Essex County Council plans to spend millions on “levelling up” Harlow

News / Fri 7th Jan 2022 at 02:06pm

MILLIONS of pounds will be spent by Essex County Council to regenerate parts of the county under its own ‘levelling up’ agenda.

The county council will be paying particular attention to Basildon, Harlow, and Colchester, and coastal areas – especially Tendring and Canvey Island – as part of its plans.

The council’s plan to improve the life chances of the county’s most disadvantaged follows a framework of 14 ‘levelling up goals’ drawn up by Justine Greening, the UK’s former Secretary of State for Education and Minister for Women and Equalities.

She now chairs Levelling Up Goals and who has helped plan how communities and individuals can be empowered out of poverty.

Ms Greening – who joined ECC’s deputy leader Louise McKinlay for the launch of the council’s own levelling up white paper on January 6 – added that following strong foundations in early years an “easy thing to change” is to make employees realise they have it in their gift to connect people with opportunities.

The £10m earmarked for Levelling Up is part of a £45m funding pot allocated for the council’s Everyone’s Essex plan – 20 commitments based on the economy, environment, children and families and promoting health, care and wellbeing.

The money is in the current year’s budget but ECC says that given the wide nature of the agenda and the amount of agencies involved, the ECC contribution is just a part of the total levelling up spend over the next four years.

A spokesman said: “Having a big impact through this agenda isn’t just about, or proportionate to, the money – it’s about encouraging wider community participation and involvement.”

That is where employers have to come in, said Ms Greening.

She said: “It starts with strong foundations in early years and then successful schools years.

“And the big change which we can really help happen across the county is to get employers to realise that if they can change how they work they can connect a lot more people with opportunities. And they can help them understand what opportunities are out there.

“It is very hard to aim for opportunities when you don’t know they exist.

“And that can be quite an easy thing to change if there is enough focus on it.

“There are some straight forward things with lots of different aspects of levelling up to tackle but ultimately it’s possible and that is what we want to try to achieve.”

In the launch of its levelling up White Paper today ECC said it recognised that levelling up cannot be delivered by the county council alone and that levelling up can only succeed if it is embedded in communities and has the support of all key partners including local government, health partners, emergency services, schools, colleges and universities, the voluntary sector, community groups and businesses.

There are more than 123,000 people in Essex, 40,000 of whom are children, that live in areas that are in the 20 per cent most deprived of the whole UK.

This is a figure that has doubled since 2007.

At Key Stage 4 there is a 30 per cent gap in educational attainment between the most and least deprived areas in the county. There is on average a 12 year life expectancy gap between the most and least deprived areas of the county.

The most deprived areas of the county sees significantly worse health – including 87 per cent higher instances of respiratory progressive diseases such as COPD, 69 per cent higher instances of mental health conditions and adult obesity is 53 per cent higher.

Its priority cohorts are focused on children and adults with SEND, learning disabilities, or mental health conditions, children on free school meals, working families and young adults who have not been in education, training or employment for around six to 12 months.

ECC says it is focused on five main areas that align most closely with its areas of responsibility namely the economy and improving access to “good jobs”, the environment and its focus on improving access to a high quality environment, health and wellbeing and supporting people to live long, healthy and happy lives, education and skills and supporting people to grow up and live in strong, safe, and resilient families and communities.

Cllr McKinlay said: “For me it’s about starting well. So those formative years with a stable and secure family background and being in a place where you can grow up safe and secure is really fundamental to life chances.

“And if you are ready for school again that maps your life chances in terms of having how you will get on.

“But of course it can’t end there. Even if you come from a happy stable background and you are ready for school at five, if you haven’t got good housing and haven’t got success around you and job opportunities that you can physically get to even, then even if you can academically attain to get there again your chances are limited.

“As important as it is to start well that alone is not enough and that brings us full circle for the levelling agenda and how complex it is and how it needs to be looked at very much from a local angle and local lens with people owning and crafting developing some of the actions and solutions around this.”

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6 Comments for Essex County Council plans to spend millions on “levelling up” Harlow:

2022-01-07 14:55:53

Levelling some of the roads and footpaths would be a good start. :)

Brian Mayhew
2022-01-07 16:25:31

Before you allow building houses on every green spot you can find, think about the other most important facilities that will need to be put in place ie, extra schools, doctors surgeries, dentists, local shops. What seems to be ignored is the extra motor vehicles that is suddenly placed on the existing over crowded roads, if you build say 100 to 1000 new homes in an area, then you will on average have another 200 to 2000 extra vehicles on the roads. Why don't you build on the hundreds of brown field sites instead of taking all our greenery.

martin chapman
2022-01-07 17:28:26

yes level the whole of harlow and start again

Nicholas Taylor
2022-01-07 18:55:04

This article does not give a single insight as to how 'levelling up' will be achieved or indeed what levelling up actually means, to what? Having travelled from Norfolk last weekend, you soon know when you have come in to Essex by the state of the roads and when you get to Harlow they become even worse. We have cycle tracks and paths in a very poor state, things like damaged or missing road signs and council houses not being painted for many years, all demonstrating a town falling into disrepair. Whilst these are not directly linked to the article, it is a good example of where our Tory County and District Councillors have continually failed the residents of this town.

David Forman
2022-01-08 08:04:09

Cllr McKinlay said: “For me it’s about starting well. So those formative years..." So, the Tories have finally worked out that closing Sure Start centres, that were a legacy from the Blair/Brown Labour government, was not a good idea. This article proves that austerity measures imposed by the Cameron/Osborne Tory Coalition were a failure.

Kim Oconnor
2022-01-08 10:49:40

What a load of waffle. Business words. Not saying anything really. Don't speak to us about environment, green spaces, wellbeing, when all you want to do is take that all away from us. SAVE OUR RIVER STORT, , you could stop this, no more passing the buck to others, that were in before you, you still could stop it.

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