Thursday, 13 April 2017

Residents' views absent from offical record of Wembley Stadium Planning Committee meeting

Residents' claims that they were not being heard over the issue of the Wembley Stadium/Tottenham Hotspur planning application to increase the number of full capacity events at the stadium appear to have been borne out by the minutes of the Planning Committee published today.

The minutes merely list the names and organisations of those who made detailed and well-researched presentations to the Planning Committee with not even a summary of what they had to say.The presentations of Chris Bryant for Wembley National stadium Limited and Donna-Maria Cullen of Tottenham Hotspur Football Club are treated in a similar way.

This means that there is no official historical record of both the objections and the undertakings given by the applicants.

I think it is also noteworthy that the written representations of Cllr Butt,  leader of the council and Cllr Ketan Sheth, are not recorded.  As Planning Committee is not livestreamed this means that local residents have no access to what they wrote although they may have influenced the Planning Committee's decision.

These are the minutes as they appear on the Council website LINK:

PROPOSAL:  Proposed variation of condition 3 (event cap, to allow 31 additional full capacity events) and removal of condition 33 (temporary traffic management) of planning permission reference 99/2400, which was for:

Full planning application to consider the complete demolition of Wembley Stadium and clearance of the site to provide a 90,000-seat sports and entertainment stadium (Use Class D2), 4750m2 of office accommodation (Use Class B1), banqueting/conference facilities (Use Class D2), ancillary facilities including catering, restaurant (Use Class A3), retail, kiosks (Use Class A1), toilets and servicing space; re-grading of existing levels within the application site and removal of trees, alteration of existing and provision of new access points (pedestrian and vehicular), and parking for up to 458 coaches, 43 mini-buses and 1,200 cars or 2,900 cars (or combination thereof) including 250 Orange Badge parking spaces.

As approved, condition 3 stated that for two years following completion of the stadium, subject to the completion of specific improvement works to Wembley Park Station and construction of roads known as Estate Access Corridor and Stadium Access Corridor, the number of major sporting events held at the stadium in any one year was restricted to no more than 22 (to exclude European Cup and World Cup events where England/UK is the host nation), and the number of major non-sporting events to 15. After this, additional events over and above this were permitted subject to the number of spectators being limited to the capacity of the lower and middle tiers of the stadium. The proposal would allow for up to an additional 22 major sporting Tottenham Hotspur Football Club (THFC) events between 1 August 2017 and 31 July 2018.

A major event (which may or may not include THFC) would be considered to be an event in the stadium bowl with a capacity in excess of 10,000 people.
The application includes the submission of an Environmental Statement.


Resolve to grant planning permission, subject to the completion of a satisfactory deed of variation to the existing Section 106 legal agreement to achieve the matters set out in the report, delegate authority to the Head of Planning to make minor changes to the wording of the Committee’s decision (such as to delete, vary or add conditions, informatives) prior to the decision, provided that the Head of Planning is satisfied that any such changes could not reasonably be regarded as deviating from the overall principle of the decision reached by the Committee nor that such change(s) could reasonably have led to a different decision having been reached by the committee.

David Glover (Area Planning Manager) introduced the proposal and responded to members’ questions.  He referenced the supplementary report which provided additional detail on some of the mitigation measures proposed, and some additional measures beyond what was contained within the main committee report. In his view the measures amplified in the main and supplementary reports would assist to mitigate the impacts of the greater number of major events which the application proposed. He added that Section 106 financial contributions were secured in the original planning consent. 

Dr Ruth Kosmin spoke on behalf of Barnhill Residents’ Association (BHRA) objecting to the proposal.

Dr Michael Calderbank objected to the proposal on behalf of Wembley Park Residents’ Association.

Denise Cheong representing Wembley Champions also spoke in objection to the proposal.

D Bablas on behalf of Wembley High Road Businesses Association also spoke in objection to the proposal.

Fatima-Karim Khaku representing BHRA also spoke in objection to the proposal.

In accordance with the provisions of the Planning Code of Practice, Councillor Choudhary, ward member, stated that he had been approached by members of BHRA. Councillor Choudhary objected to the proposal on the grounds that it did not contain adequate information to assess the environmental, transport and business impacts.  He added that in addition to increased anti-social behaviour, the proposal would put a strain on the road network in the area.

In accordance with the provisions of the Planning Code of Practice, Councillor Stopp stated that he had been approached by local residents. Councillor Stopp stated that the potential benefits of the proposal would be outweighed by the costs to the area including fear of anti-social behaviour and increased litter (evidenced by the increase in the caseload from his constituents) and undesirable precedent.

Alice Lester (Head of Planning) read out in full, the written statements submitted by Councillors Butt and Ketan Sheth (ward members).

Chris Bryant representing Wembley National Stadium Limited (WNSL) addressed the Committee, answered members’ questions.

Donna-Maria Cullen on behalf of THFC addressed the Committee in similar terms and answered members’ questions.  

In the ensuing discussion, members questioned the applicants on a number of issues including search for alternative venues, the weight placed on residents’ views, measures they would take to reduce impact on local traders, transport and amenity impacts and the cost of policing.  Members heard that following a wide ranging search, Wembley Stadium was identified as the most preferred site that would suit the needs and aspirations of THFC.  The applicants continued that as a direct result of local views, full capacity events had been revised to 22 and that attending fans would be given a directory of local traders where they could shop.  They reiterated the mitigation measures to address the transport and amenity impacts.

Tony Kennedy and John Fletcher from the Council’s from Highways and Transportation outlined additional measures to reduce transport impact.   

DECISION: Granted planning permission as recommended.
(Voting: For 6; Against 1; Abstention 0)

Note:  The Committee voted to disapply the guillotine procedure to enable members to continue consideration of the application beyond 10:00pm.

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