Agenda item

Zone C, Olympic Way & Perimeter Way, Wembley, HA9


PROPOSAL:  Full planning permission for the demolition of the existing 'Pedway' ramp structure to the front of Wembley Stadium and the construction of a set of steps (with associated lighting) to connect ground level to Wembley Stadium Landing Level (concourse); and use of the void created beneath the proposed steps as secure storage for estate maintenance equipment; the reconfiguration of an existing unadopted estate road (Perimeter Way) to create two new roads either side of the steps connecting to Engineers Way; the use of land beneath the steps bridge as temporary event space; a revised vehicular access to Plot W03 immediately west of the application site and public realm works comprising the installation of hard landscaping, street trees, lighting columns that can incorporate advertising banners, street furniture, underground water attenuation measures, services, tree pits and other associated works.


RECOMMENDATION: To grant planning permission and that the Head of Planning be granted delegated authority to issue the planning permission and impose conditions and informatives to secure the matters set out in the main report.


The Head of Planning be grated delegated authority to make changes to the wording of the Committee’s decision (such as to delete, vary or add conditions, informatives, planning obligations or reasons for the decision) prior to the decision being actioned, provided that the Head of Planning is satisfied that any such changes could not reasonably be regarded as deviating from the overall principle of the decision reached by the Committee nor that such change(s) could reasonably have led to a different decision having been reached by the Committee.


That the Committee confirms that adequate provision has been made, by the imposition of conditions, for the preservation or planting of trees as required by Section 197 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990.


Ms Hilary Seaton (Planning Officer) introduced the report including details of the proposals and answered members’ questions. She explained that the scheme which would consist of 16 channel steps each with 48 steps separated into 4 flights would be of concrete structure and incorporate comprehensive lighting strategy. The proposal would improve legibility, deliver improved public realm and pedestrian flow as well as link in well with development for plot W03 and W04 in the area. 


In reference to the supplementary report she informed the Committee about the formal response from Wembley National Stadium Limited (WNSL) since the publication of the agenda.  The response set out WNSL’s support for the proposals, conditional upon a number of matters being addressed by planning conditions within any planning permission granted.  She continued that the majority of the matters raised by WNSL were captured within the proposed conditions. To ensure that outstanding matters raised by WNSL were addressed, the Planning Officer recommended an amendment to condition 15 as set out in the supplementary report. 


The Planning Officer then referenced a letter from Hilton Hotel requesting signage for local hotel facilities and LDO and consultation on the Site Environmental Plan.  In addressing those requests, she advised Members that a condition was proposed requiring the submission and approval of a Wayfinding Strategy and a further condition that the development would be carried out in accordance with the submitted Site Management Plan.  This plan sought to deal with potential environmental impacts of the proposed works and set out mitigation measures which would minimise the impact of the proposed works on all neighbouring residents and occupiers, including the Hilton Hotel.


Ms Hilary emphasised to the committee that full consideration had been given to the safety aspects of the proposal and the Council, along with other expert bodies, were satisfied that the proposed steps met safety standards.


Mr Kenneth Koranteng (objector) raised concerns about the application on grounds of public safety, mass evacuation and lack of consultation with users of the ramp Pedway structure and the emergency service providers.  He explained that since its construction, there had been no structural failure of the Pedway, a testament of its durability and reliability, which was now proposed to be replaced with a set of steps which could have serious implications for crowd and mass evacuation from the Stadium. Mr Koranteng noted that the deliberations of the Public Safety Officer and unequivocal assurances from the Metropolitan Police were absent in the report.  He continued that that the data for crowd control technical study was not representative as it was based on only 2 events captured to support the proposal. For the above reasons, he felt that no cast iron case had been made for the removal of the Pedway ramp and urged members for deferral until the concerns expressed had been addressed.


Messrs Brett Harbutt and Julian Tollast (applicant) addressed the Committee and answered members’ questions.  Mr Harbutt stated that the application would enhance the setting of the Wembley National Stadium, improve public realm and deliver a public square for other events and uses.  He added that the proposed set of steps which complied with guidelines for access and egress had been reviewed and accepted by the Public Safety Officer and complied with DDA accessibility requirements.  Members heard that the steps were intended to be in place for 2020 when Brent would become the Borough of Culture and Wembley National Stadium would host European Nations League finals.


In response to Members’ enquiries, Mr Tollast confirmed that extensive consultations were carried out with representative groups, The Metropolitan Police, Fire Service and other civic authorities and their comments were taken on board in the final submission. He added that it was impractical to consult with visitors to the Stadium.  Mr Tollast clarified various aspects of the proposed development, including that being out in the open meant that escalators were not a viable option due to propensity for  frequent breakdowns, which would create difficulties for visitors.  He continued that the proposals had been robustly tested against findings from other stadia.


In considering the proposals, Members highlighted the paramount consideration of public safety in terms of egress and noted that the benefits of the proposed steps, including their role in wider public realm improvements, outweighed the retention of the current Pedway ramp structure.


DECISION: Granted planning permission as recommended subject to amended condition 15 as set out in the supplementary report.

(Voting was unanimous and as follows: For 8, Against 0, Abstention 0)

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