OLYMPIC STADIUM DISPUTE OVER?
24 Aug, 2011
Is the Olympic Stadium Dispute finally at an end?
Tottenham Hotspur (Spurs) are close to abandoning their judicial review action in respect of the decision of the Olympic Park Legacy Company to award the Olympic Stadium site to West Ham United. Spurs now appear to be refocusing their attention on remaining in the Tottenham area and the development of a potential site near Northumberland Park.
Andrew Nixon, Associate at Thomas Eggar LLP, commented: “Realistically, this was always going to be the outcome. Spurs had raised issue with the decision making process, and had alleged that there was procedural impropriety: Spurs argument was that the bid process may have been tainted because an Olympic Park Legacy Company (OPLC) employee had worked for West Ham. However, the prospects of such a claim being successful was small, and in any event even if was successful, the Court would have ordered that the decision be made again, this time with greater transparency, as opposed to overturning it.
“Inevitably, given the Games’ legacy was the major factor behind the decision, it was highly unlikely that the OPLC was ever going to sanction a decision that would lead to the removal of the running track, which was part of the proposals put forward in the joint Spurs/AEG bid. Spurs’ case has been further hampered by the outcome of the OPLC’s own investigation (carried out by Moore Stephens) which found that the West Ham employee did not in any way influence the bidding process.”
Andrew continued: “The reason why Spurs were determined to pursue a claim which, on the face of it, was bound to fail was for strategic reasons, as much as anything else. By continuing with the claim, it would put the club in greater bargaining position and allow them greater scope to leverage the support of the Mayor and the government for their proposed new stadium in Tottenham. Indeed, support for the new stadium will inevitably have formed the centre point of the recent negotiations between the club and the Mayor and provided a landing can be reached, the justification for continuing the action will fall away.”