Tuesday 17 April 2018

Butt attempts to shift blame for Pedway expenditure on to Lib Dems and Tories

Brent Council leader Muhammed Butt has been active on Next Door, the neighbourhood website, following members expressing concern about the poor condition of road surfaces and pavements in Brent and citing the £18m expenditure on the replacement of the Wembley Stadium Pedway by steps as wasteful when this work needs doing.  LINK.

In a message directed at me Butt states:
@Martin Francis Please take a look at this report from the councils website in relation to the money that you refer to LINK  The decision to allocate the funding was taken in 2009 by full council. This was a decision taken by the administration led by Paul Lorber and Bob Blackman. It's clear that the funding would be funded by the developer funds. The decision does make it clear that the pedway removal would have to be after 2013/14.
This is the relevant extract from the report (click bottom right corner to enlarge):

I responded:
@MuhammedButt I have looked at the document you cited re the Pedway. It says that the Delivery Mechanism is 'Through Developer' and the Funding source is 'By Development'. CIL was not yet implemented but other projects made it clear when Section106 (CIL's predecessor) was being used. S106 is not mentioned for the Pedway. It is unclear to say the least. Quintain's own press release  (below) boasts that this is 'private investment'. I don't think CIL money, paid by a developer to a local authority, and then given back to them is 'private investment'.
I don't think this supports Butt's claim that funding was by 'developer funds' if by that he means CIL money or its Section 106 equivalent.

 Interestingly I understand that the Football Association is not enthusiastic about the proposal to replace the Pedway with steps. They are said to be concerned about crowd safety when fans exit the Stadium and have engaged specialists to examine the issue. The Stadium's crowd management using the Pedway has been tuned to a 'fine art' and it is questionable as to whether the steps could operate as safely.

Meanwhile Quintain's main reasons for the change are 'aesthetic' with an emphasis on the Pedway spoiling the look of its development around the Stadium.  Of course it could be counter-argued that the development spoils the aesthetics of the Stadium!


Anonymous said...

Interesting how it's gone from 10mil to 17.8mil too!

Scott said...

At Wembley Central & Alperton Resident Association Cllr Butt told me directly in front of everyone that the nearly £18m expenditure was necessary for 'safety'. It does not surprise me in the slightest that they have now reverted to the Shaggy defence of "it wasn't me" for this too. Is there anything these people will take responsibility for?

paul Lorber said...

Muhammed Butt's assertions are factually wrong as Martin Francis has pointed out. CIL did not exist in 2009 and the Council at no point agreed to pay Quintain £10 million let alone £17.8 million for the work on the Pedway or anything else. Quintain did approach the Council when I was leader arguing that we should relax the planning rules to enable them to build two 28 storey towers on either side of the pedway as they needed a development of that size to generate up to £30 million for the pedway replacement and other works. I made it clear that we would not allow 28 storey buildings in this location as these would completely destroy the view of the stadium. Quintain went away empty handed and that was the end of the matter.

It is clear that the current Labour Leader is a soft touch and that Quintain have managed to 'persuade' him to give away £17.8 million of Brent Council money for their 'private' project.

To put it into financial context £17.8 million is over 5 times as much as Labour plans to spend on road and pavement projects in the next financial year across the whole of Brent. After years of Labour neglect the Council has a backlog of £100 million of essential road and pavement upgrades and the wasted £17.8 million would have gone some way of clearing a part of this backlog. Sadly it is local people of Brent who will have to put up with this shameful Labour incompetence.

Alison Hopkins said...

The simple reply to this is to ask who, exactly, was in power in July 2017 when this was approved.

Anonymous said...

Quintain are pushing this purely for aesthetic reasons. FA and WNSL have perfected the art of moving supporters down this pedway for the past 40+ years, and neither support it being converted to steps, financially or otherwise, it is not needed or wanted, and there is huge concerns over safety of people using these steps especially at big events 80,000+.

Anonymous said...

Did Butt explain how steps are safer than two gently sloping ramps?

I am old enough to remember dozens of people being killed on crowded steps outside a Glasgow stadium after an "old firm" football derby game.