London church offers to ease Olympic funding gap

Adam Bannister

An east London church that is being forced to relocate because of the 2012 Olympics has offered to build a stadium for the games.

The Kingsway International Christian Centre (KICC) in Hackney Wick says it is willing to build an arena to help bridge a £1bn funding gap if the church can use it when the 2012 games are over. The London Development Agency (LDA) denies there is any funding gap.

KICC - an independent church with a congregation of 12,000 - is one of about 300 east London organisations facing the prospect of compulsory purchase orders.

The LDA has shown the church four alternative sites, which the KICC says are all unsuitable. The church says it has researched another 21 sites itself, as well as proposing an arena on the existing one.

"Our offer is worth £36.2m," said Matthew Ashimolowo, senior pator at KICC. "This would provide a win-win solution for both KICC and the London Olympic Games."

A spokeswoman for the LDA said negotiations were continuing.

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