I AM writing to set the record straight regarding the policy of the Labour Party in Harrow on the redevelopment of Harrow town centre.

The previous Labour administration recognised that the availability of the old Post Office site in College Road, the plans for the relocation of Harrow College on one central site and the need for building a new library to replace the one in Gayton Road provided real opportunities to improve central Harrow. In particular, our aspirations, which were detailed in the original proposals in 2005, were to provide better arts and leisure facilities, including a performance and exhibition space, create an integrated and fully accessible public transport hub and a new bus station, as well as affordable housing for families, rather than tower blocks of 1,500 flats.

There should be a clear balance between commercial and residential areas. New developments should complement what exists and the local community should be fully involved in the planning of Harrow in the 21st century.

The previous Labour administration worked with the other political parties on the town centre and other developments and sought the advice of local independent groups, including the Harrow Heritage Trust and the Nature Conservation Forum. We think that a holistic approach should have been taken with these developments to ensure that the town centre was considered in its entirety.

The way in which the current Tory administration has dealt with recent planning applications for the town centre has been frankly scandalous. They have looked at each planning application in turn and not considered the impact of each one on the other. There has been little consultation before decisions have been made and residents have had little opportunity to express their views at meetings.

Scant attention has been paid to the effect of developments on the infrastructure, and ensuring new facilities are in place to accommodate an increased population.

It is very regrettable that the Tory-led council has not thought through the consequences of its current actions and has pressed ahead with these developments.


MP for Harrow East