From a £0 cost to taxpayers to £1.3 million extra being spent in Wealdstone, the Harrow Times takes a look at the numbers behind the plans for the redevelopment of the civic centre.

Last week Harrow council announced that the current civic centre, off Station Road, Harrow, will be bulldozed to make way for a new redevelopment.

Ahead of this Thursday’s council meeting to approve the plans, the Harrow Times spoke to Council Leader Councillor David Perry about the top key facts about the redevelopment.

Old Civic Centre site size: Nearly six football pitches
Harrow council is currently undergoing a number of changes in a bid to streamline services and improve efficiency.

The changes saw Chief Executive Michael Lockwood reduce the corporate directors from five to three, and directors or head of services from nineteen to fifteen – meaning less staff filling the space in council offices.

Mr Lockwood said: “45 years ago, Harrow Council built this Civic Centre because local government was growing and workers needed a building to match.

“Today, 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.”

Planned new site size: Around 10,000 square metres, or just over one football pitch.
The proposed new Civic Centre would be built on the site of the Peel House car park in Wealdstone.

At less than 10,000 square metres, the site is just a fifth of the size of the current Civic Centre.

Plans for the current Civic Centre site include home, shops and cafes and a new two-form primary school.

The proposals for the three sites include the creation of more than 300 jobs and 1,100 homes, including hundreds of affordable homes – amounting to 40 per cent of those being built.

Cllr Perry said: ““We're building a better Harrow together, 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.“

The redevelopment cost to taxpayers: £0
According to the council, all plans will be self-funding and cost taxpayers nothing.

Cllr Perry said: “We are absolutely determined that there will be zero cost for all this to the Council Tax payers 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.”

Extra spend for Wealdstone: £1.3 million per year
The council analysed what would happen with shopping footfall and spending in the event of a relocation.

One of the factors favouring the Peel House car park option was that the study showed employees, centre users and visitors would spend an estimated £1.3 million per year in Wealdstone under that option.

Cllr Perry said: “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 services.”

More than £8.8 million of funds from the London Mayor have already been secured.
The new plans stand to win the council a grant of £8.8 million straight away from the Greater London Authority’s regeneration pot.

The first homes could be moved into in just four years’ time.
2015: Financial modelling, feasibility studies, procurement
2016: Sign up architects and builders, design work, public engagement
2017: Planning applications, break ground on new Civic Centre and in Station Road
2018: Building works
2019: First homes and council offices ready to be moved into

Several other options were considered ahead of the redevelopment plans, but these were deemed financial unviable.
Other options that were looked into included refurbishing the current Civic Centre, splitting up the council and renting offices around Harrow or buying a new ready-made office.

Ultimately all were rejected on cost or efficiency grounds