Ashton V Ferry!

Councillor Marilyn Ashton, a planning expert who has been kept away from the planning committee by her successive group leaders since her return to the council in 2011, grumbles that the Harrow Labour administration is not providing real opportunities for a cross-party work on regeneration programme.
Delivering action plan for the Heart of Harrow Opportunity Area is a £1.75Bn investment programme into Harrow and Wealdstone town centres which will deliver 5,500 new homes, two new schools, around 3,000 new jobs and a district heating network to service major sites.
Cllr Marilyn Ashton, deputy leader of Harrow opposition Tory group, said the planned meetings to further the cross-party work have not always taken place, seemingly because of the lack of commitment by Cllr Keith Ferry, responsible for planning and regeneration at the council.
The two councillors seem to have somewhat love and hate working relationships – when Cllr Ashton chaired the planning committee during the pre 2010 one-term Tory administration, Cllr Ferry was an opposition member on the committee and the public gallery observed that he frequently did not speak throughout a meeting in protest if not happy with some aspects of the chairmanship.
Regarding working together on an upcoming regeneration project, Cllr Ashton said, “We’re going into what is essentially a joint venture with the private sector and we would like to be involved in the decision-making”.
Cllr Ashton’s offer seems a departure from the opposition’s past confrontational approach, particularly under the previous leader of her group Cllr Hall.
The council works much better when the opposition works as a critical friend, assisting the administration whenever possible and suggesting healthy alternatives whenever necessary.
In responding to Cllr Ashton, Harrow council leader Cllr Graham Henson said “We genuinely would like to work cross-party and I’ve seen this take place on a number of council committees”.
Harrow seems to be doing well in carrying out its regeneration programme. For example, some developments around the Harrow Town Centre: