Brent Council to 'review' £17.8m public money giveaway for Wembley Stadium 'pedway'
PUBLISHED: 11:26 15 May 2018 | UPDATED: 16:52 15 May 2018
Campaigners have been given fresh hope in their call for £17.8million of public cash not to be handed over to a private developer.
Brent Council chiefs agreed to give Quintain the multi-million sum for public realm improvements, including to the steps that will replace the current ramps to the stadium.
But with Wembley’s sale mooted last month, the council has vowed to “keep this situation under review [...] given the possibility of change of ownership”.
Brent’s decision to hand over the CIL (community infrastructure levy) money angered neighbours and campaigners, who said it would be better spent on “much needed” projects such as youth services and crumbling roads.
Chirag Gir, chairman of the Wembley Central and Alperton Residents Association (WCARA), said: “The very proposal that Brent intends to spend £17.8m of CIL money on this totally unnecessary work outside Wembley Stadium during a time of great austerity, when council departments across the board are faced with cut-backs, is a major issue for all Brent residents – not just Wembley Central and Alperton.
“If Brent spends this £17.8m on this project, what is going to stop them doing the same with future funds?”
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”.
In March it submitted a full planning application for the demolition of the existing pedway and associated works in the area.
Lib Dem activist Paul Lorber, who publicised the council’s deal with Quintain, said: “Quintain claimed the steps were a private investment project.
“I have called on the council to reverse the decision to give the money away and demanding the £17.8m should be spent on crumbling roads and dangerous pavements across Brent.
“There is £100m backlog of work and Labour only plan to spend £3.5m next year – £17.8m is five times as much.”
A council spokesman said Brent’s position “has not changed” since it decided to give away the cash last year, but chiefs would review it “if circumstances change” in light of the proposed sale – which cabinet will discuss at a meeting on Monday.