Labour have reacted angrily to Westminster Council’s announcement that they are shelving already long delayed plans for public engagement around the Harrow Road Area Planning Framework until 2019, after completion of the new City Plan for all of Westminster.
After several years of running a local ‘Town Team’ for part of the area the Council finally committed to a process of looking at how best to support the area around Harrow Road, particularly around Maida Hill Market and Woodfield Road. After months of discussion with local organisations the start of a wider public consultation was launched at a public meeting in April. While Labour had some concerns about the process it believed it was important that the Council finally focused on supporting Harrow Road and that it should start to engage the whole community over what they wanted to see in the area.
With this significant delay to the strategic for the area plan, a number of private developers, particularly in the Woodfield Road area, may well try to push ahead with their individual building plans with no coordination and without the rigorous focus on delivering the new social and genuinely affordable housing the area needs. A successful future for the shops, restaurants and businesses on Harrow Road also requires a proper focus and investment from the Council in consultation with local residents and this important work will be further delayed.
Labour Group Leader and Westbourne Councillor said: “Westminster’s City Plan revision doesn’t seem to have stopped the Council announcing plans for other parts of our city and local residents around Harrow Road have been waiting for action for years. With developers pushing ahead with their plans there is a real risk that the Council is delaying discussing how to shut the stable door until long after the horse has bolted. Westminster needs to continue to consult residents over their plans for the future of Harrow Road and ensure that its strategy is ready to be delivered soon after the new City Plan is implemented rather than postponing the start of the process until 2019.”