Monday 1 March 2021

Bobby Moore Bridge tile murals – you can see some, but what about the rest?

Guest post by Philip Grant ina personal capacity


Last week, Martin shared a Brent Council press release with you, which let people know that three tile mural scenes in Olympic Way would be on display between 10 and 28 March. 


This is not quite the full 21 days that the Council can request Quintain to uncover these murals during each calendar year, but it is probably the only opportunity for you to see them in 2021. If you live within walking distance of the Bobby Moore Bridge subway at Wembley Park, or have a valid reason to be there (for example, getting your Covid-19 vaccination at the centre in Fulton Road), I would encourage you to go and enjoy them while you can.


When I was told the dates (originally meant to be for three weeks from 1 March), I agreed with Brent Museum and Archives to help prepare a short video slideshow to promote the display. This has been shared with schools within a one-mile radius of Wembley Park Station. It lets teachers and students know that the murals will be on display, and tells the stories behind the sporting events at Wembley that the colourful murals celebrate. You can watch that video here:



In a guest post on 10 February, I wrote about a “dodgy deal” under which Brent Council had extended the advertising lease for the Bobby Moore Bridge by an extra three years, until August 2024. I’m not in a position to comment further on that deal at the moment, but there have been some developments over the question of whether the England footballers (and twin towers stadium) mural scene in the subway can be covered with advertisements.


The footballers tile mural, with the lights of “light boxes” just visible at either side of it.


I wrote that I had contacted Brent’s Chief Executive, setting out why I believed that a clause in the lease, saying that Quintain’s Wembley Park company were entitled to cover that mural with adverts on many “Event Days” each year, was unlawful. Martin included a copy of my full “legal argument” document at the end of that article. I will ask him to do the same with the response I received from Brent’s Chief Legal Officer on 23 February, and my reply to her. I believe it is right that these are accessible to anyone who wishes to read them, and make up their own minds which view should prevail.


The position over the footballers mural has still not been agreed, but I hope it soon will be. I am now awaiting Brent’s reply to the following message, that I sent to Carolyn Downs on 25 February, headed “Resolving the issue over the Bobby Moore Bridge footballers tile mural”:


Dear Ms Downs,


When I wrote to the Mayor yesterday, to thank him for his warm comments about the heritage tile murals in a Brent Council press release, I mentioned that we need to resolve the point over whether there is consent to cover the footballers tile mural scene with advertisements. I believe that we can resolve that matter, today.


I have exchanged thousands of words with senior Council Officers on this issue, so far without agreement. However, there is a picture which answers all of the arguments, and shows what parts of the east wall of the Bobby Moore Bridge subway do, or do not, have advertisement consent:-

This drawing was an integral part of Advertisement Consent application 19/1474. It shows, in light blue, the fifteen 1.2 metre wide panels which are the 'light boxes to the east ... wall[s] of the underpass approved under planning consent 17/3840 for advertising purposes.'


That is the consent which Quintain applied for, and which was granted, in 2019, as far as the east wall of the subway was concerned.


Quintain's application, and its supporting documents and drawings, also made clear that 'a 9.4m long section of the original tiled mural referencing Olympic Way and the game of football located on the east wall is left uncovered.' 



That is the mural scene shown in the drawing, with 7 light boxes on one side of it and 8 on the other. Nowhere in the application was there any suggestion that this tile mural would be covered for part of the time, let alone any application for consent to cover that tile mural with advertisements.


I hope that Brent Council will now agree that Quintain / Wembley Park Ltd do not have advertisement consent to cover the footballers tile mural with any advertisements, at any time. The "entitlement" under clause 10.3 of the advertising lease does not exist without that consent.


I would ask you to ensure, please, that Quintain / Wembley Park Ltd are informed of those facts without delay, so that they do not make the mistake of entering into agreements with advertisers which would involve covering that tile mural illegally, either for the Euros football tournament in June / July this year or at any other time.


I would be grateful if you would let me know, please, with copy to the Mayor, that Brent Council's tenant in respect of advertising on the Bobby Moore Bridge has been informed of those facts. Thank you. Best wishes,


Philip Grant.



I will, of course, let “Wembley Matters” readers know the outcome of this dispute, although I think it is pretty clear, from the information and picture in my email message above, what the outcome should be!

Philip Grant


The emails - click bottom right for full page 


Philip Grant said...

My post above sets out the email I sent to Brent's Chief Executive on 25 February, to try and finally resolve the dispute over whether Quintain / Wembley Park have consent to cover the footballers tile mural with adverts.

On the same day I received an acknowledgement, from one of Ms Downs team:
'On behalf of Carolyn, I acknowledge receipt of your email. We will ensure you are provided with a response as soon as possible.'

One week later, I have received nothing further.

How long does it take for Brent to concede that the clear evidence shows they have been wrong to maintain that this important mural scene can be covered over with adverts?

And why are they so reluctant to concede?

Anonymous said...

Obviously they are in league with the Quintain

Philip Grant said...

Dear Anonymous at 09:57,

Whether Brent Council are 'in league with Quintain' is a matter of opinion (although I will have some further evidence on this to share later this month).

Brent certainly has a financial incentive to allow Quintain's Wembley Park company to generate as much advertising income from the Bobby Moore Bridge as possible.

Under the advertising lease, Quintain's advertising profits, above a certain level, are shared 50:50 with Brent Council.

How much does the Council get from allowing Quintain to cover our heritage tile murals with adverts?

Well, there is a basic rent (which includes allowing Quintain to put big advertising screens on the parapets on both sides of the bridge itself), as well as the share of profits, although the amounts are kept secret (or as they would describe it "commercial - in confidence").