THE Lee Valley Regional Park Authority insisted this week that the Picketts Lock stadium in north London was still on target, despite scepticism about the project.
Critics have claimed that the stadium would not be completed in time to host the 2005 World Athletics Championships.

Peter Warren, head of marketing for the Lee Valley authority, which is directing the project, said: "There is an absolute deadline on the project – it has to be ready by early 2005. We are on time for this."

The stadium has attracted £60m of lottery funding, but Warren confirmed that the cost of the entire complex, including an indoor health centre with a 200 m running track, would be £95m. He said additional funding would be obtained from a "combination of fronts".

A further £7m of funding has been set aside by UK Athletics for the indoor centre and the regional park authority is contributing £5m. For the remainder, Warren added: "We are now pursuing other avenues such as European funding and grants from Enfield borough council."

A design team is to be appointed for the scheme at the end of the month, with construction due to start in 2002.

Warren also said time had been allowed in case the project was called in for a planning appeal.

Concern was raised about the new stadium by former sports minister Tony Banks. Last month he described the idea of building an Olympic stadium at Picketts Lock as "a joke".