Jun 30 2011 Harrow Observer
THE TV news crews flocked to North Harrow to report the story that a fake florists had 'opened' in the borough's most run-down shopping centre where more than 23 per cent of shops are empty.
The eye-catching makeover given to a former dog grooming parlour carries the optimistic message - this retail space could be yours.
But according to Councillor Keith Ferry, portfolio holder for planning and economic development: "The council is doing everything it can to help local shopping centres and businesses".
This is an admirable statement, but what the people want is action, so Harrow Council should put the pressure on Genesis Homes to follow the lead taken with the mock-up shop and demand that they start marketing the empty space underneath the flats to find something suitably retail that will breathe the life back into North Harrow.
I do know that there is an interested party that would like to open negotiations with Genesis Homes with the aim of exploring the possibility of creating the much-sought-after retail use that this site has been designated for.
But they are not even being allowed to view the space below the flats to determine suitability.
In fact, Genesis Homes don't even have the courtesy to acknowledge letters, emails or phone calls and instead are hiding behind the excuse that no commercial negotiations can be entered in to because of an 'ongoing legal dispute'.
Quite frankly, I no longer believe them and neither do the people of North Harrow.
When the planning permission was granted, a supermarket was promised.
It is time for Genesis Homes to come clean with their 'hidden agenda' and tell us all what they intend to do with the vacant space.
They may have no legal obligation to do anything at all and decide to continue to hide behind their wall of silence, but if they have a shred of morality within their organisation they will answer this letter and let us in on their plans to reinvigorate the town centre - that's of course if they even have any plans!
COUNCILLOR JAMES BOND Independent councillor for Headstone North ward at Harrow