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End of an era as Wembley Stadium walkway is finally demolished

PUBLISHED: 19:13 19 November 2020 | UPDATED: 12:31 24 November 2020

Iconic Wembley Stadium walkway ramp being demolished. Picture: Martin Francis

Iconic Wembley Stadium walkway ramp being demolished. Picture: Martin Francis

Archant

It was the “end of an era” this afternoon as Wembley Stadium’s iconic walkway ramp was demolished after serving customers for 46 years.

Iconic Wembley Stadium walkway ramp being demolished. Picture: Martin FrancisIconic Wembley Stadium walkway ramp being demolished. Picture: Martin Francis

Quintain, Wembley Park’s regeneration giant, has started the controversial work to replace the pedestrian walkway known as the Pedway.

The Olympic Steps form the final stage of a wider package of upgrades to the length of Olympic Way.

Martin Francis, Green Party convenor, said it was the “end of an era” adding: “Local opinion is divided on whether the Pedway should have been removed and whether steps are safer and more aesthetically pleasing alternative, but there is much more unity on questioning whether Brent Council should have used millions of Community Infrastructure Levy on a project that benefits Wembley Stadium and Quintain rather than local people.”

Cllr Ketan Sheth, Tokyngton ward representative, said: “Disappointing that the Pedway is going, but fair to say that at its current length, it is by no way a compliant route for those less able to walk or those using a wheelchair independently.

Wembley Stadium and the Pedway leading up to it   Picture: Nathalie RaffrayWembley Stadium and the Pedway leading up to it Picture: Nathalie Raffray

“And the new Olympic Steps project, which includes four lifts, will enhance existing provision.”

The steps will be made up of sixteen channels divided by handrails and walls, with 48 steps taking people from Olympic Way to the top.

These will be separated into four flights of 12 steps with landing levels between them.

Underneath the steps, a public space will be created, lit by 36 giant pavement lights from above.

Four lifts, each able to carry three wheelchair users at a time, will be installed.

Brent Council’s planning committee voted unanimously in favour of the property giant application’s to “enhance” Wembley Park in 2018, despite overwhelming opposition.

The Pedway was built in 1974 to facilitate pedestrian access to the old stadium over a coach park that no longer exists.

Quintain lodged an application to build new steps in 2007 when the new stadium was built, saying it would be “one of the largest pieces of privately funded public space in the UK”.

In 2017, Brent Council agreed to gift the company £17.8m of public levy money to help pay for it and other “improvements” to the public realm.

James Saunders, chief executive of Quintain, said: “The completed Olympic Way upgrades, including the iconic new Olympic Steps, will dramatically transform the arrival to Wembley Park and the national stadium, creating a new and improved experience for spectators and fantastic new public spaces for our residents, shoppers and workers who come to Wembley Park every day.”


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