Good news as Berecroft Residents Association hub saved
Communities / Sat 7th Aug 2021 at 09:53am
RECENTLY elected Staple Tye Councillor Alastair Gunn has confirmed that 65 Berecroft – the home of the Berecroft Residents Association and a community hub for the estate – is protected.
The housing association for the Berecroft estate, Clarion, had expressed an intention to convert the property for residential use. A well-attended meeting on Thursday (5 August) saw them set out their plan, which met with widespread objections from residents and local ward Councillors. A request for clarification was made to establish whether Clarion had the right to make the move without consultation.
The Berecroft Residents Association has been running for many years and received the Queens Award in 2016.
Zulqar Cheema and his team have been recognised for doing so much for the community.
Following a trawl of Harlow Council’s records requested by Cllr Gunn, it has been established that the address was given planning permission for community use in 1999 and because this has been the case for over 10 years, Clarion would need to secure planning permission to change the use back, providing protection for its status as community hub.
Cllr Gunn said, “Having met with the Berecroft Residents Association on several occasions and seen how much 65 Berecroft means to those who live on the estate who make good use of it, confirmation of this protection of its status as being for community use is very welcome news.
“Whilst Clarion may be disappointed, establishing this does allow Berecroft Residents Association to focus on getting the property back into regular use by the community with confidence. This is vitally important as we emerge from the pandemic.
“I have already met with the local police to explore their using it for community outreach, and alongside other Councillors for the ward I am working with Citizens Advice to see if they can use it to make their services more widely available. It has already got several active groups using it as a hub for sports, socialising and other activities. I hope this reassurance will help support other activities too.”