Have the Tories claimed a new Harlow town centre will be built in two years or have Labour……got it… wrong?
General / Fri 1st Apr 2022 pm30 02:45pm
ON FRIDAY morning, the shadow portfolio holder for regeneration, cllr Tony Durcan tweeted:
As Your Harlow had filmed the council meeting, we found the one minute of the meeting that we believe councillor Durcan was referring to.
Great Parndon councillor, David Carter asked the portfolio holder for regeneration, cllr Dan Swords a question in relation to the plans for the town centre.
We have switched on captions so you can see what Councillor Swords said.
You can then judge if he did say that the town centre will be built in two years or something complete different.
I think Cllr Durcan either has a hearing problem or is cognitively challenged. Cllr Swords says clearly that at the end of two years, the development partnership (stage3) will be in place and development WILL BEGIN. I hope the residents of Little Parndon & Hare Street exercise their votes to elect a candidate who is capable of understanding plain language and does not distort the facts. This Cllr Durcan was supposedly responsible for regeneration under the previous Labour administration; hardly a success. The northern end of the town centre looks like a third world no go zone. He is well past his sell by date.
The Tories are making all sorts of claims, ranging from we will have the best cycle track system in the world, Harlow will be the best town in Britain (who is the judge of that?) and we will have the best Town Centre in Essex (and who will be the judge of that?). To date all we have is hundreds of pages of a Town Centre Masterplan which see the Town Centre full of flat blocks. However what we don't have is answers to any questions residents raise, readers will notice that Cllr Dan Swords has not to date responded to the questions I raised with him on another post following his insulting comment about me.
Have you noticed the amount of island bollards that are either not working, broken, smashed or in a lot of cases missing and that's all you lot go on about is regenerating the town centre why so you can all line your pockets further. The town is a running joke.
What is not to like about the regeneration plans announced by Cllr Swords? I don’t understand what Nicholas Taylor is moaning about. This Conservative administration has only been in office for less than year. Labour did nothing but waste money on failed projects over a decade. The plan announced by Cllr Swords is sensible and coherent. Do people like Cllr Durcan and Nicholas Taylor think a full-blooded regeneration can be undertaken in a few months? Deluded .
The town centre project includes 3 high rise 20 story blocks of flats and is set within an unsustainable "sustainable " transport plan. Together a recipe for gridlock, pollution and congestion. The flats will be our future slums and go against all of the principles Sir Frederick set down in his plan and book "Town Design " . Before Cllrs use Sir Fred's name in an endeavour to Fredwash these plans I suggest they need to do their homework. Another issue that no one has mentioned just as Cllrs do, high rise buildings in high locations generate much wind, 3 such blocks in the highest point in town will have a significant and unpleasant effect. Harlow will again be called the windy city.
I do find it offensive that the Harlow Tory MPs spin doctor is using a disability as a weapon. The MP claims to be a champion for equality and diversity but allow his people to make rude and offensive comments to somehow make a cheap and horrible political point. I don’t apologise for having a hearing impairments and often sit in the chamber sideways to ensure I can watch the person speaking. I have to remind members to speak using the microphone as sadly this type of disability effects others.Not all disabilities are obvious and it’s shameful the MP encourage this type of negative comments Why can’t he get his team to make points without insults including age discrimination.This isn’t Westminster.
Cllr Durcan, your disability is not about audible impairments, but rather your consistent ability to distort language to suit your own outdated and rejected agenda. What you allege Cllr Swords stated is manifestly untrue. You are yet to explain the vast sums you wasted on consultants fees for non-existent projects when you headed regeneration. Your simulated indignation is a nothing but a deflection that fools nobody.
Jamie, there are millions of pounds which the Council have 'collected' in a pot of money to help kick start the regeneration of the Town Centre. The Harlow Alliance Party are concerned that this once in a lifetime opportunity will be squandered on things that will do nothing to attract new visitors to the Town Centre. I have never said that the Town Centre can be regenerated in just two years, indeed as things stand it could take over a decade. Why do I say that, well the Tory plan is just a developers charter and the evidence of what developers do is all around us, they sit on sites such as the former Square site, Market House, Kitson Way carpark and others until such time that they think they can make the biggest profit. Take a look at pages 141 to 162 of the report, this is the future of the Town Centre if the Tories continue in power, a centre devoid of new leisure and cultural facilities, with dozens of new flat blocks with some 3000 flats within them. So as a Tory spokesperson, in the absence of any response from Cllr Swords, perhaps you can read those pages I refer to and tell me where I am wrong?
It’s a real shame the Tory MP spin Doctors are using any excuse to justify open and offensive discrimination. Your Harlow asked nicely to be reflective of comments made on this page. Sadly whilst most of us appear to accept this others appear to find this another opportunity to insult others. I welcome the debate for or against but will alway call out those who are directly offensive,regardless of the issue or topic. Please don’t treat Harlow like Westminster. Using different names doesn’t make any difference either.
Dear Nich, today is Saturday and you are still wrong.
Dear Cllr Durcan, please stop using the simulated work agenda to hide behind. It is just a Leftist pretext for censorship and curtailment of essential free speech. Who is this ‘spin doctor’ you constantly refer to? Spin was an invention of Blair’s Labour. All I am asking is what happened to all the cash you paid our under your watch to so-called consultants for projects that never happened. Surely, you are not denying that you are accountable??? This is not Party related but about the accountability of those entrusted with public office, irrespective of Party. It is is possible the current administration will be as inept and incompetent as yours. However, for the present, it is your administration that has a disastrous track record and for you to explain to the public why so much money was wasted.
Dan, stop carrying on with your schoolboy behaviour. You are now in a position where you should be prepared to enter debate and not ridicule those who have a different view to your own. Hundreds or even thousands of readers who you are supposed to represent will be waiting to hear why you say I am wrong, you have had a few days to come up with answers since I first asked. The report cost £93,000, what was the point of it if it was not to give a blueprint of what the Tories believe the town centre will look like?
Cllr Durcan, stop being woke and evasive. Just explain where all the consultant fees on failed projects went under you watch when you were head of regeneration. That is not offensive; just a factual question. I await your reply. Thanks.
Councillor Durcan, please cut out all this woke nonsense. Just answer the questions: 1. Do you agree that in the video recording of the Council meeting, Cllr Swords DOES NOT state that the town centre will be regenerated in two years as you allege? 2. Why did you waste so much money on consultants for projects that never happened and are you not accountable? These questions are not ‘offensive’. They are factual. Don’t assume that people that do not agree with you (and there are many) are ‘Tory spin doctors’. Don’t forget that ‘spin’ was a Labour invention under Blair and Mandelson.
Cllr Dan Swords clearly says that Step 3 will be complete by Spring next year, meaning that the Council's development partner will be onboard and construction work will be underway. Cllr Tony Durcan, with reasonable adjustment made for his hearing impairment, should have checked his facts before misrepresenting others. He could have asked his fellow Labour councillors what they heard or even asked Cllr Swords to clarify his remarks. Strikes me as a bit of political chicanery by Tony in the run-up to the local elections, with Tony way too experienced not to be aware how to handle this situation in a professional manner. If Cllr Tony Durcan has to sink these tactics to win an election, it is time for Tony to walk away and save the respect and affection some of us still have for him. Cllr Tony Durcan is a thoroughly nice guy and I would be happy to be marooned on a desert island with him, because he is such good company. So, please Tony, don't spoil your image for a cheap political shot.
Nicholas, what on earth are you talking about? reading those very pages you state, it clearly says about new potential leisure sites in the north of the town (pg 148-149) and terminus street (pg 152-153), then leisure / cultural opportunities in the new 'Playhouse Square' (pg160-161). What you also fail to mention in your comment is Leisure zone itself (a few pages on 166-167), is included within the town boundary. By my count that's 4 different sites around town with potentially new, or current leisure facilities.
Mathew 2. Town Centre North Pages 148-149 state that there will be a focus on residential development, with potentially 350 flats. Also says 'Stone Cross has the potential to become a high quality destination for leisure and hospitality', but gives absolutely no information about how that would be achieved. Terminus Street pages 152-153, gives information about the transport hub with another 220 flats, plans have already come forward to build another tower block on the carpark between Terminus House and the hotel. Playhouse Square pages 160-161 also indicates that 290 flats could be built. The taxi rank being moved to College Square, in an attempt to create a cultural area. This would mean there would never be an opportunity to build a larger theatre, we have the smallest in the region. Leisure Zone pages 166-167, this area has been included in the new Town Centre boundary. Plans have long been sought to create better access into the Town Centre, I note the suggestion that there should be a more intensive use of the car parks as well as the possibility of building 100 flats. the simple fact is, I do not agree with the proposals in this plan which will turn the Town Centre into a high rise estate with little room for new leisure and cultural facilities. There is a page with an indicative plan of what the Town Centre could look like, about 3000 flats and counting.
Nicholas Taylor, looks like Cllr Dan Sword’s observation was right. By the way, today is Monday!
Nicholas. In a previous comment it was mentioned the tories will create a town centre "devoid of new leisure and cultural facilities". That is not true. In my opinion it's disingenuous when the document infront of you clearly states the plan is to very much build new leisure and culture facilites. Also, can you provide me with detailed information about how HAP would achieve a new larger theatre in town please?
Matthew 2, you are right to use the word ‘disingenuous’. HAP do not even have candidates to fight in all wards. They have about as much chance of achieving power in Harlow as Accrington Stanley have of winning next seasons Champions League!
For what it's worth Bill, HAP have good intentions and Harlow at their heart. I actually agree with some of what they say regarding regenerating the town centre, however I don't think you can have your cake and eat it. I think we have to accept that an influx of new residents and housing is inevitable, to facilitate investment in new facilities and infrastructure.
Bill, from small acorns .... many councils across England are now controlled by independent Councillors, the Residents for You Party up the road at Uttlesford are a good example, came from no-where and took control in less than 6 years. What we can do is to bring some sense into the Council chamber which often sounds like a bun fight between the two main Parties. Mathew 2, we agree that new homes are needed, but it is the scale of things as shown in the Tory Masterplan, we object to. 3000 flats if you total up those in the areas listed in the Town Centre, that is on top of the hundreds more that is required by the Tory Government. A 24 storey tower block and others up to 14 storeys, we think not. These will leave little if no space for new leisure and cultural facilities, lets not forget that as things stand the population living within 3 miles of the Town Centre will rise from 90,000 to 140.000 in the next two decades.