Tuesday, 21 May 2019

Petition launched to Save the Bobby Moore Bridge tile murals

The image used in this poster may be the work of Amanda Rose ( ©amandarosephoto )
– we are still waiting for Quintain to confirm whether or not this is the case.

 Guest post by Philip Grant, in a personal capacity.
Comments on my guest blog about the Bobby Moore Bridge planning applications last week LINK led to a paper petition being started. Signatures were collected from last Friday onwards, and forms for this are still in circulation. I will write a little more about those efforts below.
From 21 May until 5 June, there is also an e-petition on the Brent Council website, saying:

We, the undersigned, petition the Council to put the tile murals in the Bobby Moore Bridge subway at Wembley Park back on permanent public display, through its Planning Officers or Planning Committee rejecting both of the current applications relating to this site: 19/1387 (illuminated panels and surrounding metal cladding) and application 19/1474 (advertising consent).’

If you live, work or study in Brent, and support the aims of this petition (explained in last week’s guest blog), and have not signed the paper petition, I would encourage you, please, to sign the online petition LINK . The more signatures we achieve, the better the chance of getting these planning applications considered properly, and hopefully in public at a Brent Planning Committee meeting in June or July.
Following the suggestion that we should have a petition, and getting the first signatures on it from local residents, Jaine and I went out on Saturday afternoon, to bring the hidden murals to the attention of fans going to the F.A. Cup Final, and seek their support. They, after all, are some of the visitors to Wembley that the tile murals were designed to welcome, to “the Venue of Legends”.
I had been standing in the Bobby Moore Bridge subway, in front of the hidden tile murals and with a copy of the poster above as a “bib”, for less than ten minutes when I was approached by a uniformed lady from “Wembley Park Security”. She asked me what I was doing, and whether I had a permit. I explained, and said that as I was not selling anything, or collecting money for a charity, I did not think that I needed a permit. She insisted, politely, on taking pictures of my “bib” and petition on her mobile ‘phone.
A few minutes later, she returned with a larger male colleague. They told me that I was not allowed to petition anyone on Wembley Park land, and that I should move away, across the white tiled line at the station end of the subway. I said that the subway belonged to Brent Council, not to “Wembley Park”, and that Quintain had admitted that fact in the planning applications the petition was seeking signatures for. The lady insisted I was wrong, as did her colleague after ‘phoning “Security Control”. I said that they had been given incorrect information, but decided not to argue the point further!

Fans on the steps at Wembley Park Station, seen from the subway about 2 hours before kick-off.

As the place that “Wembley Park Security” had directed me to was right at the bottom of the steps down from the station, and would have caused an obstruction and been a safety hazard, I went across to Olympic Square. I was glad that I did, because it was easier to approach people who were standing, waiting to meet up with friends, rather than those walking towards the stadium.
I have to admit that I only got around 50 signatures – I am more “at home” in a quiet archive than amid the noise and crowds of Cup Final Day! I believe that Jaine got many more, possibly several hundred. They will all help, when submitted with those which two other supporters are collecting.
Among the people I spoke to, there was genuine concern that the tile murals (which few knew about, but some had seen on visits to the stadium in the past) had been allowed to be covered over with adverts. As well as the poster, we had some photos with us showing other sections of the murals that are covered up. When I was speaking to the mother of one family group, her daughter (no more than ten) said: “Look, that’s Michael Jackson!” Although the late singer had serious “issues” in his personal life, he remains a popular entertainer for his music and videos, and she had recognised him from the mural.

Tile mural scene, from Michael Jackson’s record-breaking
live concerts at Wembley Stadium in the 1980’s.
One older man was disgusted at the disrespect to Bobby Moore, by covering up the mural and plaque in his memory. He wished me luck with our efforts to get the murals put back on public display, but warned that “money always wins.” Unfortunately, he was right about that as far as the Cup Final went, as he was a Watford supporter, and his team lost 6-0 to Manchester City (funded by the billions of a Gulf state ruler). But, with your help, money (in the shape of Quintain) does not have to win over the tile murals.
So, please, use the link above to go to Brent’s e-petitions page, and back the efforts to have the planning applications rejected, so that all of the Bobby Moore Bridge tile murals are saved from damage and put back on public display.
Better still, if you can spare the time, please use the link from last week’s guest blog to go to Brent’s Planning website, and object to both applications, 19/1387 and 19/1474. The blog gives some good grounds for objection, with both applications going against Brent’s Wembley Area Action Plan, and the covering up of the tile murals being against the ‘interests of amenity’ under the advertising consent Regulations. 
Thank you.

Philip Grant.



Philip Grant said...

Thank you to all of the people who are signing this petition, and those who have spread the word about it.

We still need more signatures, please, but we are now off to a good start!

Philip Grant said...


I have just sent Brent's (Interim) Head of Planning, and the two case officers dealing with these applications, digital copies of the paper petition.

This contains 283 signatures, at least 65 of them from local residents. Thank you to everyone who signed.

In addition, the online petition currently has a 39 further signatures. This is despite some people having contacted me to say that they are having trouble getting onto Brent's petition website, or finding it difficult to use (so that they appear to have given up). The online petition is still open until 5 June, so please keep signing if you haven't yet done so at:

In total, that's over 320 people objecting to these two applications, including more than 100 Brent residents. I have said to Brent's planners that the views of the 200+ visitors to Wembley Park (mainly for the F.A. Cup Final) should be given equal weight, and respected, because the future of the tile murals is an important part of the "visitor experience" for the millions of people who use the subway each year, on their way to events at the Stadium and Arena.

The number of signatures on the petition(s) mean that paragraph 1.vi. of Brent's Planning Committee terms of reference (should!) apply. I have asked Brent for confirmation that, IF planning officers recommend applications 19/1387 and 19/1474 for approval, those applications will be referred to Planning Committee for consideration and decision.

Philip Grant said...

I have (finally) received a reply from Brent's Interim Head of Planning today, saying:
'I’m afraid I’m not minded to refer these cases to planning committee.'

I have replied to point out that although, under para. 3 of the Planning Committee terms of reference he had a choice (which I asked him exercise, on 21 May) over whether to refer these cases to the committee (IF planning officers recommend them for approval), because of the number of signatures on the petition, he has no such choice!

As long as the planning application does not relate to minor matters (such as 'satellite television dishes or aerials'), if 'a petition containing at least 51 signatures [has] been received', the application(s) have to be referred to Planning Committee to determine.

Again this is IF planning officers recommend the application(s) for approval, and the case officers dealing with applications 19/1387 and 19/1474 have been given very strong reasons why those applications should be refused.

I hope that Brent's Planning Department will follow its own rules, but will have to wait and see whether they actually do so in this case!

Philip Grant said...


As well as showing the strength of objections to these two applications, the paper and online petitions have achieved their other goal, to prevent the applications being approved by planning officers "behind closed doors".

This is a comment I have just posted on the latest tile murals blog (11 June - "Wembley Park's Heritage in the Balance"):


Apart from the actual planning, advertising consent and heritage issues around the two Bobby Moore Bridge applications, I have been trying for the past month to ensure that both 19/1387 and 19/1474 are considered and decided together, and that if planning officers do recommend them for approval, they will be referred to Planning Committee to consider and decide.

I thought that this had been achieved, when the paper petition objecting to the applications (with 283 signatures) was submitted on 2 June, as the Planning Committee terms of reference say this will happen when 'a petition containing at least 51 signatures [has] been received.'

However, as recently as 10 June, Brent's Interim Head of Planning wrote to me saying:
'I’m afraid I’m not minded to refer these cases to planning committee.'

I replied, quoting "chapter and verse" from the terms of reference (part of Brent Council's Constitution), and at lunchtime I received this further message from him:

'Good afternoon Mr Grant I have followed up on this with Executive and Member Services and confirm that we will be referring both matters to Planning Committee. I expect that to be the 16th July meeting but we will contact you with details of the relevant committee meeting in due course.'

I have replied, saying:
'Thank you for your email, and confirmation that applications 19/1387 and 19/1474 will be referred to Planning Committee, probably at their meeting on 16th July.

Your reply appears to assume that both applications WILL be recommended for approval. As the Case Officers, and Heritage Conservation Officer, have been given very strong planning reasons why the applications should be rejected, we will have to wait and see whether that is the case.

I will note my diary to keep 16th July free, in case I do need to attend the Planning Committee meeting.'

Anonymous said...

Thank you for your hard work and dedication Philip, its much appreciated. I will continue to back the petition and continue reading your updates.