Saturday 18 March 2017

Transport planner critiques Planning Officer's report on Spur's application

From the comments on Brent Council Planning Portal made by a local resident:
I am a local resident and am a transport planner/modeller by profession (hence the detailed questions).

I strongly oppose this application and appeal to all on the committee to consider the people they are representing. I went to the community engagement session with the FA & Wembley Stadium (which was very POORLY advertised just fyi) and met the officials. They were quite blunt and open with the fact that this was a purely commercial deal for them. They struggled to explain any benefits to the local community, didn't propose any reasonable solutions (apart from improved signage) and at that point in time, the application documents were not online for my scrutiny.

The documents are now available and here are some comments and questions from me to the applicant and their consultant;

With reference to the Environment Statement, Chapter D (Transport):

D5.23 - I note that the applicant says there will be a 'negligible' effect on the London Underground. I would like to challenge that.

D5.20 says that events will take place outside peak hours on a weekday. This is usually kickoff at 7:45pm according to my knowledge of football. Earlier on in the chapter, it was found that spectators "make their way to the event 2 hours before" - this means between 5:45pm and 7:45pm i.e. the PM peak hours. I have personally been travelling home from work in the city in the PM peak hour during a midweek THFC match and to say additional midweek matches will have a negligible impact on the tube is grossly incorrect. There is no data or modelling or criteria that I can see that defines this 'negligible effect' conclusion. Have any station crowding, egress, ingress models been developed? Have any general Railplan model's been run? If so I would like to see the results and the accompanying criteria.

(And to echo other comments from neighbours, the LU network just about copes in the AM & PM peaks on normal days let alone weekday PM peak event days! The Transport Chapter emphasises the push for people to use PT to get to the games...but this is inherently flawed as the PT network is already heaving).

D5.28 - I quote: "However, as the period of time where Olympic Way will be congested will likely be limited to one hour and 30 minutes for an average of three additional days per month, it is considered that this is a negligible effect." The ingress 1hour 30minutes of congestion has been ignored here. This brings the total congestion to 3 hours per event. When we spoke to the Wembley Stadium rep at the community engagement session, they said there would be measures in place to allow this north/south movement for residents and locals to be improved. I have personally be stuck several times trying to just get from Lidl to my home.

D6.36 - "To promote and support the use of measures which reduce the need for travel, like video-conferencing and flexible working" - what? This doesn't really apply to Wembley Stadium spectators (and probably 90% of staff who need to be there physically!)

D.39 - You need to get Google Maps and Waze on board because lots of people use their phone applications for navigation rather than TomTom these days. Getting TomTom on board simply isn't enough.

There are no numbers to quantify the delays to buses and the local baseline traffic. Has modelling been undertaken and can I see the results, please?

The metric used in the ES to identify minor/major/adverse/beneficial isn't clear. Please provide this. We also need to see the empirical modelling evidence.

With the Brent/Quintain regeneration plans, the numbers are probably far higher than when Wembley Stadium got approval many years ago. This needs to be taken into account before any cap is lifted.

As a local resident and a transport planner, I am abhorred by this application. We manage as residents with the current number of event days as they are sporadic (maybe twice a month?) and varied. Regular football matches will change this completely. I won't repeat in detail what others have said about anti-social behaviour, litter, drunkenness, transport pressures, safety, children, no 'home' affiliation etc but I echo those points as well.

There is no mention of Chelsea wanting the stadium for 2018/2019 in this application but rumours are already going around about this. Approving THFC this would set precedent and it would be a disaster for the up-and-coming regenerated Wembley Park/Brent.

I urge the council to reject this application and to apply pressures to Wembley Stadium & THFC to mitigate the 50,000 spectator matches that are likely to still be held.

Residents, locals and family need to come above corporations, money and commercial pressures.

I and many other will be attending the committee meeting.

In addition to my previous comments on the Transport Statement, I wanted to add that if their current/old stadium has a capacity of around 36,000 and their new one is "only" going to seat around 61,000 they can surely manage with the current limit of 50,000.

Pure profit for a few at the detriment of a whole community and area is unjustifiable.

I have already raised my concerns regarding this application and the Environmental Statement in a previous comment.

I am trying to get hold of the case officer to raise the issue that none of us at Danes and Empire Court have received letters about this application. Brent Planning told me on the phone that 20,000 letters have been sent out to neighbours. We have over 300 flats on North End Road, less than 5 minutes walk from the stadium and we have NOT received letters about this application. I found out about this through curiosity and some Google searching about why Spurs were playing here this season, because of all the grief it was causing us.

The neighbourhood consultation closes in less than ONE week, and it is unacceptable that we were excluded from being informed about it. I appreciate there is no restriction in making a comment on here, but how are my neighbours supposed to make their comments if they HAVEN'T been informed about the application in the first place?


I look forward to hearing from the case officer, and to receiving letters from the Council/Applicant very soon. The neighbourhood consultation will probably need to be extended to allow residents on North End Road to comment.


TRLA said...

Hi Martin
I appreciate your thorough review of the situation and can sympathise with being a local resident. We live on Harrow Road and we too must deal with loitering, drunks, and fast food rubbish thrown over the fence into our property. Much of this is down to a lack of management and responsibility either btw football club/Local Borough/security. I believe there is a way to accommodate events with good management and preparation and a few other design perimeters. That aside, do you know if there is going to be a wider public consultation inviting community's concerns to be answered. Perhaps if you hear from the case officer you can ask when this event is and advertise it here on this forum. I don't think any of us should hold our breath though. It doesn't' sound like the football club are forth coming with information or have heard of community consultation for the better of stakeholder ownership. Again - poor management of this situation.
Watching this space...

Martin Francis said...

Unless Planning Committee defers a decision it will all be over on Thursday evening with no further consultation with residents. Any negotiations on conditions will take place privately between Planning Officers and Spurs/Wembley Stadium. Thursday evening is when we rely on members of the planning committee to thoroughly question the applicants and planning officers about how to respond to residents concerns and then to impose some rigorous conditions. As you say - don't hold your breath.