The leader of Harrow Conservatives called on the council to re-think its regeneration strategy once the impact of the coronavirus pandemic has eased.

Cllr Paul Osborn addressed Harrow Council’s cabinet last night (May 21) and suggested the new, post-pandemic landscape the borough will affect major decisions in terms of how to progress.

He said the council has an opportunity to re-assess its wider regeneration plans – which include a new civic centre in Wealdstone – in the face of the crisis.

It comes after its cabinet approved plans to restart the process of searching for a strategic partner to support the regeneration programme – something Cllr Osborn views as an error.

He said: “The world has changed, the way the council works has changed.

“We really have to take a step back and look at whether or not the scheme we currently have people bidding for is the right scheme.

“I do think that trying to rush things through to a July cabinet (meeting) is a mistake.”

The council’s regeneration policy has been a key area of concern for the borough’s Conservative Group over the past few years.

Last year, Cllr Osborn said recent administrations have been “in chaos” over its regeneration plans and accused it of “wasting residents’ money through mismanagement”.

But Labour councillors defended their approach and said it is important to “get building” to support Harrow’s economy, particularly in the light of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Cllr Adam Swersky, responsible for finance at Harrow Council, questioned how Cllr Osborn could call for an “unspecified delay” to regeneration in the borough.

He said: “This is a public health crisis. But it’s an economic crisis too.

“This Labour Council will invest in the long-term future of Harrow – in our economy, in local jobs, and in providing good-quality, affordable housing. We are all in this together.”