Designers will be invited on to Wembley pitch

Designers for England’s National Stadium at Wembley will be chosen via an invitation-only competitive pitch, it was announced this week. The same method will be used to choose designers for a Stadium of the North and a 29m aquasports centre in Manchester.

It was confirmed this week that Wembley has won the Sports Council’s backing to be the home of the National Stadium. The decision was widely predicted, but the announcement of 80m backing for the two Manchester projects is expected to quieten complaints of a London bias.

Jonathan O’Neil, head of external affairs for the Sports Council, confirmed that Arup and Foster & Partners – the architect behind a redesign of Wembley for the National Stadium bid – will be on the shortlist. Other shortlisted designers are not yet confirmed.

The projected cost of the National Stadium has been set at between 210m and 230m, with up to 120m of Lottery cash to be made available. London won over Manchester for the National Stadium site for many reasons, including support from the Football Association and a good relationship with Wembley, says O’Neil.

And 80m of Lottery funding will provisionally be found for the two Manchester projects. This includes 20m of the projected 29m needed for a swimming and diving complex for the 2002 Commonwealth Games, and up to 60m for the Stadium of the North.

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