Essex plan to use Olympic Stadium
Essex have announced proposals to share the 2012 Olympic Stadium with West Ham United Football Club and Newham Council.
The county, who would continue to play at the Ford County Ground in Chelmsford, will explore the ‘feasibility of turning the stadium in Stratford into a vibrant centre of sport, culture and education that could feature football, cricket and athletics as well as community uses,’ a joint statement read.
Essex chief executive David East has already met representatives of the council and the football club to discuss how such a joint bid might work.
If it is viable, it will be submitted to the Olympic Park Legacy Company who are inviting proposals for the stadium’s use after the games.
That could lead to Essex playing some of its Friends Provident t20 games there.
East said: “We are very much looking forward to exploring this with Newham and West Ham.
“Our home ground will remain at the Ford County Ground in Chelmsford, but it would be fantastic to be able to play some of our expanded Twenty20 cricket tournament at the Olympic Stadium.
“We have a very active development programme in the east end of London, and this would give us an ideal opportunity to extend our community work even further with a centre of excellence in the borough.”
He added on Sky Sports News: “It is purely a feasibility study at this stage as far as cricket’s concerned. We’re delighted to be working with Newham to see whether cricket actually can take place in there.
“Obviously there are some reasonably substantive issues concerning the pitch, what pitch you would play on, and that’s going to be part of the investigation that we work on.
“It’s very, very early days. We’ve got to go through all of those operational, logistical exercises to see whether this is actually a goer.
“We may go through this exercise and work out cricket can’t be played in there but we’re going to explore it with them and it’s a very exciting opportunity if it is feasible.”
West Ham United vice-chairman Karren Brady said: “It’s about realising the full potential of the Olympic Park.
“If achievable it is the ideal answer for those who, rightly, demand a sustainable legacy from the 2012 Games and not a white elephant.”
Chief executive of Newham Council Joe Duckworth said: “The last thing anyone wants is for the Olympic Stadium to lay idle.
“We were concerned about this when London successfully won the bid to host the games. The only realistic solution is to make it work for a range of sports and community uses.”