|Traffic flow: Red-not good, Yellow-slow, Green-OK (16.51 Feb 21st)|
As approved, [planning] condition 3 stated that for two years following completion of the stadium, subject to the completion of specific improvement works to Wembley Park Station and construction of roads known as Estate Access Corridor and Stadium Access Corridor, the number of major sporting events held at the stadium in any one year was restricted to no more than 22 (to exclude European Cup and World Cup events where England/UK is the host nation), and the number of major non-sporting events to 15. After this, additional events over and above this were permitted subject to the number of spectators being limited to the capacity of the lower and middle tiers of the stadium.A glance at the consultation page LINK now shows that opposition is building. Most of the objections centre on the impact on the quality of life of nearby residents of increased number of events and capacity in terms of traffic density and pollution, crowded buses, overground and tube lines - basically a curtailment of residents' freedom to move easily around their own area. A particular concern is congestion between Forty Lane/Wembley Park, Wembley Hill Road and Wembley High Road where traffic often grinds to a halt. Other concerns are over littering and the alleged anti-social behaviour of Spurs fans. In answer to the suggestion that 'you have chosen to live near a major international stadium - it goes with the territory' residents respond that they acknowledge the contribution the stadium makes to the vitality of the area, a reasonable amount of disruption is to be expected but that these proposals go too far and breach undertakings previously given.
The proposal would allow for up to an additional 31 major sporting Tottenham Hotspur Football Club (THFC) events between 1 August 2017 and 31 July 2018. A major event (which may or may not include THFC) would be considered to be an event in the stadium bowl with a capacity in excess of 10,000 people
I sense that there are wider concerns underpinning some of the objections. Residents feel out of control of the development of their locality and, moreover, that when they do express a view they are ignored. Residents are pitted against an alliance of the Football Association, anxious to maximise income to pay off the costs of the new Wembley Stadium, Spurs keen to finance their new stadium, US owned Quintain wanting to maximise profit from what increasingly looks like speculative and unfettered development and Brent Council wanting to maximise income to make up for the local government cuts imposed by central government.
Brent Council fails to champion the needs and interests of local residents and instead is an ally of the football and developer 'big boys'. This was not helped recently when Muhammed Butt, leader of Brent Council, and Sadiq Khan, Mayor of London, took part in Quintain's public relations blitz over the Tivi private rent build at Wembley Park - ignoring the fact that the apartments are in no way affordable to local people.
How can the Council make balanced decisions on behalf of residents if they are firmly in the arms of Spurs, the FA and Quintain? How can Sadiq Khan make balanced decisions using his call-in powers over major developments?
I publish below just one of the contributions to the consultation site. Consultation closes on March 2nd 2017.
Then of course there is the expectaion that Chelsea will follow Tottenham at Wembley - the precedent will have been set.1. There is already substantial disruption to the area surrounding Wembley Stadium caused by the large numbers of people that descend on the area, especially during football matches. It stands to reason that almost doubling the number of events would result in a substantial INCREASE in disruption to the immediate and surrounding areas.
2. When football events are held at Wembley Stadium, fans do not respect the area, local shopkeepers or residents, leaving the area considerably dirty with excessive littering that isn't cleared up for several days following any event.
3. Traffic disruption caused by events is already difficult to bear, both in the immediate Stadium area and in adjacent areas such as Kingsbury, Blackbird Hill, A406, etc. The area and the existing road transport infrastructure just cannot cope with more events. Brent Council has failed to improve this - there's no money left.
4. Public transport is not usable on match days. Trains are packed (i.e. passengers cannot get on trains until matches have started) and fans are often drunk or behave badly (personally witnessed a drunk fan urinating on a Jubilee line platform). Regular users of public transport are shut out by hoards of fans who don't really show any consideration for local residents using public transport regularly. Over 50% of visitors to Wembley Stadium events (higher for football events) use LUL and Mainline Rail services - the existing infrastructure can barely cope on non-event days, let alone on event days.
5. The report states that THFC fans are "generally well behaved with no history of regular fan related violence at home or away over the past 10 years in domestic and European competition." This is simply INCORRECT. See here: http://www.dailystar.co.uk/news/latest-news/429227/football-hooligan-racism-abuse-chelsea-tottenham-wembley-tube-station-capital-one-cup
I do not wish to have more events that create opportunities for further bad behaviour, especially for fans that have no affinity for Wembley or consider this their "home" base.
6. Air quality - all air quality monitoring locations are some distance away from the stadium, presumably to skew the results and provide a favourable outcome for THFC. It would be better if some monitoring sites were closer to the stadium.
7. Noise pollution - I simply disagree with the assessment that because the proposed changes are only for a year or so, the increase in overall noise pollution should be borne by residents. This is just silly. More events = more noise. There's no justification for that. The absence of mitigates beyond "continued monitoring" is equivalent to kicking the can down the road when nobody will pay attention. Locals are not stupid so show greater consideration please.
8. The assessment of the effects of the proposed changes (Socio-economics: moderate beneficial; Transport: minor adverse; Air Quality: Not significant; Noise: negligible) and the judgement of their cumulative effects as "no change" is purely subjective. There is simply no empirical evidence carried out by INDEPENDENT assessors to verify these. If you are paying the so-called experts (for the avoidance of doubt, Nathaniel Lichfield and Partners is acting on behalf of the applicant), of course they'll give you the answer you want! Turkeys don't vote for Christmas.
Furthermore, the additional creation of c.31k jobs is highly speculative and there is no guarantee that these would be filled by local residents or if there's any local benefit whatsoever. Many of the companies used to provide catering and stewarding services bring in staff from other areas of London/the UK so there's NO BENEFIT whatsoever to the local economy.
9. The benefits of the proposed changes do not pass onto local residents. c.67% of the anticipated additional expenditure would be on travel and transport in getting to/from the stadium. Only 1/3 of the anticipated benefits would likely accrue to the local area, of which Wembley Stadium would stand to gain a large share. I'd be interested to learn more about how the £43.5m and £14.5m figures area arrived at and the assumptions behind them which, interestingly, are nowhere to be found in the report(s) made available.
10. Brent Council should conduct its own in-depth report to verify each and every claim made by the applicant. This should be made available to all Brent residents to read and then make their own minds up.
I would also highly recommend holding a public meeting for residents to ask questions of the applicant and the Council before a decision is made.