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Plans for regeneration of Wych Elm set out as part of redevelopment of Town Centre

Business / Sat 18th Jun 2022 am30 07:09am

PUBLIC consultation is to take place on the future of Wych Elm as the council takes greater control over the regeneration of the area as part of its plans for Harlow town centre.

Last night (16 June 2022) the council’s cabinet agreed the draft Wych Elm Development brief document which will now go out to consultation before it is adopted. Consultation will start shortly.

The brief will guide the regeneration and redevelopment of the Wych Elm area and will be used in the determination of planning applications for the area.

In the brief the council sets out the following vision for the Wych Elm area:

“Wych Elm will be a place where residents and visitors will want to shop, relax, eat, socialise, play and make use of community services as well as live and work. Wych Elm is to be redeveloped for a mix of uses, including new homes and active day-time services including community and civic facilities.

Taller residential blocks which provide active ground floor frontages are supported. Non- residential uses will serve mostly day-time needs such as cafes, healthcare and education services, workspaces and small shops. This will support needs of the local and wider community. The town centre south of Fourth Avenue will continue to act as the main shopping and leisure destination.

The Wych Elm area will be an attractive and pleasant space for all members of the community, accessible and safe for pedestrians and cyclists.”

A copy of the draft development brief is on the council’s website https://moderngov.harlow.gov.uk/documents/s20606/Appendix%20A%20-%20Draft%20Wych%20Elm%20Devt%20Brief.pdf

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13 Comments for Plans for regeneration of Wych Elm set out as part of redevelopment of Town Centre:

Kim Oconnor
2022-06-18 09:20:50

Make sure you tell people of dates to consultation s. I have a few questions. Are theses council properties?? What's happening to the jobs that exist all ready here?? The car park, are you making adequate parking areas??? And lastly just a reminder to all you councils, you have 5OOO PEOPLE WAITING ON HOMES, YOU SHOULD BUILD FOR THEM FIRST, NOT THOUSANDS AND THOUSANDS OF UNAFORDABLE HOUSING ESTATES. IF YOU THOUGHT ANY THING OF LOCAL OPINIONS AND LOCAL RESIDENTS.

J
2022-06-18 10:01:04

Hi Kim, you say they should prioritise the 5000 waiting list but did you know that Harlow has more social housing than any of the nearby areas. In fact Harlow already has around 3x more social housing than any place nearby. It also has significantly more than the national average so it’s on other areas around Harlow to build more social housing not Harlow as they are 3x better in this aspect which you talk about than any surrounding area. If Harlow is to have a bright future they need outside investment, they need people who contribute significantly to the local economy without relying on the tax payer to do it for them. God forbid you lived in a surrounding area or London where you will find the waiting list significantly greater than Harlow

Dan
2022-06-18 10:28:03

J. 3x more than anyone else who, by your comment have nothing but we're 3x better off than them so, and I'm no mathematician or any thing, 3x nothing is still nothing. So how are we better off than them. The number of social houses are at least 90% below what is required to even make a dent in the 5000 people waiting list.

Nicholas Taylor
2022-06-18 11:53:09

This thirty plus page document is hardly worth the paper it is written on. Councillors and Officer time would be better spent on things they can actually do, like get Market Square finished. Can any Councillor tell readers why and where either the fire station or bus garage would want locate to, when they have an ideal town centre site? On being asked, the former told me they had no intention of moving in the foreseeable future. None of the any homes built on this site will be Council owned and if the past is anything to go by very few will be so called "affordable housing". As for social housing, readers, need to compare like for like. As a former New Town, 21,000 homes were at one time council owned, it is now about 9000. Even looking near to hand Epping Forest DC has about 6000, and like Harlow has thousand on their waiting list. What this town needs is far more Council housing for those who will never be able to afford to buy a home. History shows that the private sector has never built this country out of a housing crisis, the only thing they do is line the pockets of their shareholders.

J
2022-06-18 13:44:08

Hi Dan, If we say the amount of social housing is a national problem - we would look at targeting the areas offering the least amount. Harlow are doing more than 90% of the country when it comes to providing social housing. If people are desperate for social housing which is understandable then sacrifices have to be made and those people will have to look further away from Harlow. Harlow are in the top 10% in the country with regards to the ratio of social to private housing - they can’t do much more than that compared to other places in England. I know that is hard for people to hear but Harlow should not be moaned about when it comes to social housing. Residents would be in for a shock if they looked elsewhere nearby when it comes to council waiting lists

Jed
2022-06-18 13:59:06

J do you have a link for the research that tells us the facts you are quoting. Is it national statistics or is it from a political party manifest which we all know are all about manipulation of numbers .

Jed
2022-06-18 14:02:14

Also it sounds like your from a political party please let us know which one. The bias aside from your political views the whole "well your better off then them" is one of the biggest political tricks and comes natural to someone that lies for a living or someone that believes someone that lies for a living at least .

J
2022-06-18 14:32:52

First of all, I’m not from a political party - I did not vote for anyone as there wasn’t a party that resonated enough with my views. I was born and raised on a rough council estate but worked hard and made no excuses to get to where I wanted to be. Having come from an area with a much greater waiting list than Harlow, I find it crazy how people in Harlow can moan about a lack of social housing when they offer more than most places nearby. If you were to moan about the amount of potholes in Harlow, I would get that as that a problem in Harlow. I’ll leave it as that as I know some people won’t be able to have a good debate and instead get offended if views differ from theirs

Nicholas Taylor
2022-06-18 15:24:07

J, the simple fact is that you cannot just rock up into another area and go on the Council's waiting list, you have to have a "local connection" which may well mean for instance that you have to live in the area for 5 years. What about those on low incomes, people who are unable to work, those that need specialist accommodation? People on Council waiting lists are not on it through choice, it is because there are not affordable or indeed any alternatives. The history of publicly owned housing dates back over 100 years, the private sector never meets demand, its the way that house prices stay high and bigger profits can be made. Lets not forget that even in Harlow, the number of council homes is less than a quarter, back in 1980's it was over three quarters. There are hundreds of people in this town having to share a home with people they don't know, others in rabbit hutch sized homes in office conversions, that is the real housing crisis.

JD
2022-06-18 19:15:12

According to here: https://uksocialhousing.com/properties/HARLOW There are 12,100 registered social housing properties in HARLOW. The same source has Epping = 942, Chelmsford = 9,390. I have no idea where this 3x more than surrounding areas come from, but it is irrelevant. If the need is for 5000 social housing in Harlow, then that is what needs to be built. I think Nick is right about this document. It is all "possible", "could", "potential" - there is nothing definite about it. No plan as to where to relocate any existing, just vague "relocate to somewhere".

James Leppard
2022-06-18 21:27:16

JD the source you mention and figures are as shown. However, the site shows 924 for Epping. However, the district is Epping Forest District Council. If you check under the separate towns: Loughton, Buckhurst Hill, Chigwell, Waltham Abbey, you will see they have many more. They also have a significantly larger population. More comparable to Harlow in terms of population are Broxbourne and Stevenage, both of which have fewer social housing units. We also need to consider that Harlow has a high population density so scope for building is limited.

James Leppard
2022-06-18 21:37:09

JD the source you mention and figures are as shown. However, the site shows 924 for Epping. However, the district is Epping Forest District Council. If you check under the separate towns: Loughton, Buckhurst Hill, Chigwell, Waltham Abbey, you will see they have many more. They also have a significantly larger population. More comparable to Harlow in terms of population are Broxbourne and Stevenage, both of which have fewer social housing units. We also need to consider that Harlow has a high population density so scope for building is limited. Harlow Council has announced a Council house building programme.

Theman
2022-06-19 15:37:58

I think they have forgotten the old Gilby building is in that area and it is listed.

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