Council reveals Civic Centre plans
Wed 9 September 2015, 4:08 pm
Harrow Council has revealed it plans to move its headquarters to a smaller building and redevelop its current base into homes, schools, public and commercial space and community facilities.
Plans will be voted on next week to move the location of the Harrow Civic Centre to a site of less than 10,000sq m in Wealdstone – a fifth of the size of its current base.
The proposals could create more than 300 jobs and 1,100 homes, according to the local authority – which would be part of its “Building a Better Harrow” regeneration strategy. Over the coming years, the local authority aims to deliver 3,000 jobs, 5,500 new homes and £1.75 billion of investment to the borough.
The council believes it could start building work on the new Civic Centre in 2017 and potentially move its base in 2019.
Council leader, David Perry, said: “We have land in the heart of Harrow that simply is not pulling its weight. It’s not providing the maximum value to our residents. We have to make a change.
“That is why we are putting forward robust proposals to leave our costly and outdated Civic Centre to build a much smaller and more efficient office in the heart of Wealdstone.”
The council said it considered a wide variety of regeneration options, including renting or buying existing offices; or building homes and offices on other sites around the borough. Ultimately all were rejected on cost or efficiency grounds. The new plans stand to win the council £8.8 million straight away from the Greater London Authority’s regeneration pot.
Council chief executive, Michael Lockwood, said: “Today, with the cuts faced by every council, local government is changing all around the country. Harrow Council is becoming a smaller and more agile organisation that demonstrates value for money, adaptability and efficiency. It is time to do the same as our predecessors and find a more appropriate new home: a place for residents and our staff to be proud to come to – a building that is modern, allows for flexible working and meets the needs of a changing council.
"It is right that Wealdstone should be our destination – there is no place more fitting for us to see our future. Moving our office will inject millions into the Wealdstone economy, create new homes and jobs, and importantly boost local businesses and shops.”
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