Green light for stadium makeover

The decision paves the way for changes to begin this year. Photo: Press Association

Plans to make major changes at the £429 million Olympic Stadium have been given the green light.

The transformation work, which will see the 80,000-capacity venue turned into a 60,000-seater stadium, were unanimously approved by the London Legacy Development Corporation's planning decisions committee.

Under the plans, the multi-purpose venue in Stratford, east London, will still be able to reach a capacity of 80,000 for concerts.

The decision, subject to referral to the London mayor, paves the way for changes to begin this year.

These include introducing retractable seating in the lower tier, a new extended roof design to cover the new seating plus reuse of the lighting towers.

The stadium , which has Premier League club West Ham United as an anchor tenant, will host Rugby World Cup 2015 matches and the 2017 World Athletics Championships.

LLDC chief executive Dennis Hone described the approval as "an important milestone" in the long-term aim of making the stadium an all-year-round venue.

He said: "As we prepare for the phased re-opening of Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park this summer, with the long-term future of all eight permanent venues on the Park now secure, we remain firmly on track to deliver a meaningful physical and social legacy for Londoners."

Newham mayor Sir Robin Wales, said: "This is fantastic news and we will work hard to make sure our residents have access to the jobs created by the construction project as well the stadium itself once it opens.

"Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park is beginning to take shape and the progress that's been made so far is impressive."

The LLDC made the application on behalf of E20 Stadium LLP - a special purpose vehicle which includes LLDC and Newham Council.