Thursday 31 May 2018

Is this worth £17.8m of our CIL money? Proposals for Olympic Way.

The new public space
The Agenda of the next Planning Committee LINK contains plans for the space next to the Brent Civic Centre/Wembley Library. Readers will recall that modification of the original outline permission for this site was what Brent Council hoped to gain from their decision to use £17.8m CIL money, contributed by Quintain, to replace the Pedway to Wembley Stadium with steps, along with other improvements to Olympic Way.

The planning application for the Pedway is separate, and commitee members are told that  this decision can be made independently of that application. However, the area included in the application overlaps the Pedway (NW04) below, so depends on its removal. If the Pedway is not removed some parts of the propsoed building on the plot will not go ahead.

A further condition is changes in the height and length of the new building adjacent to the space. The height is raised from 88.5m to 100m and the length is shortened from 57m tp 41m as seen from Olympic Way. The gaps between the new building and the one to its north will be reduced from 21m to 12m.

The plan includes a canopy/colonade along Olympic Way and a single storey pavilion building. The report mentions a potential bridge to the Civic Centre but does not provide any detail.

The new square with the replacement steps
The design brochure is posted below: (Click bottom right for full size)


Jaine Lunn said...

Already the view of the Stadium and LED Screens have been obliterated by the monstrosity that replaced the Powerleague pitches. It can't get any worse Can It?

Paul Lorber said...

Giving £17.8 million of public money by Labour Councillors in Brent to a private developer owned via a Bermuda tax haven is a waste of money. Replacing the pedway with steps is not a priority for public funds when the Council is neglecting our roads and pavements and so much more. Just because an outline planning permission was given for the NW04 area more than 10 years ago does not mean that a 'bribe' now needs to be paid to the developer not to build here. Things have changed in the last 10 years. The site of NW04 is already an actively used open space and a route to the Civic Centre and other parts of the development including a route to the shops. The Planning Committee would in my view be perfectly justified in refusing any planning permission on that land and handing money to buy the developer off is a very dangerous precedent. Sadly Brent's Labour Councillors are a soft touch and the Planning Committee lacks the independence it needs. Decisions are far too often made for financial reasons and planning considerations are sacrificed. As always the losers are Brent residents - in this case to the tune of a staggering £17.8 million (and it would have been an extra £3.56 million had I not challenged the Brent's Finance Officer on the issue of VAT on top of the £17.8 million that Brent were planning to hand over).

Philip Grant said...

The "NW04 Consented Parameter" shown in blue on the plan above can't be right, as it would have extended over the building line that is meant to protect the view of the Stadium along Olympic Way, as well as requiring the demolition of the Pedway in order to allow its building footprint.

I can't help wondering whether Brent has been "conned" into apparently giving outline consent to a building THAT WAS NEVER GOING TO BE BUILT, and then in to handing over a large sum of money to Quintain in return for NOT building it.

Martin Francis said...

This is what the officers' report says about portected views:

Views, including protected views
59. Policy WEM 5 of the Wembley Area Action Plan 2015 states that tall buildings will be acceptable where they can demonstrate the highest architectural quality, and that where they are proposed, the submission of a key views assessment will need to accompany planning applications. Map 4.4 identifies areas as ‘appropriate’ for and ‘sensitive’ to tall buildings. The Application Site is within the area defined as being appropriate for tall buildings. Policy WEM 6 defines protected views of the Stadium, relevant for the consideration of tall building proposals. Policy WEM7 states that development on Olympic Way must be carefully designed and scaled to respect the predominance of Wembley Stadium and its arch.
60. A series of images has been submitted with the application which indicate the impact on views to the Stadium from the protected and other viewpoints, including those along Olympic Way. The top of the new tall building would obscure an additional small part of the stadium arch in the AAP views along this route (AAP View 6 /Wembley Park Station, AAP View 7/Bobby Moore Bridge and AAP View 8/Olympic Way north of Fulton Road) and would infill an additional small proportion of the space between the roof of the stadium and its arch, compared to the existing situation.
61. However, in the cumulative versions of View 6 and View 7, which include the outlines of previously consented building forms, the previously consented NW11 would obscure much of the main NW04 building. At the closest, most southerly position (AAP View 8), the banners which line the route would largely obscure NW04 and would define the viewing frame for the stadium. In all of the generated views submitted, the visible part of the Arch would retain its broadly symmetrical appearance and the formal and balanced composition of this approach would be maintained.
62. Whilst the current proposals would slightly reduce the amount of the arch that is visible at present, this is not significantly more than the degree to which the Barratt and Unite housing schemes on the eastern side of Olympic Way infringe on the view of the arch from Olympic Way and it is considered that the proportion of arch and space that would still be visible would maintain an acceptable level of prominence for the National Stadium.
63. With regard to distant views, the increased height of the taller element would not be noticeable in the distant AAP View 1 from Barn Hill. In AAP View 2 from Elmwood Park, Sudbury, the proposed NW04 would rise slightly above the horizon, however, due to its distance and the scale of development in its foreground, it is unlikely to be noticed. The overall character of the view and the prominence of the landmark Stadium and arch would remain the same. It is therefore considered that in relation to the amended scheme, there would be no significant difference in effects on distant views compared to the consented development.

Philip Grant said...

Thank you for this, Martin.

Item 59 of the Officers' Report sets out Brent's approved planning policies, but the remaining items quoted show how successive planning applications have been allowed to nibble away at those policies!

The 'existing situation' is that the view of the stadium and the arch from the direction of Wembley Park Station has already been eaten into by previous consents for the Unite and Barratt developments on the east side of Olympic Way, and by Quintain's NW11 plans for another tall block on the west side.

Because of this, it is considered that this latest application should be allowed because it would "only" 'obscure an additional small part of the stadium arch', and would "only" 'infill an additional small proportion of the space between the roof of the stadium and its arch.'

These small additional losses of the view add up! The so-called "protected views of the stadium" are shrinking, year by year.

By making concessions to the developers every time there is a new application, Brent's planners and Planning Committee are making a nonsense of the planning policies they are meant to uphold.

Anonymous said...

The Wembley 'master plan' that we were consulted on, all those years ago is now a mockery. All the gaps between the buildings have been filled in. The best proof of this is that the Nov 5 Fireworks cannot now be seen from either Arena Square or the Stadium Terrace, so that in 2019 the crowd were treated to a thrilling display in the Yellow car park and we were so close we could see the firework maestro with his computer and could feel the heat! Great stuff..