Harrow Council has launched the borough’s biggest-ever regeneration plans, with multi-million pound proposals to transform Harrow’s town centres.
Plans are in place to transform the present Civic Centre site into a new community with homes, schools, new public spaces, business opportunities and community facilities.
The council car park, in Greenhill Way, will also be transformed as a part of the Heart of Harrow developments.
The council’s plans will reportedly be self-funding and won't be of extra cost to the taxpayer.
Council leader David Perry said: “We're building a better Harrow together, for today, and for future generations.
“We are creating the places and the opportunities that our communities deserve: a thriving, modern and vibrant borough that makes Harrow a home to be proud of.
“To achieve that, Harrow Council is leading by example. We have land in the very 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“That is why we are putting forward robust proposals to leave our costly and outdated Civic Centre and build a much smaller and more efficient office in the heart of Wealdstone.”
'Time to find a more appropriate home'
The proposed new Civic Centre would be built on the site of the Peel House car park, in Wealdstone.
At less than 10,000sq-m, the new site is a fifth of the size of the current Civic Centre.
The council believes it could break ground as soon as 2017 and potentially make the move across the railway tracks in 2019.
Council chief executive Michael Lockwood said: “45 years ago, Harrow Council built this Civic Centre because local government was growing and workers needed a building to match.
“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.”
The council considered a wide variety of regeneration options, including renting or buying existing offices; or building homes and offices on other sites around the borough.
These plans were rejected on cost or efficiency grounds with the new plans standing to win the council £8.8m straight away from the GLA’s regeneration pot.
Cllr David Perry said: “The most important part is that the price of these plans is nothing at all.
“We are absolutely determined that there will be zero cost for all this to the council taxpayers of Harrow. Every penny will be funded by the money we earn by developing our land, from national and regional grants that we win, from inward investment and external funding.
“In fact, our plans show that our regeneration programme will return a surplus to the taxpayers of Harrow, running into millions of pounds. For years to come, these developments will deliver large annual returns that we will invest into vital local services.”
The proposals for the three sites include the creation of more than 300 jobs and 1,100 homes – including hundreds of affordable homes.
They form part of the council’s 'Building a Better Harrow' regeneration strategy, which over the coming years aims to deliver a total of 3,000 jobs, 5,500 new homes and £1.75bn of investment to the borough.