Monday 4 March 2013

Brent's relationship with Quintain under strain over the Wembley Plan

An Officers' Report going to the Executive on March 11th reveals some areas of strain in Brent's relationship with Quintain Estates, the major developer of the Wembley Regeneration Area.

The Council accept Quintain's claim that parts of the current Wembley Retail Park are shown as suitable for tall buildings but state that this is subject to an assessment of the impact of the buildings on views. On site W18 at the Wembley Retail Park,  Quintain  argue for higher density of development but Brent responds that "the indicative residential development capacity reflects the high proportion of family housing sought on this site (thus affecting the number of habitable rooms per unit), the domestic character (resulting in an 'urban' character rather than 'central') and the incorporation of the public space within this site."

Quintain object to the policy requirement that the development of the car park at York House (Site W9) should be relatively low rise and should include a substantial area of open space. Brent Council respond that there is still a deficit of open space in the area and the site provides scope for publicly accessible open space between buildings. 'Relatively low rise' reflects the high rise nature of York House and the need to provide good levels of sunlight in existing and new open spaces.

In line with apparent reservations on surrendering building land for open space, Quintain consider there is too much detail on the proposed park north of Engineers Way and particularly object to its East-West orientation.  Brent respond that this is fundamental to achieve an open aspect to 'what will be a densely developed area' and that the space would connect the proposed new primary school at Fulton Road,on the west side, to its catchment area in the residences to the east.

It appears that  Quintain's approach can be summarised as: build tall, build densely, and with limited open space.  Presumably this would extract more profit from their land acquisition. They go further in this statement which seems to threaten section 106 planning gains:
WEM36 and WEM38 set out requirements that major new development provides new open space and food growing facilities. Such exceptional provision, which also includes the provision of play space in WEM40 and wildlife enhancements inWEM41, will have an impact on viability and thus will have an impact on Section 106 obligations, after CIL.
Brent Council deal firmly with Quintain's objection to the provision of large food stores (over 2,000 sq m) being directed to Wembley High Road. The Council argue that this is essential to benefit the whole area and in order not to let the regeneration of the stadium area lead to a decline in the High Road. The argument is that new shops on the High Road between the junction with  Park Lane and Wembley Triangle will establish continuity between the older area and the new development.

Quintain certainly seem to be on a loser with their objection to policy limiting the proportion of frontage in the town centre that can be occupied by hot food take-aways. The Council's robust response is that there is widespread support for such a policy, including from the GLA, and 'there can be adverse impacts on the health of the population from fast foods.'

There is much more in the Wembley Area Action Plan so I will return to other aspects later. You can access the documents by following this LINK to Item 8 of the Executive Agenda.

If you want to comment on the plan and some of the issues above, Consultation will start from 25th March 2013 and last for 6 weeks. It will be agreed by Full Council in June and planning inspectorate examination hearings will be held in October 2013 with adoption the following February.

1 comment:

Martin R said...

Yes, well I well remember the original Wembley Masterplan with all the wide open vistas between the buildings. Once Quintain had their foot in the door, they just changed the rules to suit themselves they did two things, 1) they reneged on their agreement to donate the Civic Centre site free of charge to Bren, thus increasing the cost to the Council Tax payers in interest charges (ie not cost neutral as trumpeted) and 2) they started to fill in all the gaps between the buildings. At last Brent is 'fighting back' ?!