Saturday 3 November 2012

A photographic tour of the new Wembley

Many years ago I went to a sparsely attended exhibition at the now demolished Wembley Conference Centre about plans for the development of the area around Wembley Stadium.

When I commented that the artist's impressions made it look like Croydon a Labour councillor retorted, 'So what's wrong with Croydon'.

Recently I showed a colleague from the south of Brent around the new developments, including the Civic Centre and he was quite astonished.  He remarked that he seldom had need to come to Wembley except to visit the Town Hall so had  really little idea of the redevelopment taking place and the scale of investment involved.

There are probably many in Brent and further afield who have not registered the extent of the changes in what the Brent and Kilburn Times this week as 'glittering redevelopments transforming Wembley'.

There have been changes in Quintain's plans since those early days, not least the fact that family housing seems to have been put on the back burner despite thj shortage of such housing in Brent. Instead there are 2,500 student apartments in the pipeline and countless hotels. Perhaps the great risk is the dependence on retail with the set piece 'London Designer Outlet' at the centre of the strategy. The claim (hope) is that as the only such outlet within the M25 it will attract visitors from across London. Some big names have signed up and with the Outlet opening in Autumn 2013 we shall soon see if it successful.

Brent Council's aim is to retain visitors to the stadium so that they stay in Brent to celebrate rather than going up West but also to attract locals and visitors on non-event days.  A multi-screen cinema is planned and there is talk of an FA sponsored National Football Museum.  The Brent Civic Centre has been fully booked for hard-hat tours next Friday and Saturday but questions remain about its accessibility, including the library, on event days.

Locals have commented on the 'spoiling' of  the view of Wembley Stadium by some of the new development as well as what appears to be a muddle of new buildings and sume sunless 'canyons'  rather than the careful cityscape that was promised.

Watch the video and make up your own minds.


Anonymous said...

This is an excellent record of a townscape tragedy.
If there was a master plan in Wembley, it has clearly been lost along the way? It is hard to imagine that this lack of vision and cohesion has been motivated by anything but private gain. Do CABE have a view on any of this? Have any design review panels been involved? Why can elegant design solutions be found in Camden, RBKC and Southwark while Brent residents have to put up with this cheap and ugly development. Brent deserves better than this, our rates are high enough, what are we paying for?

Martin R said...

Yes indeed, when I went to a similarly sparsely attended meeting at Wembley Town hall all those years ago, I described it as 'Wembleyplatz' an East German concept. The Beloved Dear Leader , Cllr John (not at that time yet an OBE)told me that I was out of order. Oh well, time marches on!