Wednesday September 30, 2015
It’s a real honour to be able to host two Rugby World Cup games in Brent. The Ireland vs Romania game broke the record for the biggest ever crowd at a Rugby World Cup match with 89,267 fans enjoying the spectacle at Wembley Stadium. In the build-up to the tournament we were also lucky enough to see the esteemed Web Ellis trophy showcased at the official opening of the fabulous new library at Willesden Green.
But it seems that Wembley is the place on everyone’s lips at the moment and it’s not just the stadium which is breaking new ground. The French President, François Hollande, visited Wembley last week to open the ‘Lycee International De Londres’, the new French School on the site of old town hall. The beautiful campus is set over five acres with 12,000 square metres of newly refurbished and purpose built teaching spaces for 1,100 pupils aged from 6 years old to 18 and I’d like to extend a very warm welcome to our new neighbours.
As well as the new school, any visitor to Wembley will have noticed all the cranes and scaffolding in the Wembley Park area. Much needed residential accommodation is being built for a our rapidly growing population. Brent is the only borough to have two ‘Housing Zones’ – one in Wembley and one in Alperton. A housing zone is a priority area to build new homes. In the Wembley area, there will be 2,380 new homes, including 894 affordable. In Alperton, there will be 3,123 homes, 1,086 of them affordable.
Brent Civic Centre also hosted the BBC's flagship political debate, Question Time, earlier in the month and I'm pleased that that local people got a chance to raise their questions directly with the Question Time panel and Wembley is now firmly on the political, as well as sporting, map. We are also organising a Brent Question Time event, where you can put questions to me and a panel of councillors, for Democracy Week next month.
To complement this flurry of activity in the Wembley area, a new food market has opened every Wednesday so do come along and sample some of the delights for yourself.
As we enter October, I must remind all the smokers out there of the extra support they will receive if they want to quit this month, with the annual national Stoptober campaign. If you stop for 28 days, you’re 5 times more likely to stop for good. October is also the month that new legislation comes into effect regarding smoking in cars. Motorists in England and Wales will be breaking the law if they smoke in a vehicle carrying a person under 18. Drivers who flout this law will receive a fixed penalty fine of £50. I’m pleased to see this new legislation come into force to protect our children from passive smoking in a very confined space.