Olympic Steps see fans take new route to Wembley

Quintain, the development and asset management team behind Wembley Park, has today (Thursday) unveiled the latest addition to the 85-acre site – the Olympic Steps.

Part of the urban regeneration project concerning the land surrounding Wembley Stadium, the Olympic Steps replace the pedway, which was built in 1974 to ease pedestrian access to the old stadium over a coach park that no longer exists.

The Olympic Steps, which comprise 48 individual granite steps, are named after the 1948 summer Olympic Games, held at the Empire Stadium in Wembley Park, and provide a new entrance to the national stadium.

With a width of 40m, Quintain said the Olympic Steps have acted to liberate over 12,150 square metres of new public space at ground level – an area bigger than the SSE Arena, Wembley or the football pitch inside the stadium itself.

In addition to the steps, Quintain has also built four new high-capacity lifts to enable disabled access into Wembley Stadium and has upgraded the entire Olympic Way, known to football fans as ‘Wembley Way’, in time for the venues staging of games at the postponed UEFA Euro 2020 this summer.

Adjacent to the stadium, Wembley Park has over the last decade been transformed by Quintain from an event-day destination into a 365-day creative residential neighbourhood for London. The multi-billion pound, mixed-use transformation will see 20,000 residents live in Wembley Park by 2027 in 8,500 new homes, as well as 46,000 square metres of retail and leisure space.

James Saunders, chief executive of Quintain, said: “A fitting entrance to the National Stadium, the Olympic Steps mark a new chapter in the evolution of Wembley Park, replacing the old pedway – a concrete pedestrian ramp built in the 1970s to span a coach park that no longer exists.

“This elegant new public space celebrates Wembley Park’s history, embraces its future and will be a welcome new space for the residents of Wembley Park and the millions more who will visit the neighbourhood to work, shop and play.

“As we look to a post-pandemic future, it’s more important than ever that developers like Quintain give space back to the people who call our neighbourhoods home. The Olympic Steps, as well as the wider transformation of Wembley Park, is doing just that.”

Delivering on a long-term strategy and working in collaboration with Brent Council, which has co-funded the project to the tune of £17.8m (€20.5m/$24.5m), the Olympic Steps complete Quintain’s major transformation of Olympic Way, which has included repaving, a 50% widening, programmable lighting, ceremonial banners, a curated retail offering, and a tree planting strategy.

Liam Boylan, stadium director of Wembley Stadium, said: “The Olympic Steps and surrounding public space provide a distinctive and inviting approach to Wembley Stadium, while four new lift shafts ensure that our venue remains fully accessible.

“These plans are more than a decade in the making, and we’re so pleased with the outcome. We’re looking forward to being able to welcome fans back to Wembley Park to experience and enjoy the Olympic Steps themselves in the near future.”

It was revealed last week that Wembley Stadium has been granted permission to host an additional nine non-sporting events, such as concerts, at full capacity each year. The stadium will be allowed to put on 46 events over the course of a year after Brent Council’s planning committee unanimously approved the proposals.

The move means the number of non-sporting events will rise to a maximum of 24 annually, alongside 22 sports fixtures. However, the 22 matches exclude UEFA European Championship or FIFA World Cup football matches where England or the UK is a host nation.

The council also gave permission for Wembley Stadium to host an additional three sporting events each year if they replace two non-sporting ones.

Image: Quintain