Sunday 25 February 2018

Brent's give away of £17,800,000 to Quintain and the FA won't go away as an issue

We're not celebrating Cllr Butt
Since people have woken up to the decision of the Cabinet made last July to the £17.8m allocation of Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) to Quintain and the Football Association/Wembley Stadium Limited to public realm improvements, including the steps that will replace the current ramps to the stadium, there have been plenty of critical comments on social media.

At its most basic level people cannot seen how Brent Council can repay a large lump of CIL money back to the developer for something that is not of direct benefit to local people when the borough's infrastructure is falling apart.

The lead member for regeneration, Cllr Tatler,  has claimed that people are just 'making mischief' about a decision made long ago.

Paul Lorber has written to Carolyn Downs
Dear Ms Downs

I am very concerned how the Council made the decision to hand over £17.8 million of public money to Quintain for the benefit of Wembley Stadium and the FA without any apparent regard to other important local priorities.

Have you walked down Wembley High Road recently? If you have have you will have noticed the dangerous condition of many of the pavements which represent a major trip hazards to the local pedestrians. The condition and appearance of Wembley High Road - also a major route to Wembley Stadium and surrounding facilities is a major Brent shame.

Local residential areas around Wembley are also starved of resources. Many streets have dangerous pavements, potholed roads, destroyed grass verges and vastly overgrown trees.

Yet the Officer report to Councillors about the £17.8 million makes no reference to other Brent wide priorities on which the £17.8 million could have been spent. There were no options presented to Councillors.

All of this suggests that there was some very effective lobbying by Quintain and the FA to convince officers and Councillors that they should become the main priority for these funds above all the other desperate needs across Brent. 

It seems ironic that while residents and local groups need to go through a rigorous bidding process to bid for any NCIL (Neighbourhood Community Infrastructure Levy) money and then be assessed against competing bids a company such as Quintain (owned by investors via the Bermuda Tax haven) only seem to have to do some persuasion in secret to achieve a massive windfall of £17.8 million.

This decision exposes the Brent Council lie that there is no money to upgrade pavements or resurface roads in Brent. It sadly shows that both officers and Councillors in Brent are out of touch with local realities and are prepared to ignore the needs of local people by giving priorities to large developers operating from foreign Tax Havens.

I note that the agreement for the £17.8 million has not yet been signed. Since part of this is clearly a bribe for Quintain not to build next to the Civic Centre this decision should be reviewed and Councillors provided with other local projects the much needed money could be spent on rather than handed over for the benefit of the FA and a large private developer.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I am sure the relevant approvers coffers are substantially filled up by Quintain. The stadium which is a national treasure is now hidden behind the concrete jungle built by Quintain and support by the ignorant Councillors. All roads in wembley are chocked up and it a nightmare.