east wall of the subway, with “footballers” mural, from Quintain’s consent
In a guest post last Sunday, updated with a
response from Brent’s Chief Executive,
Philip Grant explained how the long-running dispute, over whether this iconic
heritage mural could be covered-up with adverts during the Euros football
tournament, could be settled with arbitration by a small panel of Brent
councillors. This afternoon, he responded to the Council Officers who had
dismissed his suggestion:-
an open email
Downs (and Ms Norman),
could resolve advertisement consent dispute
sent an initial response to your email of 24 May on Monday afternoon, I asked
for early clarification on two points from your final sentence. I had hoped
that the answers might mean that these was less urgency to get this outstanding
As I have
not yet received your reply to that, I am responding now to the main points in
that email, as we do need to resolve our dispute without further delay.
email you wrote (although I realise this may have been drafted for you):
‘I am afraid that
even if a panel of Councillors agreed with you it would not change the legal
right for vinyl advertisements to be attached to the tiles over the
statement is grossly misleading, and if that is what Cllr. Nerva and other
elected representatives have been told by Council Officers, I believe you owe
them an apology.
believe that a ‘legal right’ exists to cover the footballers mural with
adverts, but I believe at least as strongly that no such ‘legal right’ exists.
That is the point at issue which needs to be properly decided in order to
resolve our dispute.
set out a strong case, supported by evidence from the advertisement consent
application documents, to show that there has been no consent to advertise over
that mural since August 2019.
I am not
so arrogant as to believe that I may not be mistaken, and have said that if
your case is stronger than mine, I would accept that my view is wrong.
Ms Norman, have claimed that a consent given in 2017 still exists in respect of
the footballers mural, but have refused to provide the detailed reasons and
evidence to support that view.
We appear to have reached an
impasse. The quickest and fairest way to settle the matter would be for both
sides to submit their case for arbitration by an impartial person. The dispute
would be decided on the facts and evidence, with both parties agreeing to
accept the decision.
Your statement quoted above
claimed that a panel of Councillors would have no authority to decide this
matter. I disagree.
This dispute is very much a Brent
Council matter, with Brent officers on one side and a Brent citizen on the
Brent, as Local Planning
Authority, has granted two advertisement consents relating to the footballers
tile mural, one in 2017 (ref. 13/2987) and one in 2019 (ref. 19/1474). It is
accepted that they are both legally valid consents. It is simply a question of
which one actually applies to the footballers mural now.
Both for Brent’s Bobby Moore
Bridge advertising lease tenant, and for Brent’s Planning Enforcement team, it
is important that there is certainty over whether or not there is advertisement
consent in respect of the footballers mural.
I am sure that a small panel of
experienced Brent councillors would be competent to consider and decide on the
issue here, and I am willing to trust their impartiality in exercising that
task. I hope you would also put your trust in such a panel, and agree to accept
their judgement, based on the facts and evidence put to them.
Your email suggested that a
decision by such a panel would carry no legal weight, and could be ignored.
While it would not be an official legal tribunal, a Brent dispute, arbitrated
fairly and openly by elected Brent councillors, with the agreement of both
Brent parties to that dispute, is not something which any Court of Law would
readily dismiss (in the unlikely event of it ever coming before one).
Your reluctance, so far, to
countenance my suggestion for arbitration, in order to settle this matter
quickly and without much further cost, could be seen (and is seen by some) as
an admission that Brent’s Legal team are afraid to put their view over advertisement
consent to the test.
It’s time to show the citizens of
our borough that we are not afraid to “put our cards on the table”, openly and
transparently, and accept the outcome.
have a dispute. We have a way to resolve it. Let's get on and do that!