Councillor Jim Moher’s letter sent to the Observer – RE: New Civic Centre
Jim is a Brent Councillor representing the Labour Party in the Fryent ward.
I’m glad the Observer is giving some coverage to the Council’s proposal for a New Civic
Centre, though it is a pity the controversy should have arisen between the politicians at the
Kingsbury & Kenton Area Forum. These forums are for residents to have their say and Cllr
Mistry should not be using her position to engage in such party politics.
Whatever the rights and wrongs of her row with Mr Ali of the Green Party, he surely
has a point that the Council should be consulting residents about such a major proposal,
estimated to cost £80m. Why doesn’t she use her influence to persuade Cllr Blackman
to consult? It is significant that it is the Civic Centre programme director, not her Leader,
who is responsible for all corporate finances, who has entered the fray to assure us that
it will cost less. That is something we could assess better if there were proper consultation.
When the new Civic Centre was proposed some years ago, it seemed that the case
seemed strong to replace the many Council offices around the borough with one ‘all singing
and dancing’ community and civic centre, especially as the Council got the offer of a prime
site in the new Wembley arena and we were assured that it would be ‘cost-neutral’.
But a lot has changed since those balmy days of sound finances and generous
government grants. Now we are facing the prospect of at least £53m in service ‘efficiencies’
over the next four years. Can we afford such a grandiose Civic Centre at this time? That is a
question we must now all be asking ourselves and so a proper consultation seems timely.
Cllr Jim Moher
(Fryent ward), Labour.