West Ham move questioned after Balfour contract

 
David Hellier
Follow David
CONSTRUCTION group Balfour Beatty has won a £154m contract to convert London’s Olympic stadium into a facility that will be the permanent home for West Ham football club, prompting renewed questioning of the financial wisdom of the deal.

The firm said it would transform the Stratford centerpiece of the 2012 Games into a venue that will be used to host five matches during the Rugby World Cup in 2015. It will also be the new national competition stadium for athletics.

But a Conservative member of the Greater London Assembly has queried why the east London Premiership club is being allowed to rent the stadium without paying more of the cost of its redevelopment.

West Ham is making an initial payment of £15m and then an annual rental of £2m a year thereafter, with the potential for revenue sharing with the London Legacy Development and Newham Council.

“Why is West Ham only paying one tenth of converting the stadium?” Andrew Boff, GLA Conservatives Olympics spokesman said yesterday. Boff said the taxpayer was being taken for a ride.

West Ham will leave its Upton Park home to relocate to the stadium before the 2016-17 season.

Its representatives have argued that it is paying more than its fair share of the capital cost of the rebuild given that it will be sharing the stadium with others and only using it 25 days a year.