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Tuesday, 14 December, 1999, 21:05 GMT
Wembley faces rival bid

Sir Norman Foster Sir Norman Foster unveils his Wembley design


A late bid to oust Wembley as the site of the new national stadium is being formed by a consortium of top contractors.

The organisation London International Stadium wants to build a 150,000 seater facility in Hillingdon, a borough off the A40 route into west London.



Wembley is so difficult to get to...so apart from historical reasons you would not use Wembley
Gary Francis, London International Stadium
The proposal coincides with confirmation from Wembley National Stadium Ltd and UK Athletics that a bid to host the 2005 World Athletics Championships at Wembley can go ahead.

Sir Norman Foster's design for the new Wembley stadium was originally rejected by the government because consultants Ellerbe Becket said it failed to make adequate provision for the staging of athletics events.

Culture Secretary Chris Smith had given the Wembley architects until Wednesday to come up with redesigns.

The Hillingdon stadium is understood to include retractable seats that make it suitable for both athletics and football, as well as a sliding roof - features missing from the new Wembley.

The Hillingdon consortium also believes it can build its national stadium for 300m, which is a massive 175m cheaper than Foster's building.

Consultant Gary Francis said: "We are confident we can be ready to open in 2004 allowing a year for the planning and consultative stage.

"The area is served by three tube lines and a mainline station that goes to Marylebone, but could be extended into Paddington as the track runs parallel.

"We are only 15 minutes from Heathrow. To reach the stadium you wouldn't have to go through any residential areas and there are plans for a six lane link road to the stadium off the A40."

He argued that Wembley was "so difficult to get to" and "historical reasons" were not good enough to keep the stadium there.

"On our site you could have a great stadium any size you want and with Brunel University nearby you have a campus that would be suitable for an Olympic village," said Francis.

The 300m would be raised from private finance, lottery funds and Football Association grants.

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See also:
08 Dec 99 |  UK
'Our Wembley will work', say developers
02 Dec 99 |  Europe
Deadline for Wembley redesign
01 Dec 99 |  Sport
Welcome for Wembley rethink
01 Dec 99 |  AudioVideo
New Wembley "not fit for Olympics"
Links to other Sport stories are at the foot of the page.