Harlow Council leader and environment councillor pledge to keep focus on restoring pride in the town
News / Wed 16th Feb 2022 at 08:10am
THE Leader of Harlow Council and the Cabinet Member for Environment have pledged to continue their focus on restoring pride in the town with the council planning to spend £6.4m on environment services and projects in 2022 to 2023.
The spend recently agreed as part of the council’s budget includes funding day-to-day services provided by HTS to maintain landscaping across the town and carry out street cleaning. A further £250,000 will support further tree planting over the next 3 years and money will be allocated for improving landscaping and biodiversity around the Town Park Water Gardens.
Since October, Councillor Russell Perrin, the Leader of the Council and Councillor Nicky Purse, Cabinet Member for Environment, have met regularly to discuss landscape maintenance issues across the town and how work can be improved. In addition, Councillor Purse has been carrying landscape audits by inspecting works being carried out by HTS under its winter programme. The ward-by-ward visits have identified follow-up work that is needed once maintenance programme work has been completed, as well as ensuring that the work carried out meets the expectations of residents and the council.
A new landscape Covid Recovery Support Team has also been rolled out to catch-up on work which was delayed during lockdowns. Work carried out by the team has so far included restoring the Holocaust Memorial Garden, landscape works around Sherwood House and improving landscaping around underpasses. The focus on improving the environment will shortly turn to grass cutting and weeding with this programme due to start at the end of March.
Sustaining and improving the cleanliness of the town with the maintenance and protection of open spaces is one of the ambitions in the council’s new corporate strategy adopted in December.
Councillor Russell Perrin, Leader of Harlow Council, said: “Landscape maintenance and street cleaning are high profile services and residents should expect to receive value for money from the Council Tax they pay to Harlow Council, this is why we meet regularly and are focussed on continuing to make improvements. We know that our residents want to see the town looked after and well cared for and we are doing what we can to deliver that. To restore pride in our town it all starts with the work that we do and I am determined that we will lead by example.”
Councillor Nicky Purse, Cabinet Member for Environment, said: “We are working hard to restore pride in our town and as part of our budget for 2022 to 2023 that focus will continue in the year ahead. By working closely with HTS and through the regular walkabouts around the town we are starting to see improvements to the quality of work in maintaining landscapes. However, there is much more work to be done, but we will do whatever it takes to fully restore pride in our wonderful estates and give Harlow the attention and TLC it deserves.”
Let us just remember it was the Conservatives who privatised landscape maintenance in the first place when they disastrously handed the service over to Keir and who then opposed the setting up of HTS by the Labour administration so it could carry out the very work they are now boasting about. It is also interesting to note that Councillor Perrin only started this work in October, having conveniently allowed hedgerows and verges to become overgrown with little or no cyclical maintenance in the months since they took power in May of last year. He then had the audacity to blame the previous administration for this seasons plant growth.
If the Conservatives are serious about the environment then they should immediately put a block on the raised road Eastern Crossing and the Central Crossing works that serve only the Gilston estate development and will destroy flood plain, woodland, wetlands and the tranquil and extremely vulnerable natural nature reserve that's highly valued by Harlow residents, all of which protect our town. The Valley needs to be made into a regional green park like the Lee Valley rather than destroyed and polluted. Habiitats of protected species and flood plain will be destroyed and Harlow homes made more prone to flooding and the discharges of raw sewage. The embodied carbon footprint is millions of polluting car miles and yet the Councils and hggt pfp have ignored lower cost and more environmentally friendly options. Cllrs seem to think that "tidying up " by cutting down ancient trees and making the green spaces into monoculture bowling green grass areas is improving the environment, quite the reverse. Wake up Harlow Council, the developers, East Herts Council, Epping Council, Essex and Herts County Councils have suckered Labour into their plans and now there's the danger that the Conservatives are not going to save the town by blocking these Crossings works and rejecting the utterly non sustainable "sustainable" transport plans. The developers and the other Councils stand to gain through profits and grants linked with housing targets: Harlow gets no housing and nothing except the pollution, congestion and destruction of our most valuable amenity, recreational and ecologically important space. At the planning meeting on the 23rd February, Save our Stort don't rubber stamp the cheques for East Herts and the developers pockets. The executive homes up on the hill at Gilston, looking down on Harlow in every sense, could be built but not at our cost: Harlow should refuse to be the tradesmens entrance, flood relief and sewage disposal routes for those getting out of London with fat profits.
Cllr Edwards admits that it was the Labour Administration that set up the hotch potch that is HTS, an expensive hybrid between a public sector entity and a Chinese laundry with the advantages of neither and the disadvantages of both. It was the Labour Administration that allowed HTS to halt operations during the pandemic, when individuals could have worked outside in safety. If shop workers and NHS staff, etc could work, why couldn’t they have cut grass and hedges? Obviously, when the Tories took control in May ( over a year after lockdown) the place looked like a jungle. Another Labour failure allowing HTS ( How To Spend) to do what they like. I have seen how they operate: a shambles. Well done Cllr Edwards!
Let's put it plainly Harlow has turned into a dump, hedgerows, grass and trees been allowed to over grow. Harlow Town centre a dirty hole with half of the shops empty Roads all need resurfacing as there are more holes than roads and if they think putting a bit of tar mac in them is a cure they are idiots All what used to be free car parking in the town carpark, Bushfair and The Stow are all pay & display ‐ this discourages people from using these places where it should be encouraging people to use these areas We don't need small changes in Harlow we need major ones As someone who was born in Harlow I find it very sad to see what it has become
Kevin, you are broadly right. The town has been badly run for many, many years and left to decline. I hope the new council will make good on their promises. To be fair, they starting to tackle the issues and the scandal that is HTS, which clearly is not up to the job of maintaining estates and the environment.
It would be an idea if sheds are bricked up where pulled down to make room for people to be able to park on the road instead of on the foot paths and grass verges they are a bloody mess all full of holes, roofs caved In. The place is discusting
Politics Politics Politics! There is always an excuse in politics! Its a damn council for the people of the town yes the people of the town not Westminster! Not Robert Haflon! not the conservatives, Not the Labour its a council that should be run by the people for the people! of Harlow!!!!!!
Some Good comments!