Labour refer £50m council office move to Full Council

Barnet's Labour councillors have referred proposals to move the Council's offices and 2,500 staff to Grahame Park, Colindale up to the next Full Council meeting on 26 July, citing mass opposition from local residents worried about parking and traffic chaos. The full business case for the office move, including the £50m cost and the 'locality strategy', was debated at the Assets, Regeneration and Growth Committee  on Monday night (11th of July). 

Colindale councillor, Gill Sargeant, spoke to the committee opposing the move. She said, "Not enough parking spaces have been identified in the area for 2500 staff to move there, and a green travel plan and cycling strategy is also not in place."  Cllr. Nagus Narenthira, also a Colindale councillor and a member of the committee, asked whether staff had been consulted about the move and was told they were sent online videos and other briefings to explain the move. 

Other Labour members of the committee expressed the view that there was too little detail about staff engagement and disabled access included in the locality strategy, and there was a complete lack of sufficient transport links which would put extreme pressure on already limited parking spaces. They further highlighted that using freed up commercial space in the library for residents' meetings with council officers would be controversial.

Cllr. Narenthira said: "The council's staff engagement is woefully inadequate. A good employer consults its staff and involves them in big decisions that affect them. Once again we have this faux Barnet-style consultation where a decision is already made and people's views are sought post-hoc and then ignored while the Conservative administration plough ahead regardless. Local people are sick of everything being dumped in Colindale without the proper infrastructure to make it work, and they are still angry after a decision to reject this proposal at Planning Committee was then reversed. This must be discussed by all councillors, and so we have referred it up to Full Council."
 
Ends.

Notes:

1. For a copy of the council offices business case and locality strategy see: http://barnet.moderngov.co.uk/ieListDocuments.aspx?CId=696&MId=8881&Ver=4

2. For details of the Planning Committee decision see: http://www.barnetlabour.org.uk/planning_approval_for_new_council_offices_obtained_amid_constitutional_chaos

For more information contact Cllr Nagus Narenthira: cllr.n.narenthira@barnet.gov.uk

To contact the Barnet Labour Group: 020 8359 2568

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