West Ham Olympic stadium bid gets East London business votes

LEADING business organisations from east London have thrown their weight behind West Ham’s bid for the Olympic Stadium, as a decision nears on one of the capital’s key legacy issues.

The ExCeL Centre and the East London Business Alliance (ELBA) have voiced their support for the Premier League football club to be the main users of the arena when it reopens in 2014.

League One outfit Leyton Orient have also bid to use the stadium, which cost £486m and is to be downscaled from 80,000 seats to 60,000, as well as a football business college and a company that hopes to stage a Formula One grand prix.

“West Ham United have played a pivotal role in the local community for a great many years, making a major contribution to the social regeneration of east London,” said ExCeL Centre chief executive Kevin Murphy. “No one is better placed to take hold of the legacy baton after the Games and be at the heart of a lively and busy Olympic Stadium.”

ELBA chief executive Liam Kane said West Ham’s proposed move from nearby Upton Park would alleviate local unemployment by creating jobs in construction and operation. “West Ham’s bid would guarantee a busy stadium on a bi-weekly basis, thus ensuring businesses in the local area continue to flourish,” he added. “Put simply, I cannot see any viable alternative.”

The London Legacy Development Corporation is expected to announce the successful bids next month. West Ham believe they can attract 1.2m visitors to the park annually and have promised, if selected, to create 720 jobs.