he said.
"As we prepare for the phased re-opening of Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park this summer, with the long-term future of all eight permanent venues on the park now secure, we remain firmly on track to deliver a meaningful physical and social legacy for Londoners."
The decision to award the stadium to West Ham was a controversial one, with nearby club Leyton Orient one of the main opponents.
The League One outfit claimed it would impact negatively on their ability to survive financially.