Regeneration challenges

Regeneration logoHarrow stands on the brink of its biggest regeneration opportunity in decades and needs wider support to deliver the programme in a borough that has diverse population and different but equally important social, cultural and religious aspirations.
The following regeneration picture emerges from the information sent to us by the council:
Several short and long term projects, including the Station Road Quarter for the borough over the next 5-7 years, containing a variety of new homes, a new primary school and spaces for small and medium enterprises – also a new public realm and landscape, leading to a new civic square opposite Harrow Mosque, a new street to Harrow and Wealdstone Station and improved approach to the Station Road flyover to Wealdstone.
The transformation in Wealdstone is on its way with securing £1.5m from the Mayor’s London Regeneration Fund to support the creation of new jobs, work spaces for businesses and fund a new public square – relocation of the civic centre to Wealdstone and possibly acquiring the Premier Banqueting hall, could help to develop the area further with better business opportunities as well as increased health care and leisure facilities.
The 3Fox International is hired to publicise the programme through BIG Harrow Campaign, the BIG Magazine and a regeneration specific website.

Challenges
The regeneration programme is taking place at the time when austerity measures are biting and the council budget is contracting.
Obstructive opposition at the council – no expressed commitment to the projects now or in future if they ever gained council administration.
How best to engage with the communities or inform them about the opportunities that the regeneration programme offers – 3Fox International might access the investors and developers well through its conventional mode of communication (hard to recognise Harrow through the 3Fox printed or digital material) but not sure about them accessing Harrow’s diverse population as they appear to have no obvious track record of penetrating the communities in areas like Harrow and seem to have only one BME member in their team.
The in house ‘harrow residents panel’ is too limited to have an on-going dialogue with the community about the borough’s regeneration programme given the huge diversity that Harrow Ambition 2020 plan asserts.
One of the council’s corporate objectives is, ‘making a difference for communities – for example by promoting social engagement and a sense of community respect, belonging and identity’ – not sure how this informs the regeneration programme – no evidence of mapping the priority across the programme.