Tottenham Hotspur's win against CSKA Moscow last Wednesday may have done something to allay fans' doubts about the move to Wembley but Cllr John Duffy has voiced doubts about the Council's capacity to achieve benefits to Brent residents.
In an email to all Brent councillors Cllr Duffy said:
To All Brent Councillors,The earlier email, sent only to the Labour Group of councillors, said:
I am very concerned that the Wembley Stadium and Spurs planning application is being guided and manipulated by both officers and Cabinet members.It would seem they seek a solution, that will not fully benefit Brent residents .
All Councillors are independent on this issue and Councillors should not be influenced by either Cabinet members or officers on a pre-agreed application and should seek to ensure and maximise the benefits for Brent.
Firstly you have to consider does Brent want Wembley stadium to be a home ground for a Premier League Club and do not we want the extra congestion, nuisance and general disruption. Unless we get real investment from the FA, Premier League and Spurs, I believe the answer is NO.
It is clear that the Cabinet are unaware of the potential of ensuring the investment to alleviate the problems caused by Wembley hosting Spurs and have not negotiated a reasonable deal for the residents…..I am tired of Brent residents being short changed, therefore I believe Councillors should oppose the application as it stands.
Please find an edited email I previously sent to the Labour Group, which outlined my concerns about the planning application and the lack of benefits for Brent.
As it is 99% definite,Tottenham Hotspur will be moving to Wembley and its also likely that Chelsea (they may go to Twickenham) will moving in the following year.Its time we sorted out a strategy to protect and improve our Environment, Sports Education , parking ,community and employment strategy, together with compensation for Brent residents.
As Chair of planning when we knocked down the old Wembley stadium and a member of the Task force for Wembley Stadium regeneration I have seen negotiations close up with the FA and they will be tough and we need a clear strategy.
From memory Wembley were allowed 22 sporting advents and they were no envisaged to be the home venue for any football club.Therefore at this point I would advise not to accept a season long deal but to treat every game as an FA cup Final and expect resources to reflect this. There Are many safeguards we need for residents.I will outline the basics without the detail.
(1) Environmental improvement.
I would expect extra resources ( too many options to go into) plus investment into plant. I have not looked at other Boroughs but I am aware of some who get a massively enhanced service for match day.
Increased protection/enforcement of the neighbouring area.
(3) Sports Education.
Ensure Investment in equipment and sports teaching in our schools including visits from football stars. Its important both the FA and Premier League show their commitment to grass roots football.
(4) Community Support .
Financial support for community activities,including , local R/As ,St Patricks day,Eid and Navratri and maybe support for local group who participate in the Notting Hill Carnival.
(5) Employment strategy.
Ensure that Brent residents get their fair share of any new jobs/ training arising from the extra games. Also local firms should get a fair share of the increased supply chain for contracts
(6) Compensation for local Business and residents.
Whereas the some business will benefit many other will lose (who would travel to Wembley to shop on a match day) so its important we look at high street improvements. The new games coming to Wembley will not only be on a Saturday they will included Sundays and weekdays at various kick off times.
There are many ways to negotiate and you should not look at only the time the football club is there, you should seek a 2/3 year deal on things like sports education and community support.I think you should have a local councillor on the negotiations ( seems unlikely as the leadership reject a task force for Kilburn Regeneration and now all decisions are made by the Lead member ) so local input will be represented.In my opinion we should not over engage in the - presentations- Vol-au-Vents and vanity projects system which some members of the Cabinet prefer. We should also not going in asking for jobs at LLW ( getting employers to pay LLW is a failure ) we should be looking better jobs in supervision and management training. Finally do not over rely on Officers who will seek a deal that suits them as administrators.
It would seem that some of the cabinet wish to treat the FA, the Premier League and Tottenham Hotspur as " partners" whereas I see them them as people who wish to make a lot of money while using the facilities of Brent which I have no problem with. However I believe this should be reflected in how we support our residents.So hopefully the cabinet have an agreed strategy about what we need from the richest sport in the world and the most famous football venue in the world.
And Brent should not be short changed for all the inconvenience