Wembley plans sound death knell for venue

Wembley Conference and Exhibition Centre could be torn down within eight years, under initial proposals from Wembley London owner Quintain Estates and Developments.

The first stage in a public consultation by the developer has also revealed a proposed multimillion pound redevelopment of Wembley Arena. Plans are in place to transform the back of the venue into a frontage that opens out on to a piazza overlooking the new stadium. A five-star hotel, restaurants, shops and offices are included in the plans but there is no mention of exhibition and conference halls.

Wembley sales and marketing director Peter Tudor confirmed the buildings are to go. "The halls have a place in the industry but the buildings are of a certain age and this is a chance to upgrade them," he said.

Quintain property director Nick Shattock stressed final plans were some way off. "Once a new five-star hotel is up and running we will look at a range of formats," he said.

Tudor added: "There will always be conference and exhibition facilities at Wembley but the buildings will change, and that's at least six years away. Until then we will invest in the facilities."

Exhibition and conference activity at the site may be moved to the proposed hotel or inside Wembley Stadium should the plans remain unchallenged.

Shattock said: "There will be a wider conference and exhibition offer on the Wembley site and we will review that as time goes on."

A planning application will follow a second round of consultation in the autumn.

"It's important that people come back to us with their views," Shattock said.

Quintain bought Wembley complex last August for £48m (Event, September).

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