Gibberd designs to receive a makeover

bookendFLATS and houses designed by Sir Frederick Gibberd as part of the 1970s modernisation of the High Street have undergone a £500,000 refurbishment.

The external refurbishment to the 14 homes* known as the “Bookend” flats and houses included the renewing of roof coverings, general external redecorations, replacing windows and doors and cladding and removing asbestos. The thermal insulation to the facades and lofts of all homes have also been enhanced and a shared TV reception system installed to minimise the visual impact of satellite dishes.

The works, undertaken by Noble and Taylor Building Contractors Limited between April and October 2013, were project managed by Kier Harlow Limited with specialist support from Barker Associates (Conservation Building Surveyors). See link to photos in note to editors.

The project funded by Harlow Council received £156,000 contributory funding from the ‘Old Harlow Partnership Scheme in a Conservation Area’ (PSiCA), an English Heritage led grant scheme supported by Harlow Council and Essex County Council.

Councillor Mark Wilkinson, Leader of Harlow Council, said: “I am delighted that these important buildings have been restored to their former glory. They are symbolic of a very important part of the history of Old Harlow, when old and new were combined to form the New Town.

Their restoration forms an important part of modern day regeneration proposals for Old Harlow and the town. OId Harlow is being renewed but we want its special past to also be part of its future. The restoration of the bookend flats and houses will also benefit Council tenants and residents by providing warmer homes.”

Sheila Stones representing English heritage said: “I am extremely pleased to see the completion of this Partnership Scheme in a Conservation Area which has involved us working closely with Harlow Council and Essex County Council. The scheme has noticeably helped to preserve the character of the Old Harlow Conservation Area by enhancing not only the historic George Hotel but also the modern Gibberd housing development that was considered a highly innovative design in 1971.”

The modernisation complements restoration works to the iconic George Hotel which is at the top of the High Street. The building, which has stood in Old Harlow, since the 1600s, underwent a £135,000 refurbishment last year, also funded as part of the PSiCA scheme. The restoration included exterior work to the roof, joinery and render, windows and doors and full redecoration. The works have enabled the building owners to successfully re-let the property to a local estate agent.

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