Labour’s Hollow Words on Regeneration

Dear Editor,

Labour’s Cllr. Keith Ferry (8 October) sings the virtue of cross-party working on regeneration, but he doesn’t practise what he preaches. In the space of a fortnight, Labour made public their plans to build a new Civic Centre in Wealdstone, passed them at Cabinet, and rammed them through full Council. The Conservative Group was specifically told we were not to be briefed on or included in any discussions about the plans until this had happened – thereby removing our ability to comment on them or suggest changes.

So for Cllr. Ferry to ask for our input after Labour have made the most important decisions of all – of where the new Civic Centre will be and how it will be paid for – is both redundant and disingenuous. It’s akin to Labour taking out a mortgage and buying house for everyone in secret, and then asking us where we’d like to live.

We have major concerns about Labour’s plans; there are very real risks involved in purchasing the land required, and carving up the only major car park in Wealdstone seems contrary to supporting local businesses. Cllr. Ferry calls our comments ‘sniping’, but in fact we’re raising legitimate and practical concerns we would have raised far earlier in the process – had Labour not kept everything to themselves.

Cross-party working doesn’t mean one party makes all the decisions and the other one has to stomach them and keep quiet; it means collaboration, at all stages of the decision-making process. I suspect that’s what residents would like to see, but sadly Labour have gone out of their way to prevent the Conservatives from being involved in the process at its most pivotal stage.

Yours,

Cllr. Stephen Greek
Conservative Planning Spokesman
Harrow Council