Monday 12 November 2012

A 'Green' white elephant is still a white elephant

Tours to show off the New Civic Centre's green credentials ere held on Saturday

Cllr Powney accuses Brent Greens of being against any new building. Strangely something that Gareth Daniel accused me of last year when I had criticised the Civic Centre project. Nonsense of course.

When I was a headteacher we had a wonderful new green children's nursery built at Park Lane Primary with a green roof, underfloor heating etc LINK and it replaced a wooden hut that was falling down. The nursery was necessary  as the then Labour Council eventually agreed after a campaign by parents, governors, teachers and children. In contrast Brent council tax payers were never consulted about a new civic centre.

Park Lane nursery, recently demolished to make way for school expansion

From the inside
 The issue with the Civic Centre as far as I am concerned is whether a building of such grandiose design, on a prime site (that nonetheless will make it inaccessible on event days and evenings),  is necessary, or desirable, in an era of austerity and a shrinking council labour force. How 'green' it may be is not the main issue but all the same the carbon cost of mining materials and transporting them should be part of the balance sheet and the alternative of refurbishing an existing building (say Unisys House) should have been considered.

It is with us now and we will see if it is still a great idea in 25 year's time when it will have repaid the £102,000,000 spent on it. I'll have to stay alive that long just to have the pleasure of telling Cllr Powney 'I told you so!'.

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