Stadium chief Bob Stubbs says it will take Brent to public inquiry if it misses 19 March deadline.
The developer of the new Wembley Stadium intends to take Brent Council to public inquiry if it fails to make a decision about the stadium’s planning application in the next two weeks.

Wembley National Stadium chief executive Bob Stubbs said he would issue a non-determination notice triggering the hearing if the council failed to resolved the planning issue by 19 March. He said he has engaged planning barrister Sir Michael Fitzgerald QC to represent it at the inquiry, which he expects to take place in September.

Brent council said it was surprised at the move. A council spokesperson said: “Wembley National Stadium is aware of our timetable and has not raised any concerns with us.”

Wembley placed two applications with Brent, the first of which is due to be decided on 19 March. The second, the one Brent and Wembley are working on, must be decided next month.

Developers often place two applications with local authorities. One is worked on with the planning inspectors and the other is left in the system but can be used if a developer wishes to appeal against a decision early on.

The move follows council threats to reject the application unless the developer contributes £30m to improve the infrastructure and environment around the stadium.

Stubbs said an appeal could delay the scheme for a year but, if successful, would ensure that it remained on target for the World Cup in 2006. “The stadium would be completed in 2004 instead of 2003 with the current scheme,” he said.

Stubbs attacked Brent for brinkmanship. He said the council was attempting to put pressure on Wembley to hand over money. He noted: “We offered Brent £15m in planning gain, but the council rejected it and demanded £20m. Now, the council wants £30m but £5m is our final offer.”

Stubbs said the council’s stance was prompted by fears that the government taskforce set up to regenerate the locality had failed to come up with proposals. He said: “Brent fears that if it grants planning permission without any concrete proposals in place, it will end up with nothing.”

A DETR spokesperson said: “We cannot comment on Wembley as the secretary of state may have a semi-judicial role if the application is appealed.”

The government taskforce declined to comment.