Harlow Tories back new plans for old Lister House site
News / Wed 8th Jun 2022 pm30 12:00pm
THE Harlow Conservatives are “delivering” on their pledge to build new council homes for Harlow families and to regenerate left behind areas of the town they say, as the plans for the old Lister House site are unveiled claims the Harlow Conservatives.
The new flagship development plans include:
12 new high-quality council flats for Harlow families
Top-end shop units
First-class business space for local businesses
A new piazza and public realm to ensure high quality residential and workspace
New space for community services
It is anticipated that construction work on the site will start within this financial year which will mean the site which has been vacant for many years will finally be regenerated into an accessible, high-quality development.
The Conservatives recently launched a blistering attack on the old Labour Council who spent nearly £700,000 on designs for the site, but never built anything. They described this was a “disgraceful waste of taxpayers money” which equates as the same as a three-year freeze in council tax for the whole town.
Staple Tye Councillor, Alastair Gunn said: “The sooner the site can be brought back into use for much needed social housing for Harlow residents the better.
“The Lister House site has been derelict for too long, and badly mismanaged by previous Council administrations at great cost to Harlow taxpayers.
“I am excited to work with Cllr Swords on these plans which stand to benefit the wider Staple Tye area, providing better retail and much-needed community services.”
Staple Tye Councillor, Michael Hardware added: “This new development will use a derelict site to enhance this part of Staple Tye; adding to the existing retail centre, and at the same time providing much-needed social housing for Harlow families.
“It is a further demonstration that Harlow’s Conservative council is getting on with the job and fulfilling its promises to build more social housing and regenerate the town.”
The Conservatives’ Cabinet Member for Regeneration, who is leading the project, Councillor Dan Swords said: “This is extremely exciting and shows that we are delivering on our pledges to build new council homes for Harlow families and to regenerate left behind areas of the town.
This site was left vacant for years despite the old Council spending £700,000 and building nothing. We are now getting on with the job of building a new first-class development for Harlow families and crucially, we will be on site within this financial year. This is just one of many schemes that we are unveiling in the coming weeks.”
The money wasted by the previous Labour administration on ‘consultants’ fees’, to no avail, on sites and projects such as this is indeed a disgrace and an abuse of taxpayer funds. As the report states, this equates to several years of a tax freeze. Labour’s record of tax and waste stands in complete contrast to Harlow Conservatives: cutting tax and providing housing for Harlow residents.
James - are they personally liable - if not why not?
Hi Dan, This is great news - could you please reply to my email I sent you around 2months ago?
Whilst all new Council homes are of course to be welcomed, it is a shame that the Conservatives continue to follow the previous Labour administration in building homes that in due course can be sold to the sitting tenant. This complex would have made an ideal modern housing unit for older residents, situated where it is, close to shops and bus stops. Residents who have homes larger than they need could then have downsized their home to one that is cheaper to heat, pay less Council Tax and maintain, leaving behind a homes for families that need larger accommodation.
Maybe Nicholas will confirm my belief that after 5 years the sitting council tenant can buy their flat at a discount?
David, it is three years, the three years does not have to be at the same property, does not need to be three consecutive years and the maximum discount is £87.200, depending on just how many years you have totted up as a tenant. Cannot be sold for less than the cost to build, which in this case is probably less than it could have been as the Council own the land. From my long experience in housing management in Harlow, many residents bought their home via the bank of mum and dad and other sources.
Even today on the BBC website, Labour Leader Sir Keir Starmer stated openly that he supports people owning their own home. So it is unlikely if any future Labour government would alter or restrict the established Right to Buy. Previous Labour regimes under Blair and Brown retained Thatcher’s highly popular Right to Buy. It aligns with people’s aspirations to own their property, have greater independence, a vested interest in their community and something to pass to their children.
I am pleased to see what you have said James, it shows the true nature of a Tory. What about the millions of low paid workers, those that can never work, those that fail to maintain their aspirations through no fault of there own, all those that will never be able to purchase a home? They are left behind, fewer than a third the number of social homes exist than in 1980. The gap between rich and poor grows ever larger. It sounds like I am a socialist, but what I am is a realist. You should have come and worked with me for a month James to see where the real housing crisis is. Its not for the want of a half million pound house.
I believe safety nets must be in place to protect the most disadvantaged and vulnerable. That is the hallmark of a civilised society. However, we must encourage ambition, enterprise and aspiration. That is where the wealth is created to sustain the welfare state. The more people who are independent, the better for all. As to your earlier question regarding my experience of working in local government, the answer is no. I have always worked on the private sector. I think there are many disciplines and practices that can be transferred. Local government needs more private sector discipline and efficiency. Many councils in the UK have done this. Why shouldn’t councils be subject to external efficiency ratings as apply to schools, universities, etc? Why shouldn’t performance be more transparent? People pay taxes; they should see comparisons.
Well the point that I am making is that with the demise of social housing(and of course so many other things during the Tory government of the last 10 years) that safety net is no longer available like it has been in the past. That's why so many people live in the appalling homes converted from offices, why so many live in homes in multiple accommodation or in private homes paying a huge rent. In the meantime new homes are advertised in China and in the past Russia and then stay empty as an investment for the future. As for your second point, Councils have performance indicators, as a landlord they have to provide a yearly report, they benchmark with other authorities and will use best practice in the each sector. The Tory history is simply to do things the cheapest way. As for being more transparent, what about all the decision made at pre-meetings behind closed doors, the fact that members of the public cannot debate issues with members, being only allowed to ask two questions at some meetings. We at HAP are all for that to change.
Will these premises have solar panels and heat pumps or will we just continue to fund Russians attacking Ukrainians?