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Residents anger over ‘absurd’ plan to build flats in three new tower blocks at Wembley Point

Wembley residents are concerned over “absurd” plans to build three new tower blocks containing more than 500 flats overlooking the North Circular.

Neighbours fear infrastructure, such as roads and public transport, will struggle to cope with the influx of new people when the high rise development looms over the surrounding area.

Developers Wembley Tower Ltd are looking to build a £250m development at Wembley Point, including 515 new homes, a boxing gym, retail space, and a new cycle way. It is part of a wider redevelopment of the area, which has already seen the existing 21-storey ‘WEM Tower’ turned into 439 studio flats.

The plan has received a number of objections from residents who feel the scheme will adversely affect their quality of life. People living in the nearby WEM Tower have suggested they were unaware of the plans before they moved in and are “concerned about the inconvenience”.

One said: “Due to the changed ways of working during the pandemic, I intentionally chose this place to rent based on what’s offered here (far from city noises, sunlight, a high-rise building that is not surrounded by any obstructions, etc.). This construction changes all of these factors based on which I made my decision.”

Designs show the three buildings would be made up of one 32-storey skyscraper with 266 flats, comprising 84 one-bedroom, 178 two-bedroom and four three-bedroom apartments – all of which are earmarked for private sales. ’Building B’ is a three-storey low-rise block containing a gym, currently intended to be used by Stonebridge Boxing Club.

The third building would be a part 16, part 20-storey tower block containing a mixture of private and affordable homes. The total 249 apartments would comprise 16 one-bedroom, 58 two-bedroom and 75 three-bedroom, as well as four commercial units on the ground floor.

Nearby residents are fearful the development will drastically impact their quality of life by resulting in a loss of sunlight and privacy, as well as the flats adversely affecting the “feeling of community and neighbourliness”. There are also concerns about the impact on local infrastructure, particularly the nearby Stonebridge Park station which serves the London Underground, London Overground and National Rail.

One resident said: “The train station nearby is small and already struggles during peak hours for the existing number of residents in the area. Ditto for bus stops and buses that serve the area – the number of new residents being proposed is absurd for such an area.”

If the plans are approved, the developer has pledged to provide £1.02m towards station improvements at Stonebridge Park and bus service enhancements. This will be essential as the proposal is ‘car free’, with the exception of blue badge parking, meaning more strain will be put on local public transport. Cycle parking and a new cycle lane has been proposed along the southern boundary.

A total of 116 affordable units, on a 70:30 split of London Affordable Rent to London Shared Ownership, would be provided. Officers suggest evidence shows this is the “maximum amount of affordable housing that can be viably provided on site”, and would, therefore, be policy compliant.

The plan has been recommended for approval by planning officers but it will come before Brent Council’s planning committee next week (October 24) for a final decision.