|Impression of Wembley Stadium surrounded by flats|
The Standard LINK said:
FA chairman Greg Dyke has warned that a planned £2.5 billion development around Wembley Stadium will have “terrible consequences” for the safety of fans on match days.
The former Manchester United director said the attack on the team’s bus by West Ham fans was “an important reminder that ensuring public order and safety in and around football stadia requires careful planning, good preparation and partnership working between all concerned
Mr Dyke, who steps down as FA chairman this summer, said Quintain’s proposals “as currently planned ... will have some terrible consequences for the public safety and traffic management around the stadium on event days.
“We will continue to work with Brent, the Greater London Authority and the developer to ensure the problems are addressed, but fan management should not be an afterthought.
We will not drop our responsibility for ensuring that Wembley’s ability to inspire generations with its magical moments is not damaged by a lack of care for our visiting fans and local residents. We hope others will make the same commitment.”
Previously the Standard had reported on the FA's presentation to the Planning Committee:
Julie Harrington, operations director at the FA, told the council’s planning committee the location of the car parks off South Way “created genuine public order and safety concerns which would serve as a retrograde step for the stadium.”
She said: “Tuesday night’s disturbing scenes at West Ham’s Boleyn Ground only go to show that we absolutely cannot be complacent when it comes to fan management around the stadium.”
She said developer Quintain was ”working from a position to maximise profits” rather than to “protect fan safety”.
She said: “The holding of fans, the kettling of fans, that’s a return to the 1970s in my view.
“Even a short amount of time holding people, irate fans from teams that have lost, or rival fans mixing together is too much.”The FA are in the difficult position of seeking to protect both fans and the Stadium's status and maintaining a positive long-term working relationship with Quintain and Brent Council.
Transport consultants working for the FA presented analysis showing fans could have to wait for up to three hours to board coaches under the new layout.
Ms Harrington warned that the FA “would not be able to attract major events to Wembley if fan’s can’t leave the car park.”
She said: “If fans can’t get to their coaches and can’t get to their vehicles, if up to 9,000 fans are pooled behind the stadium with nowhere to go, if 15,000 fans are pushed down back streets to their coaches, it’s a recipe for disaster, a public order disaster, and the FA will not stand by and see fans treated in this way.
“We cannot be complacent about the huge steps forward made in stadium safety in the past two decades. No-one should believe that its acceptable to herd fans like cattle. We must learn from past mistakes.”
Quintain while retaining its name has been taken over by Lone Star, a Texas based company, and has adopted a more aggressive approach to Wembley regeneration as a result, building higher and more closely packed blocks to maximise profits. Eventually they will complete the development and move on, leaving the FA, football fans, Brent Council and local people to cope with the consequences.
The FA could ask Sadiq Khan, the new London mayor, to call in the plans but there may be opportunities to have further talks about their concerns with the new Brent Cabinet.