Agenda item

Proposed Harrow Town Centre Masterplan Supplementary Planning Document (SPD) - Scoping


The Panel received a report and presentation on a proposed Master Plan for Harrow Town Centre.  It was proposed for adoption as a Supplementary Planning Document (SPD) in order that it would be a material consideration in determining planning applications.


The presentation included the significant changes to Harrow Town Centre in recent years, the changes to the local economy and the importance of maintaining the Metropolitan Town Centre status.  It was noted that the SPD would provide specific clarification on the types of businesses, uses, and activities that would be encouraged within the defined boundary.  The current proposal was to use the town centre boundary as it would be within an existing framework but this would be confirmed as preparation of the SPD progressed.


The Panel was informed that it would provide the potential to create positive proactive change through redevelopment, for example TfL redevelopment of the underground station and bus station.  It would make Harrow’s vision clearer and show potential developers and people who want to invest and open businesses the increasing vitality of the town centre.


Members were invited to provide comments and discuss the proposed Master Plan.


A Member asked why it was important to retain Metropolitan Centre status, what the SPD would try to prevent, and for successful examples in other London Boroughs.  The Panel noted that it brought status and prestige, investment and new business, and enabled it to compete with other town centres for investment by the Mayor of London.  The Chief Planning Officer reported on his experience of successful implementation of such SPDs.  It was not a site allocation process but could identify what was appropriate for each site.  Furthermore, as a SPD alone it would not prevent wholly inappropriate development but would supplement existing policies for this.


A further Member stated that he had attended a meeting of the Harrow BID which was looking at the next five years. He sought further detail on the TfL development proposals.  The officer reported that initial contact by TfL indicated high priority for the redevelopment of the underground station and bus station as the latter was at capacity.  The SPD would give Harrow Council more of a proactive voice in the proposals.


A Member observed that town centre footfall was good but was concerned that it was not seen as an evening destination. Furthermore, there were not clear logical through routes.


In response to questions, the Panel noted that:


·                 the evidence for the change in the way high streets were used was provided by the Office for National Statistics and was contained in paragraph 4.3 of the report;


·                 the SPD would promote the vision, define its purpose and its relationship to other centres and regeneration areas in the Borough. It would identify the key spaces and preferred uses;


·                 it was not a new policy but provided more up to date information and would carry statutory weight as a SPD. It would not conflict but augment  other policies.




(1)            the content of the report and accompanying presentation be noted;


(2)            the preparation of the draft Harrow Town Centre Master Plan Supplementary Planning Document be progressed.

Supporting documents: