|Have Your Say On Hounslow Council's New HQ Plan|
Proposal to replace Civic Centre is open for public comment
Hounslow Council has opened a consultation on its plans for a new £60 million headquarters to replace the Civic Centre in Lampton Road with a purpose-built one in Hounslow town centre.
Last October the Council announced that it proposed to sell the land on which the existing centre is built for housing The proceeds of that sale are intended to partly finance a new building, with borrowing being used to fund the balance.
The Council is now consulting the public on two Planning Briefs relating to the project and the matter is open for comments from 5 January to 13 February 2015 Planning Briefs for the two sites are required to be subject to public consultation, prior to approval by Planning Committee. The closing time is 5pm on Friday 13 February 2015.
The Council say that there would be savings per annum of over a million pounds a year in running costs by moving to a new building. The current Civic Centre, which was built in the seventies, is less than half occupied.
The Civic Centre Site is allocated for residential development and Bath Road Car Park Site as civic use, offices and some residential potential- in the Local Plan (ref 36 and 46) -LBH says it has not received any opposition to it thus far.
The Greater London Authority (GLA) has also requested that Planning Briefs be prepared for both sites to support the Council's submitted Housing Zone bid, which could result in £15m grant funding.
Although not statutory planning documents, Planning Briefs are supposed to provide greater clarity on the required outcomes of a development site in order to secure planning permission.
According to the Council, the Lampton Road centre is too costly to maintain with annual running costs of around £2.3 million and is seen as an inefficient use of space - one recent survey found that just two-fifths of the building was being utilised. Outsourcing services has led to fewer employees at headquarters. The building requires a further £17 million of urgent maintenance works according to a detailed report.
While it is intended that the cost of any new Civic Centre will be funded in part from the sale of the Lampton Road site for housing development, it is unclear how much money would be raised from the sale of the existing site. Interest costs and the cost of repaying principal on borrowing will need to be funded from the Council’s revenue budget and be included in the costs of the project. Conservative cllrs have said the project needs to be "fully researched" before it goes ahead.
The Hounslow Civic Centre Site and Bath Road Car Park Site Planning Briefs are available to view on the council’s website at Hounslow Civic Centre and Bath Road site
To make a representation, please forward an email to email@example.com.
The Council report last year said a new building in the centre would provide a boost to the regeneration of Hounslow High Street through greater footfall of staff and residents and the Council would be able to combine the library and community resource centre with the new Civic Centre to create a "strong community space".
"It will bring to an end the isolation of the Civic HQ from the commercial centre of the Town," the report concluded.
January 7, 2015