Thursday 2 March 2017

Barn Hill Residents comprehensively oppose Wembley Stadium planning application

This is the submission made by the Chair of Barn Hill Residents Association (BHRA) to the Planning Department on the Spurs bid  to hold more events and lift the capacity cap at Wembley Stadium:

Planning Application ref: 17/0368
Wembley Stadium

We wish to make the following comments on this Application:

Proposed variation of Condition 3

Condition 3 of the original Wembley Stadium Planning Consent has not yet been fully complied with.  This Condition restricts the number of full capacity events at the Stadium until various transport improvements have been put in place. These include the upgrade of one section of road within the Wembley Industrial Estate which requires the purchase of a significant amount of land. This purchase has not yet taken place, despite Wembley Stadium having given Brent Council millions of pounds to facilitate these works.

We believe that until such time as these works are completed in their entirety, this Application should be refused.

It is not at all clear why the Stadium feels the need to increase the number of full capacity Event Days. There is no restriction on the number of events using only the lower and middle tiers of the Stadium which can accommodate up to a total of 51,000 spectators. 

The pretext for increasing the number of Event Days is that Tottenham Hotspur will be using the Stadium from 1st August 2017 until 31st July 2018 while their own stadium is being rebuilt.

However, Tottenham’s current average home attendance of 36,824 falls well short of the capacity figure of 51,000 for normal Event Days. The 31 additional planned events could therefore go ahead without any variation to the existing planning consent.

Although this proposal purports to be a temporary arrangement to accommodate Tottenham, we strongly suspect that, if approved, it would pave the way for Chelsea Football Club to use the

Stadium for a further three years while their stadium is also being rebuilt.

Proposed removal of Condition 33

We do not agree with the lifting of this Condition as we believe that many fans of Tottenham will travel to Wembley via the North Circular Road despite it already being heavily used and subject to constant traffic jams.

Other issues

We believe that Brent Council is not fully taking into account the detrimental impact that approving this Application would have on the local environment and residents. Even without any increase in the frequency of matches and the numbers of spectators, it is evident that Police resources are totally inadequate when it comes to enforcing the law on match days. 

In flagrant disregard of the regulations in the local Controlled Drinking Zone, there is widespread and excessive consumption of alcohol in the streets, especially when large numbers of fans are turned out of the local hostelries one hour before kick-off, while Police officers look on, apparently powerless to act.

This inevitably leads to the public nuisance of widespread urination not just in the streets but also in residents’ gardens, or even behind the Civic Centre.

The other unwelcome by-product of match days is the sea of litter left behind in the streets.  Fans discard food packaging with impunity, an offence which in other circumstances might attract a fine of £80. Sadly, Veolia (Brent Council’s contractor) are failing to maintain their previous standards of rubbish collection.   

This is to say nothing of the massive disruption suffered by local residents in many other ways on Event Days, what with overcrowded buses and trains making normal travel by public transport very difficult, and parking restrictions inconveniencing family and social events in residents’ own homes. 

Any increase in Event Days would seriously impact the right of residents to the quiet and peaceful enjoyment of their properties.  In addition, other local activities would increasingly have to be curtailed at short notice, with venues such as church halls suffering a serious loss of income.

I believe that, before attracting ever larger crowds to Wembley on match days, measures should be taken to alleviate existing problems, whether that involves a large increase in Police resources or perhaps the Council reviewing the licences of local pubs.

Local residents suspect that designating many more match days as full Event Days when this is not warranted by the likely numbers attending, is a kind of 'Trojan Horse' strategy to increase the full Event Days to 68 on a long-term basis, to continue long after Chelsea and Tottenham have returned to their rebuilt stadiums.
If, as we have been told, the local Police already have insufficient resources to enforce the widely-flouted ban on drinking in the streets around the Stadium, what hope is there that they would be able to cope with extra Event Days?

Even if there were to be no increase in Event Days, we strongly believe that extra Policing is essential and suggest that the costs should be borne jointly by Wembley Stadium and the clubs involved.

For the reasons given above, we strongly object to this Application.

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