It won’t have escaped many people’s attention that the council is planning to up sticks and move 200 yards down the road to Wealdstone, because the Civic Centre is too big, too energy-inefficient, needs repairs, and well, Lockwood probably fancies a change of wallpaper in his office.
The plan, of course, was to buy Premier House (thus shutting down the rather excellent banqueting hall there) and flattening the (only) multi-story car park in Wealdstone – Peel House – to build on. The two buildings would then be joined up, and you’d have a Civic Centre fit for a 21st Century council (if only we had one to go in it).
However, it seems the wheels have fallen off this arrangement: Premier House has been sold, apparently, to another buyer – not the council – and the new owner seems to have Lockwood over a barrel on the (now much bigger) sum of money he wants for it.
If that really is the case, all the work done so far on drawing up plans could well be wasted, and end up as yet more money down the drain, as clearly, they’d have to be redone once another patch of land is found for building on.
The council’s promises (which were expected by many to be worthless anyway) that the move (ie: flatten the car park, build a new Civic Centre, flog off the old building and land) wouldn’t cost a penny can, of course, still be true. Astute followers of the council’s PR output will have noted there was absolutely no time-limit on that little promise. So if the whole move takes 150 years to pay off, before there’s no net cost to residents, you’d have to agree that the council hadn’t exactly told you any porkies.
We’ve got a request in with the Council’s PR team for a comment, alas, they’ve either knocked off early for the weekend, or they’re ignoring iharrow.