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Last ditch effort from Wembley residents to thwart stadium proposals

PUBLISHED: 15:13 21 March 2017 | UPDATED: 11:40 22 March 2017

Wembley Stadium (Photo: Ady Kerry)

Wembley Stadium (Photo: Ady Kerry)

Ady Kerry /AK Pictures

Residents living near Wembley stadium have launched a petition in a last ditch attempt to halt Tottenham Hotspurs plans to hold all its home games next season in front a full house.

Some traders have described the hordes of fans putting customers off from visiting their businesses (Barn Hill Residents' Association)Some traders have described the hordes of fans putting customers off from visiting their businesses (Barn Hill Residents' Association)

Wembley have asked for 22 extra full-capacity events to be permitted between August 1 this eyear and July 31 2018, which would allow Spurs full use of the ground for its one-season switch to the national stadium.

But furious residents and traders claim the extra fixtures will cause overcrowding around the stadium and on transport networks, and bring chaos to the area on match days.

The petition says: “We object to Brent Residents paying for any additional police, clean-up and enforcement.”

As reported in the Brent and Kilburn Times, stadium bosses Wembley National Stadium Limited (WNSL) lodged an application with Brent Council requesting its current 37 events be increased 59 in order to accommodate the home fixtures.

Crowd of fans 2Crowd of fans 2

That followed a public consultation period which yielded 164 representations with all but eight objecting to the proposals.

However, despite the seemingly overwhelming negative response to consultation with local residents, Brent Council has published a 44-page report recommending the proposals be approved by the council’s planning committee when they meet on Thursday.

Denise Cheong, on behalf of Wembley Champions, which has launched the petition calling for support in halting the application, described emailing all 63 of the borough’s councillors asking for their backing.

“The petition was launched so that we could invite help from the whole council because ultimately it is the council making this decision,” she said.

“By asking for help from all of the council, and the planning committee as well, we are pleading with them.”

Ms Cheong went on to suggest “there is nothing precise, nothing exact, nothing finite, about how they are going to safeguard local residents’ and business’ quality of life within the report.

“While I appreciate the many benefits that our national stadium affords us, the council has a duty of care and responsibility to safeguard the quality of life of its residents and businesses,” she continued.

“That is what the whole thing is about - duty of care, quality of life, safeguarding - and getting the best deal, not just for bringing in investment for the area, but for the interests of local residents and businesses - the rate payers.”

Wembley residents Paolo and Tanya Di Paolo, in a comment objecting to the proposals, noted the “severe impact” additional events would have on locals.

“The traffic levels in Wembley on a day to day basis are already at choking point [and] this will make it worse,” they said.

Niral Babla, chair of the Wembley High Road Business Association, previously told The Times that customers tended to avoid the area on event days due to the congestion problems.

“It begs the question that with more events, what is going to change? It is just going to get worse,” he added.

The Football Association (FA) has insisted that they have measures in place to ensure events are held in a way which benefits the local community Similarly, they confirmed that before and after submission of the application, a great deal of importance was placed on raising awareness of the proposals and providing residents with consultation and feedback opportunities.

A Brent Council spokeswoman said: “Following extensive consultation with local residents and businesses, taking into account the merits of the application and comments and views from the consultation, Brent Council has published its recommendation to grant planning permission for the application by Wembley National Stadium Limited to temporarily increase the number of full capacity events.

“The recommendation is subject to the completion of a satisfactory deed of variation to the existing Section 106 legal agreement, the full details of this are available at www.brent.gov.uk/planning, searching on reference number 17/0368.”

A decision on the application will be made at Brent’s planning committee meeting starting at 6.30pm on Thursday at the Civic Centre.

The Wembley Champions petition against the proposals can be found at https://you.38degrees.org.uk/petitions/no-to-extra-uncapped-90000-people-event-days

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