2,000 homes for Harrow – civic site central to council commitment

Harrow Council has approved plans to move from its Civic Centre site, releasing the land for creation of a new community of 1,000 high-quality homes.

  • Harrow Council to leave Civic Centre site after 50 years
  • Poets’ Corner promises new community of 1,000 high-quality homes 

Known as the Poets’ Corner development, the Civic estate is one of five council-owned urban sites at the heart of Harrow’s long-term regeneration vision. Collectively they represent one of the most ambitious council-led development projects in London.

To unlock their potential, the council will work with Wates Residential – the council’s strategic development partner and a hugely experienced national home builder.

The partnership is set to take these underused brownfield sites and transform them into vibrant new communities. Their redevelopment will also release a wealth of job and business opportunities and act as a major catalyst for investment in Harrow’s future.

Leader of Harrow Council, Cllr Graham Henson, said, “2022 is going to be a very significant year for Harrow and the start of a journey that will truly change lives.

“We will deliver a future in which more local people have the housing they deserve. Too many are currently trapped in overcrowded or unsuitable accommodation. I want everyone in Harrow to be ambitious for their future – that starts with quality, affordable housing.

“We’ve committed to build 2,000 new homes for local people. The first families will move in later this year, with 89 new affordable council homes due for completion on the Grange Farm estate this autumn.

“As we start to bring forward detailed plans for other sites, I want to actively engage the people of Harrow. Their views must be central as we shape our borough’s bright future together.”

A much smaller, energy-efficient headquarters for council office staff is currently under construction at the council depot and recycling centre site at Forward Drive. It is expected to open in the spring, with the current Civic Centre site fully vacated by the autumn. 

In-person customer enquiries for the majority of services will temporarily move to Greenhill Library once the Civic Centre has been decommissioned.

A much smaller civic centre building is planned for one of Harrow’s other key redevelopment sites, off Wealdstone High Street. When open it will serve as both a customer centre and, incorporating a formal meeting space for councillors, a new home for local democracy and decision-making. 

Leaving the old Civic Centre, the council’s home for 50 years, will significantly reduce operational overheads and facilitate more efficient working practices, including more office staff working out in the community.

Harrow’s five core regeneration sites are Poets’ Corner; Peel Road in Wealdstone; Grange Farm; Milton Road and Byron Quarter, the first phase of which will redevelop an old driving test centre adjacent to Byron Rec.

Planning permission for the Milton Road development, adjacent to the current Civic Centre site, will be considered in February. 39 new council-owned affordable flats and family houses are planned for the site, with key workers given preferential access to 27 shared ownership properties.

Harrow built its first new council homes in a generation in 2017. In the years since, it has completed more than 100 affordable homes on small sites across the borough.

Wates Residential, part of leading privately-owned construction, property services and development company, the Wates Group, was confirmed as the council’s development partner in July 2021.

Harrow Council’s Cabinet approved the recommendations arising from Accommodation Strategy update report at its meeting on Monday night. This decision is open to call-in for five working days after being taken.

Published: 25th January 2022