Suzy Stride joins U3A for Christmas Celebration

U3A is a self-help learning organisation for the active retired. U3A offers enhancing and life changing opportunities to those who are retired and semi-retired in Harlow. It gives the opportunity to come and learn together, not for qualifications but for its own reward: the sheer joy of discovery! Harlow U3A was formed in January 2008 and now has around 800 members all over 50 years old.

Halfon defends decision to vote against Foodbank motion

HARLOW MP Robert Halfon has gone on the record to defend his reason for voting against a Labour motion to investigate the reason for Foodbanks. Whilst much has been written on the 269 MPs who voted against the motion. Mr Halfon has echoed other Conservative MPs such as Romford MP, Andrew Rosindell and Thurrock MP Jackie Doyle-Price who have pointed to the wording of the motion and believed that it was less about Foodbanks and more about an opportunity to condemn government policies.

Harlow Council partial shut down set to save £150,000

SOME of Harlow Council’s services including the Civic Centre will shut down between Christmas and New Year to help save over £150,000. Arrangements are in place for residents to still access services and information online at www and the Council can be contacted in an genuine emergency by calling 01279 446666.

Kier group warn over bogus callers

KIER Harlow has strengthened its commitment to resident safety by issuing a reminder to check the ID cards of doorstep visitors. Exercising caution is always recommended, but when the days are shorter and nights darker, the threat is more apparent. Residents are warned bogus callers could use a range of excuses to enter their home, such as needing to make an urgent phone call or asking for a drink of water, but they should not, under any circumstances, be let in without ID.

Whatever happened to the Maunds Hatch money?

RESIDENTS from the Maunds Hatch area of the town asked Harlow Council on Thursday night: “Whatever happened to the Maunds Hatch money?” The money they refer to is the proceeds arising from the sale of land at Maunds Hatch which they believed was ring-fenced in order to provide the Staple Tye area with a new community centre

Interview with Princess Alexandra boss: In good health but much to do

ON MANY occasions, when you interview top bosses from the health service, you sometimes need to call a nurse as your head is spinning from the jargon. So it was refreshing to sit down and interview Princess Alexandra chief executive Melanie Walker. Mrs Walker is very much a nurse’s nurse. That phrase can often be over-used but the photo of the younger nurse in her office pays testimony that Mrs Walker has risen through the ranks and, if legend is true, still likes to walk the wards at the Harlow hospital.

High Noon for Harlow as sheriff comes to town

FOLLOWING a reception at the Civic Centre, the High Sheriff was taken to visit the DAISY Project at Princess Alexandra Hospital, where staff delivered a presentation on the service, she then went on to visit the Harlow Council Community Safety Team. She met with team members and also visited the kennels where the team’s working dogs are housed.

Two burglaries out of 49 solved in Harlow in October

LAST MONTH, we reported that 86% of all burglaries in Harlow (April ’12-March ’13) were not solved. We thought we would have a further look into the figures, so we have taken a month (October) and have discovered that only two out of the 49 burglaries that occurred in Harlow have (to date) been solved. […]

Harlow 20/20 set to be dissolved

THEY OFTEN SAY that journalism is the art of telling people who never knew that Lord Abernethy was alive, that Lord Abernethy is dead. And do it is with the Harlow 20/20 partnership. Google it and you could be forgiven for thinking it is the racecard at Harlow Greyhounds but in fact it is a strategic partnership group, designed to discuss and chart and facilitate the development and regeneration of Harlow in the 21st century.

In defence of Latton Green Primary: “Ofsted is sweeping across Harlow like a disease.”

Ofsted is sweeping across Harlow like a disease, putting our so called ‘failing’ schools into Special Measures, so that they are forced in to becoming Academies. Although I can only speak for myself, and my children’s progress, I would urge anyone who was considering enrolling their children at Latton Green not to just take the Ofsted report as a decision maker for your choice, as it is, and always has been, in my opinion, a good school, with great staff, who have the pupils needs and education at the top of their list of priorities, unlike Ofsteds box ticking exercise which seems to be on their agenda as soon as they see a ‘Harlow’ address attached to it.

Council welcome airport report

ESSEX County Council has welcomed the report by the Davies Commission today as a clear reflection of the views expressed in this year’s county council submission report called “Flights of Fancy”. Following the release of the Davies Commission Report today, Leader of Essex County Council Councillor David Finch said:

Burnt Mill head delighted at namecheck in major education report

LAST WEEK, the head of Ofsted, Sir Michael Wilsher, produced his annual report on education in England. The report made for grim reading for some schools but there at the heart of the report was a great tribute to Burnt Mill Academy. The report said: “The headteacher of Burnt Mill Academy in Essex provides exceptionally strong and effective leadership, which is driving the significant improvements seen in the academy.

Harlow MP urged to call for fair funding for care reforms

ESSEX County Council has called on the county’s MPs including Harlow’s Robert Halfon, to speak out in Parliament about legislation that will see huge changes to the social care system and could cost the authority an extra £40m in the first year of implementation alone.

The Care Bill, one of the most important pieces of social care legislation since the 1940s, is being debated in Parliament today and the council has briefed MPs on the issues causing concern at County Hall.

Two weeks left to sign Youth Service petition

THERE are only two weeks left for residents to sign the petition apposing the £3million cuts to the Essex Youth Service budget proposed by Essex County council. The petition which was started by Harlow Youth Council member Madalina Salavestru closes on December 31st.

Letter to Editor: Social housing in Harlow

IN OUR view this is not the real problem but it suits our bosses that we think so. As long as working people fight amongst themselves over the few scraps of housing and work that are thrown our way, and as long as we continue to direct our anger at this group of workers or that, the bosses and the landlords can happily carry on making a profit out of our economic hardship without risk of us actually organising ourselves together and demanding proper solutions to problems. We will never know the power we could have to change things for the better for everyone while we blame foreigners or even so-called scroungers for our common plight.

Are Harlow primary schools in crisis?

ARE HARLOW primary schools in crisis or are they on the way up? On Thursday OFSTED published the reading, writing and maths tables for primary schools in Harlow. All schools are supposed to ensure that 60 per cent of pupils gain at least “Level 4” in formal reading and maths tests, combined with an informal teacher assessment of children’s writing abilities.

Feature: Wat Tyler and the ‘Harlow council tax benefit rebels’

IT’S a damp Thursday evening, a small group of people are huddled in a little group outside the civic centre as Harlow Council’s cabinet meeting takes place inside. One of them, the only female of the group is holding a few copies of the socialist worker, it’s not raining but she holds them close to her chest as if to protect them from the damp in the air. The rest of the group hold laminated signs, declaring themselves the Harlow council tax benefit rebels.

Hundreds of Harlow homes benefit from improvements

MORE than 1,500 home improvements have been completed so far this year as part of Harlow Council’s modern homes programme.The £22m programme is part of a five-year £100m investment by Harlow Council. Since the programme started in July 2013 the Council and its contractors Solar Windows Ltd, United House and Kier Services have completed over 1,200 improvements. In addition, electrical inspection condition reports and associated repairs have been carried out in 546 Council homes and the external walls of 302 Council homes have been insulated.

MP on the right track as he listens to commuters

DURING a House of Commons debate on the West Anglia Railway line, Harlow MP Robert Halfon MP quizzed Government ministers on their plans for improving rail services in Harlow using results he had obtained from a survey of 300 commuters in Harlow. During the debate he brought up commuters’ concerns over areas such as the lack of facilities at Harlow Mill Station and called for it to be refurbished.

Civic Society in talks with council bosses

AMONG the items discussed were the preservation of Harlow’s green wedges, which are being built upon bit-by-bit, The Square and the former YMCA building, both of which are important assets, and the new M11 link, which we need but not where ECC is threatening to put it, namely, down Gilden Way! We need a link to the North as voted for by HDC.”

Absent councillor dumped by leader

IT WASN’T (thankfully) done in the style of North Korea but it looks like Harlow Council leader has had a mini-purge of his own as he has replaced his portfolio holder for regeneration, cllr Paul Schroder. Cllr Schroder had, despite holding a key portfolio, missed a considerable number of meetings and had also been fairly tricky to get hold of.

Tories question cost of the Harlow Playhouse

OH NO THEY didn’t, oh yes they did…..It may be pantomime season at the Playhouse but things were far more serious at the council offices as the Harlow Tories questioned the continuing costs of the theatre. Conservative councillor, Russell Perrin pointed to the £50,000 shortfall in the Harlow Council performance papers at Thursday nights cabinet meeting and asked what was being done about this.