Planning bid for over 800 homes in town centre submitted ……. “Some facts”.

News / Fri 28th May 2021 at 07:23am

THE LEADER of the Harlow Alliance Party has some reflections on the planning bid for 800 homes in Harlow Town Centre.

Nicholas Taylor said:

The article saw many responses from residents on yourharlow’s facebook page and elsewhere, I hope the following will help to give some insight into what is being proposed.

Firstly, this development is just one of many which will see well over 2000 homes built in the town centre.

Secondly, the public consultation exercise which took place in late 2020 received just 4 responses from the 2500 sent out.

Thirdly, along with other private home builders within the town centre, Strawberry Star will not be building any council homes in its developments.

Fourthly, as things stand, Strawberry Star have given no undertaking to provide any so called “affordable homes”, despite the target of 30% “affordable homes” set out in Harlow Council’s Local Plan for new developments. The Council should now throw out these plans and insist that developers only bring forward plans that do meet the Council’s target for affordable homes. Without this commitment the Local Plan becomes a farce, because its purpose is meant to give certainty to developers as to what type of homes should be built, where they should be built and what type of tenure they should be in order to meet the identified need within the district.

Fifthly, Strawberry Star are not investing over £300 million in Harlow town centre. They are building hundreds of home which once sold will give them a gross profit of over £300 million. Most of these new homes will never be within the financial reach of those most in need of a home in Harlow.

Sixthly, the sketches produced within the Planning Application documents are somewhat misleading because they do not include the block that will be 27 storeys high, some three times higher than Edmunds Tower. The construction of other blocks nearby will leave the town centre looking and feeling like a high rise housing estate.

Lastly, the owners of buildings in the town centre just like Strawberry Star, have been busy making Planning Applications which once completed will leave little if any room for a new or larger theatre, a live music venue, an exhibition centre, indeed any new leisure or cultural venues which would attract more visitors to the town.

It is interesting to note that the new Conservative administration in Basildon have thrown out Labour’s plan for the town centre, which was very similar to Harlow’s. Will voting for the Conservatives in Harlow earlier this month make any difference to the future of our town centre?

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