Council leader demands answers from Enfield Council over shipping homeless to Harlow

General / Mon 16th Aug 2021 at 12:22pm

THE LEADER of Harlow Council has demanded answers from Enfield Council after it was revealed that they are still sending their residents to be housed in Harlow.

In 2019, a number of press releases saw the Labour leaders of Harlow and Enfield Council commit to working together so that Enfield Council “stop housing their residents in office block conversions….. (and) actively work to enable their residents to return to the London borough”.

However, it now appears that they are still continuing to send residents to Greenway House in The Pinnacles.

Last week, in response to a story about conditions at Greenway House, a spokesperson said:  “We have ended our large-scale use of privately-owned blocks in other boroughs and aim to place residents needing emergency accommodation within Enfield wherever possible.

This seems to have come as a surprise and disappointment to members of the previous Labour administration however, new Harlow Council leader, Andrew Johnson is demanding answers.

Councillor Andrew Johnson, Leader of Harlow council, said: “I am extremely concerned to hear that other councils continue to place their homeless residents in Harlow. This practice is completely unacceptable and, as a Council, we utterly oppose this. Other Councils should not be moving their residents to our town and I will not rule out taking any measure in order to tackle this.

“We believe residents facing homelessness should be placed in suitable accommodation in the area they live, close to family, friends and support networks and where they have access to local services.

“The agreement reached in 2019 by Enfield and Harlow Councils clearly was not strong enough, nor was it wide ranging enough and this Council to date has failed to take appropriate action to stop Councils moving their homeless residents to our town. We will take every possible measure now to end this.

“I will be seeking an urgent meeting with the Leader of Enfield Council to confirm that they will end this practice and to find out about their plans for Greenway House which they own. We would like to see this building reconverted to support industry and business in the town as part of the recovery from the pandemic. We recently announced our intention to extended our Article 4 directions to stop office-to-residential conversions in Harlow.

“The problem with ‘out of borough’ placements is that councils do not have to tell us or consult us about placing residents here. This needs to change as it makes it hard to understand the current extent of the problem. We are exploring all avenues to find out what further powers are available to stop this in Harlow.

“Councils need to look at alternative housing policies, which do not put vulnerable people in poor housing conditions miles away from where they want to live and their support networks. We will be lobbying the government for this law to change.

“It is simply unacceptable that any other council should use our town to try and solve their own housing shortages and I will rule no measure out in order to tackle this problem.”

YH has sent a series of questions to Enfield Council which they have yet to answer.

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3 Comments for Council leader demands answers from Enfield Council over shipping homeless to Harlow:

2021-08-16 13:09:11

Politicians are always banging on about a housing crisis, well I have the real reason it's a population crisis. The world population has more than doubled since the 70s there are just too many people having too many kids yet not one politician will dare mention this. Why !!!

Tony Durcan
2021-08-16 20:01:07

Yet again another let’s rewrite history Tory spin by the Tory leader. Clearly he forgets how critical his opposition was at the time of the agreement. the then Labour leader didn’t just put sound bits into your Harlow but went out and meet with the leaders. He brought the Leaders to Harlow to show them first hand the state of the housing. It was Tory Eric pickles who allowed the use of office blocks. So take the shame and take the blame,stop spinning the truth and take ownership.

Adam Osen
2021-08-17 07:52:22

People move around, we don’t have to stay in one place just because we were born there. We’re not plants. People move to improve their lives, and there’s nothing wrong with that. This applies whether they were born in as remote a place as Enfield, or Afghanistan. However, the rabbit hutch homes built from former offices are not suitable housing, for foreigners from Enfield or Afghanistan. The RIBA recommendation for a single person home is 4,000 sq ft, I’m sure those homes don’t comply.

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