Business leaders back Stratford move

Some of the leading lights from the east London business world have backed West Ham United's Bid to take over the Olympic Stadium post 2012.

The process for selecting who will be anchor concessionaires after the Paralympic Games is ongoing, but several of east London's most important businesses have joined some of the area's most famous faces in coming forward to lend their support to West Ham's Bid.

The Excel Centre and the East London Business Alliance are among those that have expressed a desire to see West Ham's Bid succeed to ensure that the Olympic Stadium maintains its standing as an international landmark and focal point for business.

West Ham United would estimate they would bring 1.2 million additional people to the Olympic Park every year, thus ensuring the park and local businesses would continue to see the increase in footfall they witnessed during the Olympic and Paralympic Games.

The Hammers have also pledged to create 720 new jobs if they are selected as anchor concessionaires, with a further expansion of the award-winning Community Sports Trust mentor programme promised.

Liam Kane, Chief executive of the East London Business Alliance (ELBA) said: "West Ham have been at the heart of east London for longer than I care to remember. A move to the Olympic Stadium would not only allow all the fans who can't get tickets now to see the games but, more importantly, the jobs generated by the move, both during construction and in operation, would be very welcome to the unemployed residents of the area.

"The trained staff and volunteers from the Olympics will provide a ready-made workforce and it seems to me to be an ideal partnership.

"The Olympic and Paralympic Games have been a brilliant advert for what the East End of London can achieve. They have put the area back on the world map but we must not now waste the good work that has been started. It is essential that we continue the boost our local economy has seen, with a lively and vibrant Olympic Park at the forefront of it.

"West Ham United's Bid to become anchor concessionaires would guarantee a busy stadium on a bi-weekly basis, thus ensuring businesses in the local area continue to flourish.

"Having Premier League football in the Stratford would also ensure it keeps its global reputation, which in turn brings greater exposure and value to the commercial appeal of the park. West Ham's Bid also promises to create hundreds of new jobs to further boost our local economy. Put simply, I cannot see any viable alternative."

Kevin Murphy, CEO of the ExCeL Centre added: "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. 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."

Mark Kass, Head of Enterprise & Economic Development, Barking Enterprise Centre IT said: "West Ham United's absolute commitment to supporting its local community goes beyond football. The Club, its people and its strategic and commercial partners are totally committed to supporting the educational and socio-economic needs of the diverse population across the six Olympic Host Boroughs …..and beyond.

"With the Club located in this new piece of London it will attract new and engage existing communities, creating new jobs and opportunities for local businesses. The power of the West Ham brand will create a sports and entertainment legacy destination that will strengthen a financial model that secures long-term revenues ensuring financial viability and ultimately security of tenure for the Landlords of this unique and exciting global venue."

The West Ham Bid has already received support from a host of public figures, who signed an open letter earlier last month. Ray Winstone, James Corden and former Olympic champions Sally Gunnell and Mark Hunter were among those who backed the club's proposals.

Moore Than a Football Club