Brent Council agrees £17.8m of public money for Quintain after Wembley Park 'review'
PUBLISHED: 16:36 22 May 2018 | UPDATED: 17:16 22 May 2018
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The controversial decision to hand over £17.8m of public money to a private developer to spruce up Wembley Park was "reviewed" and agreed in under five minutes on Monday afternoon.
Brent Council cabinet members rubber-stamped the highly opposed multi-million pound gift to regeneration giant Quintain.
The deal was initially agreed in July last year but was reviewed in light of the proposed sale of Wembley Stadium to Fulham FC billionaire Shahid Khan - an option still under consideration.
There has been a huge public backlash against the plans to award the community levy cash, a planning charge on private developers made by local authorities, back to off-shore company Quintain.
Replacing the “pedway” ramps up to the stadium with steps, and “improving the walkway” to the Tube station are among plans.
Barnhill Labour backbencher, Cllr Shafique Choudhary asked the council to delay its decision.
He said: “They should wait until the ownership of Wembley Stadium is finalised. The new owner may want to make more money from the stadium, with more events, and may want to keep the pedway. We don’t have to spend £17.8m, the council can hold on to it.”
Chirag Gir, chairman of Wembley Central Area Residents Association, said: “This decision sets a precedent by Labour led Brent Council who have completely disregarded the needs of local residents. This money would be better spent on much needed improvements to Brent’s deteriorating roads and pavements.” Dan Russell, who stood in Tokyngton for the Conservatives, said: “This shows just how Wembley-focused the Brent Labour Council is, at the expense of other parts of the borough.”
Quintain first lodged its application to build new steps to replace the Wembley Stadium “pedway” ramp structure in 2007, saying it would be “one of the largest pieces of privately funded public space in the UK”.
Cllr Shama Tatler, lead member for regeneration, defended the decision. She said: “It’s not just about steps or a pedway, it is about the vision we have for Wembley, about bringing income and business rates to the borough and to the council.”