Thursday 15 August 2019

Bobby Moore Wembley mural may be shown in the future 'should the Council choose to do this.'

Brent Council leader Muhammed Butt

Brent Council Planning Department has responded to a resident’s query about the Bobby Moore Bridge murals stating that the historic murals ‘may be shown in the future should the Council choose to do this.’  The resident was unhappy with Brent Council's decision to allow most of the mural to be covered up by advertising. 

I don’t think I am going to put my money on a reappearance any time soon based on that comment!

Brent Council response:

This relates to the advertising on the side walls of the Bobby Moore Bridge underpass that covers the tile murals that are on those walls.

By way of background, the bridge itself, including the tile murals and the walls upon which the murals are located are owned by the Council.  The Bobby Moore Bridge subway was constructed between 1991 and 1993 as part of the pedestrianisation of Olympic Way by Brent Council. The tile murals were erected at the same time and depict a range of sporting and entertainment events from the history of Wembley Stadium and Wembley Arena.

The Council owns the structure and its walls, but The Council has leased the walls to Quintain for the installation of advertising.  Vinyl adverts have been displayed on these walls for several years.

Following a request to the Council from the Wembley History Society, Quintain engaged with the society to working up the proposals to uncover an element of the murals.  This resulted in the current proposals which included uncovering a portion of the mural which depicts football at the original stadium.  The chair of the society confirmed that they were in support of the proposals.

Applications were submitted by Quintain to change the advertisements and uncover this section of the mural.  Light boxes and advertisements were proposed to be affixed to the bridge in a way that would not damage the tile murals, allowing them to be uncovered in the future.  The application for advertisement consent together with an advertisement for the approval of details pursuant to a planning condition were considered by the Planning Committee on 16 July.  The merits of the proposal were set out in the reports for that committee meeting and were debated at length by Planning Committee members.  The applications were approved at that meeting.

The tiles are not to be ‘obliterated’ as suggested in the e-mail, but rather, the new advertisements are to be fixed in a way that does not damage the mural.  This was a key part of the proposals to put up the light boxes and advertising.  The Council’s heritage officer has checked the works regularly to ensure that they are being undertaken in an appropriate way.  The current proposals result in more of the tile mural being visible within the underpass and ensures that the mural is protected.  Parts of the mural will still remain under advertising, but they will be protected so that they may be shown in the future should the Council choose to do this.
Previous posts on this subject:

Tile murals –Wembley Park’s heritage in the balance

Wembley Park’s tilemurals – now you see them … soon you won’t! 

'Gateway toWembley' mural to be covered by advertising


Philip Grant said...

There are a number of inaccuracies and misrepresentations in this response from Brent's planners (just as there were in their reports to Planning Committee, on which its decisions to grant consent were made on 16 July), but I will just comment here on their final statement.

They are quite correct to say that all of the tile murals 'may be shown in the future SHOULD THE COUNCIL CHOOSE TO DO THIS.'

They are also correct to say that: 'The Council owns the structure and its walls, but The Council has leased the walls to Quintain for the installation of advertising.'

There have been two leases of the walls of the Bobby Moore Bridge subway to Quintain for advertising purposes, but in neither of the Officer's Reports on which the decision to grant those leases were based was any mention made of the tile murals that were on those walls!

The Council Officers who wrote those reports were either negligent, in failing to identify a key factor which should be taken into account in making the decision, or they deliberately omitted any reference to the important public artwork (specially designed for the subway, to celebrate famous sports and entertainment events from the history of Wembley Stadium and Arena) because it might mean that the decision, based on their report, would not be the one they wanted.

The first decision, to grant a lease for four years to 31 August 2017, was made by Brent's Operational Director, Property and Projects (Regeneration and Growth) in 2013. It was based on a report prepared by a more junior officer in Brent’s Property and Projects Team. Although the report did not mention the tile murals, the actual lease included an appendix showing ten photographs of the Bobby Moore Bridge, in which tile murals on its walls are clearly visible.

The first lease appears to have been allowed to continue beyond August 2017, because the second lease was not approved until a Brent Cabinet meeting in January 2018. The Officer's Report to Cabinet, on which this decision was based, was signed off by the Strategic Director of Resources, although probably prepared by a more junior officer.

This second lease was described as 'a new four year lease for Bobby Moore Bridge dressing/advertising.' I am hoping to find out exactly when the end date for this lease is (probably late 2021 or early 2022).

If Quintain want to carry on advertising over the tile murals, there will have to be a new decision, almost certainly by Brent's Cabinet. That will be the next opportunity for the Council to choose whether the tile murals should all be put back on public display, and this time they cannot avoid knowing the real effect on our public art and heritage of any new advertising lease!

Anonymous said...

That must be an old photo of Mo. The view of the stadium from the Civic Centre is now (tower) blocked!!!

Martin Francis said...

Yes, I am not sure of the date but shows just how much the stadium has been obscured by speculative building.

Anonymous said...

The planners "correct" the writer of the email they are responding to for saying that the tile murals would be 'obliterated'.

But 'obliterated' means 'blotted out', or 'caused to be forgotten'. That is exactly what the planners are allowing to happen.

Philip Grant said...

The "CHOICE" will come in 2021.

Brent Council's four year advertising lease of the subway to Quintain's Wembley Park Ltd company runs out on 30 August 2021. Will the Cabinet put some rental income above Brent's heritage?