Town Hall blamed for £63k 'unnecessary' signs

The town hall are proposing to rise council tax 4.99 per cent

Brent Civic Centre - where one will be welcomed more times then is necessary, Lib Dems have said. - Credit: Archant

A North London council has come under fire for paying thousands of pounds for a number of “unnecessary” signs outside its town hall.

Brent Council was criticised for showing the same message of “Welcome to Brent Civic Centre” across four similar signs outside its entrance recently.

The signs were installed at a cost of £63,000 and Liberal Democrat councillor Paul Lorber, who was re-elected in last week’s local elections, said this money could have been put to better use. Brent Council has said the signs have been used for a range of uses, including promoting key council initiatives.

Cllr Lorber said: “I’m all for having useful information in the civic centre – but it seems unnecessary to have the same thing printed on four signs next to each other. It’s about priorities. I’m not sure you need to be told ‘welcome to the civic centre’ when there’s a big sign outside and I’m sure this isn’t what residents want their money spent on.

“They say ‘fix my roads, keep the streets clean’. Think about what you would spend it on if you were responsible for the budget. You could have had one sign and saved around £45,000. I can think of examples in [my ward] Sudbury where this could be used to help fix the streets.”

Cllr Lorber added the use of multiple electrical signs throughout the day seemed at odds with the council’s ambitions to become more environmentally friendly.

He said it was important for the council to consider every aspect of its approach considering it declared a climate emergency in 2019 and hopes to be carbon neutral by 2030.

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A Brent Council spokesperson said: “The digital screens are a long-term investment to help keep residents informed and engaged. We can replace information on the screens quickly and easily, thereby keeping people up to date and passing on information in the building to all visitors and users.

“The screens have been used to promote vital information, including the campaign to end violence against women. We will continue to make sure that we use all forms of communication and engagement to reach as many people as possible.”