Residents living in Wembley Stadium's shadow say more major events will ruin their lives

Wembley Stadium Event Day
-Credit: (Image: Grant Williams)

An application from Wembley Stadium to increase the number of major events it hosts each year by eight has sparked fear amongst some residents that their ‘quality of life will decrease’.

One 94-year-old woman who requires home care and her son worry that disruptions to public transport will mean carers struggle to tend to her on event days.

The 90,000-seater national stadium has applied to Brent Council to increase the number of events from 46 to 54. An ‘event cap’ was introduced after the original stadium was demolished and replaced, which limited the number of major sporting events held at the stadium each year to 22 and non-sporting events to 15 but this has steadily increased over the years. Unlimited additional events were permitted providing the number of spectators was below 51,000.

Concerns have been raised by residents who live in the catchment area of the stadium who feel they are a ‘secondary consideration’ in the decision-making process. Anil, 66, said that the event days can be disruptive for his 94-year-old mother, who requires home care four times a day.

READ MORE: 'I let the council rent out my flat, now the locks are damaged and I can't get back in'

Closed roads around Wembley Stadium
Anil, 66, claims the disruption to public transport and closed roads impact his mother's ability to get home-care on event days -Credit:Grant Williams

He said: “She is basically dependent on [the carers]. I’m with her most of the time but then to clean her, feed her, and everything else she is dependent on them. On event days, obviously not all of the carers have cars so they depend on public transport. [...] But they cut the buses and close the roads so sometimes they can’t get here.”

Anil’s mother is visited by carers first thing in the morning, then at lunchtime, again at 4pm, then followed by the final visit at 6:30pm. If carers aren’t able to attend some of the appointments, particularly the evening one, then it could be many hours before she is seen to.

Anil said: “It does affect us in such a way that she’s not being fed on time, or she’s not being cleaned on time. [...] I can do certain things before they come and clean up after they leave [...] but me being a male she doesn’t want me to be doing some of the things like cleaning her.”

He added: “If she has spoiled a nappy or something then you don’t want to leave it too long because what happens is you get other issues. If things aren’t done regularly then she gets bed sores and [...] if these aren’t treated quickly then they can turn into ulcers. She’s still alert and everything, she knows what’s going on around her and she wants some freedom.”

Anil’s mother lives on the periphery of the catchment area, but those residing in the immediate vicinity of the stadium are also against the plans. They say the rubbish, volume of people, and noise already make living in the area difficult, but fear increasing the number of events will impact them ‘significantly’.

Harry Styles Feather Boas left behind at Wembley
Feather boas were left sprawled across the area following Harry Styles gigs -Credit:Grant Williams

One resident, 32, who preferred not to share her name, moved into one of the properties in Wembley Park during Covid. She claims she was told at the time that there would be 19 large-scale events each year but there are ‘far more’ and is opposed to the proposed changes.

She said: “It doesn’t seem like they are doing the amount of events that they have in a reasonable way that puts the community first. I can reasonably assume that my quality of life will continue to decrease here.”

She added: “It’s so infuriating to see what happens after music events and athletic events where people forget that we live here. There were men with snow shovels full of Harry Styles feathers, I’ve never seen anything like it.

“The entire neighbourhood more or less shuts down because it caters to the events. Maybe what folks don’t realise when they sign a lease here is that you’re essentially signing up to live where people come to party. I get it, but it’s now every weekend and some weekdays too.”

She said she often feels intimidated walking back to her home through the crowd and also highlighted security issues that residents face, with people often able to gain access to their buildings.

Residential buildings around Wembley Stadium in West London, Britain 14 June 2024. Facundo Arrizabalaga/MyLondon
The entire neighbourhood shuts down -Credit:Facundo Arrizabalaga/MyLondon

Another resident, 41, has been living in one of the residential buildings immediately outside the stadium since it first opened in 2019. He said people had been ‘sneaking’ into residential buildings after discovering that there was a leisure room, with a video game area and pool table.

He said: “They were always coming in and being very aggressive. They run up and down the building, knocking on doors late at night. Sometimes it has been quite scary. Someone has actually been stabbed inside the building because they told them to leave.”

He added: “The dirtiness of the area, mostly after football matches, [...] is the worst. This place becomes a public toilet. They wee up the walls here and don’t care about women or kids walking past. [...] When we first moved here we checked the events before because I know the stadium can affect my life. The reality is that they declare to us that it’s just 30 to 35 events per year, which is not an issue. But now it’s incredible.”

No additional sporting events

Most residents acknowledged that it is those attending sporting events, especially football, that cause the greatest impact as concerts tend to attract a more family-friendly crowd.

Wembley Stadium has emphasised that the changes would mean ‘no additional football or sporting events’ - maintaining the existing maximum cap of 25 sports events per year.

Residential buildings around Wembley Stadium in West London, Britain 14 June 2024. Facundo Arrizabalaga/MyLondon
Residents claim it's impossible to attend the restaurants and bars on event days and have become a 'secondary concern' -Credit:Facundo Arrizabalaga/MyLondon

A spokesperson for Wembley Stadium said: “The event cap variation would give us the flexibility to offer a wider range of dates to prospective concert promoters who are looking to bring major acts and shows to Wembley Stadium.”

They added: “Although the application is for an additional eight non-sporting events each year, it is unlikely we would ever fulfil this requirement. Our Best-in-Class initiative, which helps to manage major events in partnership with all our key stakeholders, will be maintained and extended for any additional events.”

It’s estimated that each additional event will generate £4.5 million for Brent and create between 33,200 to 44,000 additional positions for event staff. The application will come before the council’s planning committee next month where a decision will be made.

Brent Council Leader, Cllr Muhammed Butt, said: “For the most part the events at the Stadium are a success, but it would be remiss of us not to recognise the disruption that event days can have on Brent residents.”

He added: “It is imperative that any application from the stadium, by means of mitigation, strikes a balance with the community. Brent Council will continue to work in partnership with everyone involved so I will be calling for improved collaboration with residents and stakeholders alike as we negotiate any future terms with the stadium going forward.”

Don't miss out on the biggest stories from across the city: Sign up to MyLondon's The 12 HERE for the 12 biggest stories each day