Saturday, 21 May 2016

Future safety concerns overshadow today's Wembley Cup Final

Impression of Wembley Stadium surrounded by flats

As fans pour into Wembley for today's Cup Final Greg Dyke, FA Chairman, has warned of the dangers posed by Quintain's plans for new tower blocks close to the stadium. The £2.5bn scheme was approved by Brent Planning Committee in  controversial circumstances. LINK

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.”

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.”
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. 

 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.


Anonymous said...

Given the actions and decisions of Brent Council's Planning Committee as revealed through Wembley Matters blog, it strikes me that that Committee is very like the European Commissioner's office that wants to foist 'Transatlantic Trade & Investment Partnership' 'corporate lawyers trump democracy' practices upon us all without our consent or the consent of the European Parliament.

And would not Quintain love to unleash their corporate lawyers upon us all in defence -- sorry, defense -- of Quintain's 'property rights'?

All the same, I shall still be voting for the UK to remain in the EU, as I reckon that a truly social Europe with Britain in it is our best defence against the supremacy of global corporations.

Alan Wheatley

Jaine Lunn said...

As Quintain consistently move the goal posts since initial planning consent was granted. The FA and Quintain was never going to be a partnership/understanding made in heaven. The FA should stick to their guns and call for an appeal, get backing from FIFA, Sport England and Mayor.

Anonymous said...

I do so agree. I hope it was widely publicised yesterday so that visitors to the stadium became aware of all that Quintain propose to do and that all the spaces they use and enjoy will be gone.

Anonymous said...

Pressure needs to be put on Sadiq Khan on the matter of planning decisions as soon as possible. He's already showing signs of weakness on the ludicrous 'garden bridge' vanity project of blonde bombshells Joanna Lumley and Boris Johnson (see Ian Jack article in yesterday's Guardian).
Mike Hine

Anonymous said...

To facilitate access to the article referred to by Mike Hine, here is a link This garden bridge is an oddity born of the chumocracy.

Alan Wheatley

Anonymous said...

Today (Sat 28 May 2016) BBC website reports: Tottenham to play at Wembley in Champions League next season:

"Tottenham have reached a deal to play their Champions League home games at Wembley next season.

"The club will also have the option to play Premier League and cup matches, as well as any European games, at the national stadium during the 2017-18 campaign.

"Spurs are having a new £400m stadium built next to their existing White Hart Lane ground...."

Alan Wheatley