Saturday, 25 March 2017

Hear what Brent residents and councillors said at the Planning Commitee on Wembley Stadium application

If you missed the Brent Planning Committee that approved Wembley Stadium/Tottenham's request for more high capacity events at Wembley Stadium you can get a flavour from the sound file below.

Speakers in order were:

RESIDENTS
Dr Ruth Kosmin, Barn Hill Residents' Asssociation and an economist
Dr Michael Calderbank, Wembley Park Residents' Association
Denise Cheong, Wembley Champions
Niral Babla, Wembley High Road Business Association
Fatema Karim-Khaku, Barn Hill Residents Association  and transport consultant

COUNCILLORS
Cllr Shafiq Choudhary (Barn Hill ward)
Cllr Sam Stopp (Wembley Central ward)

WRITTEN SUBMISSIONS BY COUNCILLORS
Cllr Ketan Sheth
Cllr Muhammed Butt


What you can do for Clean Air for Brent


From Transition Willesden

Clean Air for Brent is a coalition of local residents' groups, Transition Towns, Friends of the Earth and the Council to improve air quality in the borough.  We met earlier this week, and are keen to involve people in having their say on air quality in Brent and also on diesel vehicles, especially in view of the results from our pollution monitoring in October.

Last October we carried out air pollution monitoring in Willesden, Dollis Hill and Cricklewood, and found 7 out of 10 sites were above the EU legal limit for nitrogen dioxide (NO2), with Cricklewood Broadway being well over twice the limit (see maps here and here).  For more about the project see our online group.

Brent Council
 is consulting residents and businesses on its Air Quality Action Plan for the next 5 years.  You have until Thursday 30th March to add your comments. Please take a little time to read the plan and respond to the survey online here.  You can also email feedback to ens.monitoring@brent.gov.uk

If you have less time, please sign one or more of these petitions against diesel.  It is largely the increase in diesel vehicles that is having such an impact on the air we breathe:

-Ditch diesel in the UK by Friends of the Earth
-One directed at car companies from Greenpeace.
-You can also write to MEPs asking them to clean up vehicle testing.  They will be voting on this issue on 5th April.

Thursday, 23 March 2017

Wembley Stadium 'Goliath' wins against local residents


Rob Davies did not receive notification that his request had been granted. The Chair refused a substitute from the same residents' association

Despite some excellent well-researched speeches by supporters of local umbrella group 'Wembley Champions', Barn Hill Residents' Association and Wembley High Road Traders' Association,  Brent Planning Committee tonight approved Wembley Stadium/Spurs planning application for 22 additional full capacity (91,000)  events per year with only one councillor voting against.

Earlier it had looked more evenly balanced when councillors asked some searching questions about the application and mitigation measures with Wembley Stadium often floundering in response. Councillors appeared to be very  doubtful of the benefits for local people and concerned about a capacity increase of some 60,000 spectators and the subsequent impact on traffic, train and bus over-crowding, littering and anti-social behaviour.

However after another confusion over whether the Committee could defer the decision, with the wrong legal advice being given at first to say they couldn't, there was a short break.  After the break they were informed that they could defer after all (this after a member of the public showed them a copy  of the law), but no councillor moved a motion to do so and a straight vote was taken  for or against the officer's  recommendation of approval.

Cllrs J Mitchell-Murray, Moher, Maurice, Long, Kabir and Agha all voted for the increase in the number of events and increased capacity despite all their early scepticism. Outgoing Kilburn councillor Cllr Pitruzzella, who had asked some challenging questions of the stadium team, was the only one to vote against. She will be a great loss to honest Brent politics.

Unusually written statements were read out from Cllr Muhammed Butt (he'd decided not to attend the meeting) and Cllr Ketan Sheth. Butt claimed that on balance the application would be good for local people.

Usually when non-committee councillors make representations, as was the case with Cllr Stopp and Cllr Choudhary, they are asked to declare any interest and reveal any approaches that have been made to them - this was not the case with the written statements.

Brent Palestine Day - Bridge Park - Saturday


Wembley Stadium's last minute lobby of Brent councillors with glossy PR brochure on planning application

If the David and Goliath nature of the battle between local residents and Wembley stadium over the increase in the number of events and increase in capacity proposed during Tottenham Hotspur's stay at the stadium needed any further it is exemplified by a brochure that Wembley stadium has sent to all Brent councillors and Alice Lester, David Glover and Chris Heather in the Brent Planning Department.

The Stadium has full-time advisers and public relations officers spearheading their campaign while residents rely on their own resources and campaign in the free time available after they have done their jobs.

In an email to councillors and officers, Chris Bryant, Wembley Stadium head of operations says:
I contacted you on 26 January 2017 regarding our proposals and planning application for Wembley Stadium to host Tottenham Hotspur Football Club during the 2017/18 season, to enable the development of their new ground in Tottenham to be completed.

Since that time Wembley Stadium and Tottenham Hotspur (THFC) have been through an extensive period of consultation and discussion with the local community, key stakeholders and your officers. The Council itself has sent out around 41,000 consultation letters.

During our discussions we have obtained a much better understanding of the impact on local residents and businesses that additional events at the Stadium will have. Some will be negative, others positive. We recognise there are aspects of the event day management that can be improved, including closer partnership working with the Council and THFC. We have also learnt from the European games THFC has recently played at Wembley.

Consequently, as well as reducing the total number of additional games sought during the temporary period (August 2017 to July 2018) from 31 to 22 in response to public, stakeholder and officer feedback, we have also discussed and agreed with officers an extensive package of mitigation measures for all the additional full capacity THFC events. Many of the initiatives included are in addition to our existing commitments, which are ongoing. These will be secured by a legal agreement.

In addition, THFC has outlined an extensive package of community measures, which will be delivered through the Tottenham Hotspur Foundation during its tenancy. The Foundation has already made a significant positive impact in Haringey, Enfield, Barnet and Waltham Forest, and would extend its programme to Brent residents for the coming year if THFC is hosted at Wembley.  Details of the agreed mitigation measures and the work of the Foundation are provided in the enclosed brochure for your information.

Wembley Stadium has valued the longstanding support of Brent Council since before even the initial bid for the new Stadium and associated local regeneration was made in the 1990s and we welcome the officer’s recommendation to grant planning permission.

We look forward to working with the Council and THFC over the coming year and beyond and will be asking the Planning Committee to support a temporary variation of the event cap. We ask you to please consider the enclosed information. If you have any questions please do not hesitate to contact me.
Here is the brochure sent with the email:


Wednesday, 22 March 2017

Still time to book for Thursday's 'Rich man - poor man' Sufra fundraising dinner



 Sufra NW London, the largest provider of emergency food aid in the London Borough of Brent, is organising a fundraising dinner with a twist – which could see local business leaders and dignitaries including the Leader of the Council and the Mayor of Brent, served a tin of baked beans for dinner!

At the Rich Man Poor Man – Gala Fundraising Dinner on Thursday 23 March at Brent Civic Centre, guests will be randomly designated as ‘Rich’ or ‘Poor’. ‘Rich’ guests will receive a luxurious 3-course meal prepared by award-winning caterer Greenleaf, whilst ‘Poor’ guests will be served a few tins from the food bank.

“The event is an opportunity to highlight the everyday reality of those who don’t have enough to eat. Poverty is indiscriminate and in an uncertain economic climate, even working families find themselves unable to afford the everyday cost of living,” said Mohammed Mamdani, Director of Sufra NW London.

The event will be co-hosted by Asad Ahmad (BBC London) and Fatima Manji (ITN News), with comedy by Imran Yusuf, in the presence of local celebrities living in and around Brent.

“In the last year, Sufra NW London has provided emergency food aid to nearly 4,000 people. Despite living in a welfare state, there are so many things that can go wrong. In these times of crisis, we are here to help,” added Mamdani.

The event is sponsored by MyLotto24, Quintain, Cygnet Properties, Beta Charitable Trust, Sisk Builders, Daniels Estate Agents, Segro, Oakray and Print Express, with donations from other local businesses. This funding means that all proceeds from ticket sales will go directly to the food bank, ensuring that the service can keep running for the coming year.

Tickets cost £40 for an individual and £350 for a table of 10 and can be purchased online at www.buytickets.at/SufraNWLondon.

BOOK TICKETS

UPDATED A new face selected for Kilburn ward and the possible return of an old one in Willesden Green - Margaret McLennan rejected

Faduma Hassan
The first results are coming in for the selection of Labour candidates for the 2018 Brent Council Elections.  In Kilburn ward Rita Conneely and newcomers Abdirazak Abdi  and Corbyn supporter Faduma Hassan have been selected.

This leaves John Duffy, who has been extremely active in holding the Brent Cabinet to account, unselected in his current ward. I understand there are still some wards where short-listing is still open.

Elsewhere,  I understand that the architect of the 'Library Transformation Project, which saw 6  of Brent's 12 libraries closed, James Powney, has been short-listed for Willesden Green.  Powney has continued to hail the 'success' of that project on his blog but  has also used it to critique some Brent Council decisions as well as the leadership of Councillor Butt. LINK

Following rejection by Stonebridge ward last night local party members are asking if Deputy Leader Margaret McLennan will go back to seek selection in Northwick Park.  I understand Abdi Aden (currently Sudbury)and newcomer Promise Knight have been selected for Stonebridge. Ernest Ezeajughi has been reselected. Promise describes herself as a mentor and educator and previously worked as as campaign assistant to Dawn Butler and was one of David Miliband's communication team.

A reader has also been in touch to say that he understands all three sitting Queensbury councillors have been short-listed..


Planning Officers maintain their support for Stadium Planning Application in Supplementary Report

A supplementary report has been published on the eve of Thursday's Planning Committee. LINK It contains more information on mitigation. The Officers maintain their support for the planning application.


Following completion of the committee report, a further 24 letters of representation have been received. Where additional issues have been raised they are noted below, otherwise they are considered to have been dealt with in the main report.

One letter of support

The issues raised are considered to have been addressed within the main report.

23 letters of objection

Objection from one representation citing insufficient notice of the committee, and a request for an additional 3 weeks instead. Also, confusion over when the committee is due to take place. Concern that the additional number of events would result in the roads deteriorating.
The notice period given is considered reasonable and in accordance with the Council’s procedures. There was an error on the earlier communication which stated that the Committee would begin at 7pm and this was corrected last week. The proposal would result in additional journeys, but the mitigation in place is intended to reduce the number of cars as far as possible.
Request for clarification on the need for a section 106 legal agreement, and whether parking permits within the event day management zone would remain free.

A section 106 legal agreement is absolutely necessary to the acceptability of the proposal.

The current charge for a parking permit is £10. The proposal would not change this.

Concern about the noise from helicopters, which would be increased with a greater number of events.

Helicopters can be associated with large events as part of the police operation. The height at which they fly or hover will inevitably vary, and hence so will the noise they generate. However, this is considered to be infrequent and for short periods of time. It is not considered that this alone would increase the level of noise to the point that it is considered unacceptable.
Other issues raised are considered to have been addressed within the main report.

Mitigation

The committee report identified a number of mitigation measures which would be secured within the section 106 legal agreement. Further detail is provided on a number of the additional measures which are proposed over and above those secured through the original agreement dated 23 August 2002. A number of them were detailed within the main report and so are not detailed further. These additional measures to cover individual events are proposed to apply only to the 22 additional major events. They are not proposed to apply to 37 high capacity (51,000-90,000 capacity ) events that can take place under the existing condition.
Event by event mitigation measures, for the additional 22 events proposed
Regulation of Public Safety – The Council’s reasonable costs would be met as part of the application on an event-by-event basis, which would be on a similar basis to what is currently done for street cleaning and the regulation of traffic management. This involves a requirement to attend pre-match meetings and monitoring safety documentation for each event. Inspections would take place (in addition to those which take place during existing major events) to monitor the measures and seek to refine the process.
Alcohol licensing inspections – This would also be related to the Council’s reasonable costs, similar to the regulation of public safety. This involves inspecting licensed premises prior to an event and follow up visits afterwards if there have been complaints.
Illegal street trader – This was highlighted in the list within the main committee report. This is proposed to be removed from the Section 106 legal agreement, but only because there has already been a mechanism established for the previous 4 Tottenham Hotspur events that have taken place at Wembley, which is proposed to continue.
Anti ticket tout initiative – This would also be related to the Council’s reasonable costs, similar to the regulation of public safety. Ticket touts are a feature of many sporting events, and can lead to people being denied the opportunity to view sporting events at a reasonable cost. Touts can obstruct public areas and introduce an element of intimidation. One-off contribution mitigation measures:
Pirate parking initiative – More than £47,000 has been secured to ensure that the existing scheme can continue. The intention is to ensure that parking on land which does not have planning permission for that purpose is addressed, so reducing the number of persons using cars and increasing the number of persons using public transport.
Additional CCTV camera – This was detailed in the main report. The cost for this would be £22,779. In addition, further measures are proposed to those detailed within the main committee report.
Litter bins – In response to a number of objections there would be a contribution of £20,000 for litter bins in and around the stadium and Wembley Town Centre.
Radio system and protective clothing – This would ensure that the current equipment (which is leading to some problems with communication) is replaced by more advanced equipment. This would improve the event day operations, by improving communication when setting up road closures and managing traffic. Ultimately, this would assist in the safe and efficient arrival and departure from events at the stadium. This would be £50,000.
Event day signage – Following an audit of the existing signage a contribution of £60,000 is proposed to improvements, to be secured before the 2017/18 season. This would include a more detailed audit to identify broken signage and identify where more signage is required. There would be maintenance of existing Variable-Message Signs (VMS) and event day flap signs. Additional signage would be provided in areas with insufficient signage. Reference has been had to the tests of whether a section 106 obligation is considered justifiable. As required by Regulation 122 of the Community Infrastructure Regulations 2010 (as amended) a planning obligation may only constitute a reason for granting planning permission if it is: (a) necessary to make the development acceptable in planning terms; (b) directly related to the development; and
(c) fairly and reasonably related in scale and kind to the development. The obligations above, and those which are listed and detailed in the main report, are considered to pass these tests. They are proposed to maintain the existing levels of mitigation for the existing major events (as secured in the original section 106 legal agreement), and to go further for the additional major events proposed by this application.

Update on Tottenham Hotspur

Since the committee report was finalised there have been additional games played. As of 22 March 2017 there are 10 games remaining for Tottenham Hotspur in the Premier League. They remain well placed to be in European competition next year (specifically the group stage of the Champions League). They remain in the FA Cup, which has reached the semi-final stage. This is not considered to change the assumptions on the numbers of games they are likely to play next season.

Conclusion

The additional comments received raise some additional points, which are not considered to change the recommendation. Many of the issues have been raised previously, and are considered to have been addressed in the main report.
This supplementary report provides additional detail on some of the mitigation measures proposed, and some additional measures which go beyond what is contained within the main committee report. They are welcomed and would assist to mitigate the impacts of the greater number of major events which this application proposes.
Recommendation: Remains approval as set out within the committee report