BUYERS will be able to snap up at auction a collection of publicly-owned buildings including a library, former caretakers’ homes and an ex-Safer Neighbourhood Team base.
Harrow Council’s Conservative administration approved the sale of 12 premises at the cabinet committee meeting on Thursday, among them Rayners Lane Library in Imperial Drive, South Harrow, the closed Bentley Day Care Centre in Uxbridge Road, Harrow Weald, former mental health resource centre in Marlborough Hill, Harrow, and long-shut public toilet blocks in Greenhill Way, Harrow, and Whitchurch Lane, Edgware.
One 82-year-old reader, who did not wish to be identified, said afterwards: “It’s so short-sighted. They’re just trying to get ready cash.
“I’m a bit of a cynic about the council - it doesn’t matter which party is in power - selling off the family silver. It can never be replaced.
“They are going to find in a few years there will be more people wanting to go to these special centres.”
Councillor David Perry, the opposition Labour leader, told the meeting the authority could make more money by investing to bring the houses and flats up to scratch and then selling them on the open market.
He said: “With a little bit of creative thinking we could maximise the valuations here. We need not to brush it off because it’s not our core business.”
But Councillor Steven Wright (Conservative), property and major contracts portfolio holder, said: “We simply haven’t got the funding to constantly bring them up to Decent Homes standard.
“It would actually be contradictory to be putting resources into that when we could be using that money on other projects elsewhere.”
Mr Wright confirmed he had not met any community groups about the sell-offs, and none had registered an interest in any of the properties, although the first the public would have known of the intention to sell the 12 buildings was when the committee’s agenda was published a week ahead of the meeting.
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BUILDINGS TO BE SOLD OFF:
n 109 Locket Road, Harrow - ex-house for caretaker at Belmont School
n The Lodge, West Harrow Cemetery, Clamp Hill, Stanmore - ex-parks caretaker house
n 51 The Gardens, West Harrow - ex-house for caretaker at Vaughan Primary School
n Public lavatories, Whitchurch Lane, Edgware - closed public toilets suitable for residential redevelopment
n 76 Marlborough Hill, Harrow - former mental health resource centre closed in June
n Bentley Day Care Centre, Uxbridge Road, Harrow Weald - day care centre that is to close
n Wood Farm Cottage, Wood Lane, Stanmore - let to developer of Wood Farm and will be sold in December
n Rayners Lane Library, Imperial Way, South Harrow - four-storey library branch lacking disabled access
n 231a Station Road, Harrow - fire-damaged maisonette above shop parade
n Site off Elm Park, to the rear of 52 to 58 Church Road, Stanmore - vacant backland plot last used in 1997 as a temporary car park
n Former parkkeeper’s house, Donnefield Avenue, Stanmore - house will be used as base by Canons Park Safer Neighbourhood Team until November
n Public lavatories, Greenhill Way, Harrow - shut former public toilet block suitable for residential redevelopment