Harlow Alliance Party continue to put pressure on Harlow Council over Prentice Place

News / Sun 28th Feb 2021 at 11:49am

A MEMBER of the Harlow Alliance Party has continued to put pressure on Harlow Council over Prentice Place.

Alan Leverett asked a number of questions at a recent Harlow Council meeting.

Alan Leverett to Councillor Mark Wilkinson (Portfolio Holder for Housing):

In the private sector, house sales are booming as people try to complete the sale and purchase of a home whilst there is a stamp duty holiday.

In response to my question about Prentice Place at the last Full Council meeting, Cllr Durcan stated that the procedures used to re-let vacant council homes ceased when the last Covid lockdown was announced.

I have to say I think residents on Harlow Council’s Housing Register in desperate need of a new home would have been most surprised that the council have not adopted the safe practices used in the private sector, particularly as many of these vacant homes will have been empty for some time whilst being made available for occupation again.

How many council homes are standing empty as a result of this pause in re-letting homes?

Reply from Councillor Mark Wilkinson (Portfolio Holder for Housing):

Harlow Council agreed to temporarily reduce its lettings activities in January 2021 due to cases of Covid-19 in the town increasing at then an alarming rate with Harlow having one of the highest case rates in the country.

Whilst urgent lettings continue to be made, based upon an evidenced urgent/emergency housing need, non-urgent lettings were temporarily reduced with:
visits inside homes stopped. These additional steps taken by the council both
protected our residents and staff from the spread of this virus. The health and
wellbeing of our residents and staff remains our number one priority and our service
provision continues to be regularly reviewed alongside Harlow’s latest infection rates
with any further decisions by the government on easing the lockdown restrictions in
a safe manner.

Covid-19 safe practices under public health guidance were established in June 2020 and
again will be used to address the 31 properties that are awaiting an offer to be made to
the applicant and an additional 30 properties awaiting accompanied viewings.

The full item can be seen from the 23rd minute of the meeting below.

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