Letter to Editor: Tye Green residents concerned over future of Fountain Farm
News / Fri 8th Jul 2022 am31 07:48am
A MEETING took place on 20th June regarding the Fountain Farmhouse Tye Green Village.
The senior housing officer, two other housing officers, Councillor Dan Swords and four representatives from the Tye Green Village and Primrose Field residents group attended.
Thanks to the council officers for giving their time and Dan Swords for facilitating this meeting.
Dan has given us a lot of his time.
We have been dealing with this issue for months now on behalf of the resident group since we became aware that the house was to be refurbished after many years of neglect and a few years with no occupant.
We were pleased to hear this and hoped that it would be restored to its proper listed state according to English Heritage.
We were concerned to learn it was to be used as a council house for someone from the waiting list.
What they described as “A sensitive let to a suitable tenant”?
The residents group objected to this proposal, for the following reasons.
It will cost a fortune to refurbish depending on the quality of finish.
The council will fund this through its budget for maintenance. We ask should so much be spent on one property when other council homes need funds. We think it unfair to other tenants. There was an extensive expensive refurbishment some years ago.
Local professionals estimate its value in its current condition at circa £ 400,000. (unseen but based on current house prices)
We now learn planning and listed building consent has been given increasing its value.
We think the house should be sold to a private buyer who will bear the renovation costs. Council officers disagreed as a property would be lost from the housing stock at a time when there is a long waiting list.
Not unreasonable until we learn that the tenant would be eligible for Right to buy. Buying at a reduced value and then able to sell on at a later date for profit. So potentially it will be lost to the housing stock anyway.
Shouldn’t council tax payers get the maximum profit?
Funds accrued from a sale to a private buyer plus the saving of renovation costs would enable the building of more than one new council property, increasing the stock and giving more tenants a home.
Old houses are expensive to maintain new property less so, more savings for the council. New houses are “greener” benefitting the environment.
Can a council tenant afford to live in the house, estimated annual cost at today’s prices for rent, council tax, fuel circa. £20000 pa. generally council tenants aren’t high earners.
We would be happy to hear the views of other residents. This is not just a Tye Green Village issue it’s a wider Harlow issue.
We have given a huge amount of time to this and now feel, if in agreement with our views, other residents could take this forward. Let Harlow Council Housing Dept know what you think.
It's hard enough to get the council to do any repairs on council properties, why on earth would they waste money on this eyesore.
Just don't knock it down.
It can’t be knocked down is grade 2 listed. To restore it according to English Heritage listing standard will cost a huge amount of money. It will also cost a lot of money to maintain in future. It needs an owner who can afford to renovate it properly to become an asset not an eyesore. These costs shouldn’t be for hard pressed council tax payers they should benefit from its sale
I would have thought the the HRA business planning process would absolutely point towards this property being sold and the receipts being used to rebuild at least 2 new council homes elsewhere or on some of the land this property is on if it is big enough to split off. I would like the see the detailed business case for keeping it as although I don’t know the details it does seem to fly in the face of common sense and good asset management by the council. As another person commented the new build could be made to be much more energy efficient and low cost for new tenants to afford.
Its a lovely house, I wish to buy it,and it should be for sale. I will be 1st one to put offer on. As a council house would be a waste of money.
This was the list - since vandals entered I’m sure there’s more - Various works to address structural and damp issues including underpinning, repositioning boiler and flue, staircase handrail replacement, sanitaryware replacement, new flooring, overhaul existing roof replacing defective lead flashing, gutter repairs, brick repointing, new RWPs, repair and replace fascias, render some external walls, window replacement, injecting new DPC, overhaul front door and frame, replace feather boarding, and new gabion cages.
I think the preferred option for Fountains Farmhouse would to sell to a private buyer, who would then bear the cost of renovating the property. This would save Harlow Council money, and they would also make a profit from the sale.
How about a Costa or McDonald's conversion the locals would flock there in their dozens for burgers or coffee
..or a lovely country pub the Tye green village Inn...Ah I can see it now beautifully restored a friendly landlord good natured clientele who are respectful to the village locals and save throwing up until they reach the cycle track 😂
...or how about a replacement venue for the much missed 'Square'... The Newtown neurotics could do a Friday night residency all the locals could headbang to 'kick out the Tories!'👍