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Community anger as Brent planners opt for historic tile murals in Wembley Park to remain partially obscured

PUBLISHED: 18:01 06 August 2019

Rock drummer tile mural in Wembley Park (Picture: Wembley History Society and Brent Archives)

Rock drummer tile mural in Wembley Park (Picture: Wembley History Society and Brent Archives)

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Tiled murals showing moments of sporting and musical history in an underpass leading up to Wembley Stadium are to be partially covered by advertising screens.

Michael Jackson tile mural in Wembley Park (Picture: Wembley History Society and Brent Archives)Michael Jackson tile mural in Wembley Park (Picture: Wembley History Society and Brent Archives)

Brent Council's planning committee agreed to the proposals put forward by Quintain that will see "light boxes" installed on Bobby Moore Bridge.

There were concerns from members of the public that these could damage the murals on the side of the underpass, while others wanted the tiles to be completely visible again.

The murals date back to September 1993 when Bobby Moore's widow came to Wembley to open the subway and unveil a plaque in her husband's honour, as well as a tile mural picture of an England footballer at the old "twin towers" stadium.

The colourful tiles depict scenes of Wembley Park's heritage from famous sports and entertainment events at Wembley Stadium and SSE Arena.

World Cup tile mural in Wembley Park (Picture: Wembley History Society and Brent Archives)World Cup tile mural in Wembley Park (Picture: Wembley History Society and Brent Archives)

They have been covered up by hoarding since 2013 when London Designer Outlet was opened.

At the meeting on July 16 the planning committee added a condition to protect the tiles - they will be replaced "like for like" if any damage occurs due to the adverts.

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Quintain said the chairman of Wembley History Society supported the proposals after it was agreed that part of the murals would be exposed.

But a petition with almost 300 signatures was handed in calling for all the tiles to be on "permanent display".

Philip Grant, a member of Wembley History Society, explained that the murals are a "heritage asset" and "worthy of protection".

"They are a major public artwork, designed for this location to show the varied history of this special place," he said.

He added the history society, prior to Quintain's consultation, voted unanimously to call for the murals to be on permanent public display.

Neighbours also pointed out that the underpass acts as a gateway from Wembley Park Station and should be used to promote and reflect the area's history.

They added that the underpass is an "integral part of the visitor experience" when the stadium hosts events.

Jaine Lunn, of Wembley Futures, said: "It's our mural, paid for by local people, and we don't want it covered up."

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