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Harrow counts cost of stalled college

The failure of the Learning and Skills Council to cough up cash for a £140 million college refurbishment in Harrow, north London, has scuppered at least £150m worth of additional redevelopment.

Harrow College was one of 71 colleges given approval in principal for building work earlier this year but was not one of the 13 eventually green-lit once the LSC realised it had run out of money.

The local council had been set to purchase land due to be vacated by Harrow College and turn it into a new civic centre, health centre and police call centre.

But, because the college does not have the funds to move, the project has had to be abandoned – meaning contractors have not only lost a chance to build the new £140m college, but also millions of pounds worth of work to redevelop the vacated site.

British Urban Regeneration Association chief Michael Ward said the near-doubling of the loss to contractors at Harrow would be just the beginning of the fallout from the LSC debacle.

He said: “This was supposed to form part of what the Government was bringing forward as a fiscal stimulus and yet it has made it even worse.

”In a letter to Kevin Brennan, the Minister for Further Education, Skills, Apprenticeships and Consumer Affairs, Harrow Borough Council Conservative leader David Ashton said the fiasco had already cost £10.6m in preliminary work, and was going to cost much more in regeneration.

He said: “The new college, promised as part of supposedly committed government funding, was a critical centrepiece and enabler to us building a new civic centre in Harrow town centre. Plans that were being jointly developed by the council along with the primary care trust and police to build a new civic centre on the existing college site can now no  longer go ahead.

”Council officials had not yet decided how the civic centre development was going to be procured, but were forming a new framework for borough work, which was one of the likely methods.

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