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Sunday, 26 August 2012

Brent Council Civic Centre Yet Again

Those who want to check on the ongoing progress of Brent Council's civic centre can do so here.  Martin Francis also has some photos here.

As usual he also has a string of criticisms and misleading statements about the building.  I have previously explained the various advantages of the Civic Centre.  As usual, Martin shows little interest in the environmental advantages of what will be one of the few BREEAM outstanding buildings in Europe.  Perhaps, I should leave detailed descriptions of those for other postings.

Instead, he concentrates on suggesting that the Civic Centre is extravagant by referring to the net outgoings without mentioning the savings.  The savings amount to between three and four million pounds a year.  In other words, had we chosen to go down the preferred Green Party route, we would have had to find additional annual savings equivalent to roughly double Brent Council's entire parks budget every year.  I doubt whether Martin would relish find alternative service cuts to make up those kinds of numbers.

The savings come from the sale of two major capital assets that Brent owns _ the old Town Hall and Brent House, as well as no longer having to pay rent, utilities and delapidations on various buildings (like, say, Chesterfield House) that the Council leases.

As well as the financial and environmental benefits, the Civic Centre is also driving changes in working practices across the Council, and provides a major contribution to the regeneration of Wembley.  I am sure Martin knows all this; he just likes to repeat his attack lines without regard to how often they are shot down.

Watching these arguments constantly shuffling forward is a bit like watching zombies in a George Romero film.


Martin's comment below seems to indicate he does not comprehend what is meant by a net saving.  The £3 to £4 million saving is the annual saving after the cost of the new centre is deducted from the savings made by moving out of all the then redundent office buildings i.e. it is a net saving.  This is such a common concept that I find it difficult to see how he could not be familiar with it.


Anonymous said...

We can all see for ourselves on 9-10 November, when there is an open weekend:

Martin Francis said...

Cost of Civic Centre £100m. 'Savings' £100m at £4m a year over 25 years. As blogged. How much is the borrowing of £100m costing?

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