There was a bit of a buzz on social media yesterday about Fryent Country Park being used as a car park for the Ed Sheeran concerts at Wembley Stadium. I had seen for myself crowds heading towards Wembley along The Paddocks (rather than the advertised Kings Drive route) often with young children in tow so investigated. The result was the video above.
Some of the people I spoke to were concerned about the length of the walk (25 minutes was advertised) and particularly anxious about getting back to the field in darkness after the concert.
The recommended route
There were complaints about '25 quid to park in a field' lthough that compares with £40 in Wembley Park.
I do not know whether the arrangements were made ahead of the RMT rail strikes or because of them. Labour councillors may be interested to find out to see whether the effect was to undermine union action.
The main issue for locals is whether this will set a precedent, Fryent Way has been used as a coach or car park before for large events, but going into the park proper is new.
The new stadium was much vaunted as a public transport destination but that intention has since been overtaken by car park development in the stadium area and local residents renting out their driveways on event days. Ironically, Brent Council itself took action against Chalkhill Primary School to prevent it making additional income to improve educational opportunities for its children by letting out its playground for event day parking.
It would be interesting to know where the 'Park and Walk' earnings will be going.
Does Brent Council need planning permission to convert a green space into a car park business?
This is the official information on the Wembley Stadium website:
Fryent Park Car Parking
Event day parking will also be available at Fryent Park (W3W: firms.fully.daring) on Friday 24th and Saturday 25th June, just a 25 minute walk north of the stadium. A map of the car park can be found here.
This car park will be operational from 1200 on each event day and all walk routes will be signposted to and from the stadium.
Parking is available at £25 per vehicle: Please visit Wembley’s Park The Car Here website for more details. All event day parking must be pre-booked, otherwise car park access will not be permitted on the day.
This made me laugh. I've spent hours - literally hours - in recent weeks arguing with Brent's Parking Enforcement team about whether a tiny number of volunteers and visitors can be permitted to park near Preston Library on event days. One officer - 'only doing his job', so he will remain nameless - tells me that Brent Council does "not encourage driving and parking on event days". Meanwhile, if people really don't fancy the walk from Fryent Way, they can, for only thirty quid, always park much closer to the stadium in - where else? - Brent Civic Centre car park.
Poor planning in Brent by the Council strikes again.
Why are station car parks being sold for development eg. Wembley Park Station and Sudbury Town Station and green spaces being used as car parks?
Dear TfL, the Mayor of London Brent Council and Labour Councillors, please retain car parks for cars and green spaces / parks for people and animals to enjoy nature and the outdoors.
Who at Brent Council authorised the use of the Fryent Country Park car park and event field for stadium event parking and how much were the Council paid for its use? Those are questions that need to be asked and answered.
Memo to anyone walking that far - it’s free to park anywhere the other side of fryent anyway, just catch the tub a couple of stops
So Butt and Co have found a new way of raising funds. Yes, they are turning Fryent Country Park into Event Day Car Park. Perhaps they should make it into a Park and Ride too.
Who care, it is only Metroplitan Open Land (MOL) and of course the Council will ignore the requirement of the law prohibiting this use of MOL.
Anonymous (29 June at 11:36) points out that Fryent Country Park is Metropolitan Open Land.
The Fryent Country Park Management Plan, 2020 edition (http://btckstorage.blob.core.windows.net/site1601/00MP/Section%201%20Introduction%20Fryent%20Country%20Park%20Management%20Plan%202020.pdf ) lists all of the various designations which the Country Park and its fields hold. These are:
'Fryent Country Park is a Brent Council park.'
'Fryent Country Park is Public Open Space.'
'Fryent Country Park is Metropolitan Open Space.'
'Fryent Country Park is a Site of Metropolitan Importance for Nature Conservation.'
'Fryent Country Park is a Local Nature Reserve or LNR, under the National Parks and Access to the Countryside Act 1949. The park was declared a LNR by Brent Council in 1991.'
'Fryent Country Park was (and is) farmland. Farming has been continuous and the main crops are now hay, fruit and timber.'
'Fryent Country Park is certified to the Soil Association Organic Standard. Management work at the Country Park follows the organic standards covering the range of organic principles. Hay, fruit and timber from the park is certified as organic.'
'The Country Park is entered into the Countryside Stewardship scheme primarily for the conservation of the hay meadow grasslands. The Park also
participates in the Basic Payment Scheme. As such there is a need to adhere to cross-compliance and to maintain the land in Good Agricultural and
Environmental Condition (GAEC).'
Brent Council is the owner and manager of Fryent Country Park, and is responsible for ensuring that the Management Plan is followed.
There is nothing in the Fryent Country Park Management Plan about using the fields of the park as a car park, although that has been done in the past in conjunction with community events in the Country Park, such as the former Brent Countryside Day.
Where is the money going to?
It has been used years ago for Brent Country Days.
That all stopped for some reason.
Dear Anonymous (2 July at 07:17),
A good question about the money.
The reason Brent Countryside Days stopped was that the Council did not have the money available to fund them, and other popular community events.
I suggest that you ask your local councillors to find out how much Brent Council made from the car parking on the Country Park for the Ed Sheeran concerts, and whether they are going to use the money to fund events for the community.
When you get an answer, pass it on to Martin, so that he can share the information.
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