• Wembley regeneration takes a step forward

Developer Quintain has won approval for the next phase of its redevelopment of the 85 acre area around Wembley stadium.
Planners at the borough of Brent have approved a series of applications for plots around the stadium, with a total of 4,850 homes, student accommodation and further retail and business space.
The developments approved cover sites including those currently used for surface parking, around the stadium, plus the redevelopment of the existing Wembley Retail Park. A main application consents the construction of up to 4,000 homes, 21,000 sq m of retail, 82,000 sq m of commercial space, a hotel and student accommodation. Also included are education, healthcare and community facilities and a new public park.
On a site between South Way and the main rail line, approval has been given for around 725 homes in seven buildings up to 19 storeys high. The hybrid planning application also lists a potential hotel, student accommodation or more homes, with several options under the outline approval.
The scheme proposes over 30% of the homes should be affordable, something the borough was supportive of. The idea is that half of these be affordable rent, and half intermediate homes. “This results in a significant increase in the level of Affordable Housing and is supported on that basis,” noted the committee report.
Councillors gave approval despite objections from the Football Association, concerned about access to the stadium on match days, and on the view of the stadium. Officers disagreed with the objection, noting: “The proposal represents a good balance between the preservation of the key views and the need to regenerate Wembley to provide new homes and jobs”.
James Max, Quintain chief executive, commented: “We are delighted that Brent Council has approved our new plans, accelerating the delivery of thousands of new homes, jobs and a fantastic new park in this prime location next to the iconic Wembley Stadium.”
“We are excited to be playing such a pivotal role in creating the next chapter of this great city. With the support of our backers, Lone Star, we are creating a vision for Wembley which will truly fulfil its global heritage as the most famous sports and music destination in the world, now combined with modern urban living.”
Quintain took hold of the massive site around the stadium in 2002, and has slowly progressed the build out of the area. To date, 760 homes have been built, while a further 600 are under construction. There has been a new Hilton hotel, a designer outlet shopping centre and student accommodation built on the site.

LPA Perspective: Quintain has only really got started on the Wembley transformation, in the last 14 years it has owned the 85 acre site. Now, having been taken private by US investor Lone Star, the company may be better placed to get moving on the project.
The approvals that have been given relate to designs that have clearly taken many months to bring to committee with, along the way, modifications to better suit the borough’s requirements. And the outline nature of much of that approved, still leaves Brent in control of key elements as the build-out takes place.
The worry now, is that the slow pace of development will continue. A decade from now, will the area still have a half finished look about it? Quintain has a private rented housing division, launched earlier this year, and it must be hoped that this will enable it to build faster than traditional housebuilders would, constructing for sale. A steady pace of delivery of private rented homes would surely be taken up by the market without any problem.

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