Wembley historian asks Brent councillors to back murals bid

A local historian has repeated his calls for tiled murals showcasing part of England’s football history to be on display during this summer’s European Championships.

Philip Grant, of Wembley History Society, is concerned the murals – on the underpass at Bobby Moore Bridge on the approach to Wembley Stadium – will be covered with adverts during the tournament.

He continues to contest Brent Council’s claim that property developer Quintain has permission to display ‘light boxes’ along the entire walkway during “a limited number of event days”.

Mr Grant hopes to see at least a portion of the strip – showing England footballers in front of the old Wembley’s iconic ‘twin towers’ – on display, particularly as tournament organisers hope to see some fans attend several games at the ground.

He wrote to Cllr Muhammed Butt (Lab, Tokyngton), leader of Brent Council, outlining his concerns and urging him to intervene on the issue.

“It would be tragic, and would bring Brent Council into disrepute, if this mural scene, with its plaque unveiled by Bobby Moore’s widow in 1993 (when the bridge and subway were named ‘in honour of a football legend’), is hidden behind advertising banners when England fans are passing through the subway on their way to support their country,” he said.

“The way to ensure that outcome is avoided is for Brent Council to remove any doubt and instruct Quintain that they do not have advertisement consent to cover-up the ‘footballers’ tile mural.”

Mr Grant added he has provided “clear evidence” to council officers which he said supports his case.

After the council’s director of legal, HR, audit and investigations, Debra Norman, disputed this, he has called on councillors to show “commitment and enthusiasm for this heritage asset” by backing his campaign.

A spokeswoman for Brent Council explained the murals – both the ‘footballers’ and those referencing other parts of Wembley’s sporting history – are shown at certain times but did not confirm if this would be the case for the Euros.

She said: “The council currently has an agreement in place with Quintain which allows advertising on Bobby Moore Bridge and this income helps to protect vital public services.

“The agreement allows for the murals to be uncovered periodically for public display, and we were pleased that residents and visitors were able to enjoy additional sections throughout March.”

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