Letter to Editor: Why was my son taken off Harlow housing list?

Politics / Sun 17th Jul 2022 at 09:00am

Dear Editor,

I saw the story regarding Harlow Council buying land and building housing for Harlow residents. 

My son put his name down on the housing list 17 years ago and has just become a father.

He went to the council to find out the housing situation and was told he is no longer on the list. 

I have little faith in Harlow Council housing department and feel this could be another red herring.

Many years ago, the MP (1997-2010) Bill Rammell said everyone that the people born in Harlow would be looked after. 

I am sorry but I am unable to get excited with Harlow Council.


Graham Northcott

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39 Comments for Letter to Editor: Why was my son taken off Harlow housing list?:

Mel Goddard
2022-07-17 09:45:32

I've been on list since I was 16 now 39 I went to council to update details and was told they could no longer find my details I've had to start the process all over again it's so frustrating and unfair ,

Kim Taylor
2022-07-17 09:58:06

My son was on list for 12 years and because I briefly moved out of Harlow and he had no choice to come with me or be homeless the council has removed him and told to start application again and also wont allow his son to go on it as his has not been to court to have 50% custody even though he has them at my house from 4pm Friday to 7pm Sunday every weekend… fuming with Harlow council

Netty Fisher
2022-07-17 09:58:29

I had the same thing happen to me but It was 20 years ago. After 10 years of waiting i contacted Harlow Council to find i had been taken off for no reason. Lucky for me they put me back on the list and backdated my application. I was offered a place 6 weeks later. Lets hope your son gets a place.

Kim Oconnor
2022-07-17 10:00:52

Harlow council???? Dan swords said his building hundreds and hundreds of council houses, are theses going to people born here. ?? 5000 WAITING ON HOUSING,IN THIS TOWN. you should of built for theses people first. Your priority seems to be , build thousands and thousands of unaffordable housing estates, that most of us carnt afford. It's a land grab, greedy, profit thing pure and simple, with no thought of people waiting in this town.

Peter. self
2022-07-17 10:18:41

I lived in Essex but not Harlow and I put my name on a housing list 52 years ago. I still haven’t heard anything!!

Ian G
2022-07-17 10:24:50

I lived with my parents until I was gone 30. I was like a modern day Timothy Lumsden from Sorry.

Mrs M Cast
2022-07-17 10:31:00

I put my sons name on the waiting list when he was 16 was told then he would probably have to wait 17years but like everyone else when we got in touch as he was reaching 30 was told he had been taken off the list At the time I was furious with them as the way I see it if your a young man and you do not wish to get married your penalised And all the new builds are priced out of reach foe someone on their own

Michael Hardware
2022-07-17 10:32:48

Kim, these houses are for people on the Harlow housing list, no one else. We don’t spend that amount of money to house people from other areas! The housing list is operated under a strict set of rules depending upon need.

2022-07-17 10:50:34

Michael you just spend spend spend and grant planning permissions overloading the town and surroundings areas with people who have never lived in Harlow but just happen to be able to pay for the privilege or have been dumped unwilling in places like Terminal (Terminus) House by other local authorities. Wasn't it the Conservative or Labour or both plan to add 132000 homes to make Harlow a mini city? Something 99.9 % of us residents simply don't want . One rule for the partygate rich and another for the rest of us. Let's have a strict rule that in future you can't move here unless your closest family has lived here for 20 years and or if you were brought up here for 20 years. Might be a better strict rule than the present ones!

2022-07-17 10:53:44

And meanwhile last week Harlow Council accepts being paid off by developers a £180,000 not to build affordable housing!!!

James Leppard
2022-07-17 11:02:02

Nostradamus, if you are saying nobody should be able to move unless their closest family (not defined) has lived here for 20 years, then that would be completely illegal. Anybody who wishes to purchase a property here is entitled to do so; just as you are free to move anywhere in the UK without restriction. What you propose is an Orwellian nightmare seeking to curtail individual freedom and choice.

Rena Bilsland
2022-07-17 11:21:20

My sons were born in Harlow and had no chance of getting property I went to meetings that Bill Rammell chaired and he was all mouth no action houses were given to people from other towns

2022-07-17 11:55:43

Precisely James, exactly what the Council is doing to restrict who can carry on living here close to close family. Can't you see that all I did was change the group labels mirroring the tory policy that prevents our children staying here and drafts in fat cat tory voters fleeing London and fills the pockets of the developers who are shoring up the Conservative party! Our youngsters sons and daughters forced out of the town by the Council's Orwellian Engineering of the population. When our son's and daughters and their families are forced out it has a knock on effect. Communities are broken up and the cost to the public purse care and health sectors ramp up because of the loss of families being able to share care for children, the vulnerable and the elderly increase exponentially! Harlow has been set up as the fall guys to facilitate hggt Gilston by Hrrts and Epping Councils. We will get all the traffic, rubbish, congestion and pollution and East Herts green villages they made very clear in their planning submissions will be far superior to urbanised Harlow.

2022-07-17 11:59:50

Nostradamus do you mean your not free to live here unless you've extremely rich or have been dumped here by another Tory Council?

2022-07-17 12:03:42

I think that's what James says and I think that's what he means. The consequences are social Engineering of the ballot box by wallet, with the aim of shipping in Tory voters.

2022-07-17 12:05:41

Harlow council - those whom via there birth certificate are able to provide proof of birth in Harlow should be a priority for affordable housing here wether that be as a council tenant or with a housing association or to buy one of the new builds, there should be some loyalty deployed here. It is very true that the grandparents & parents of todays young adults of Harlow were indeed assured their future generations would have quality affordable homes . Why have the housing department been allowed to ‘ loose’ these housing applications my son has also been told to start again, he joined the housing list at 18 - 19 years ago.

Nicholas Taylor
2022-07-17 12:22:34

If ever there was a need for local hustings during the year or indeed in the period leading up to local elections this article demonstrates why. Pre 2002, seven local area committees were held across the town every few weeks where residents could ask questions of Councillors and listen to debates before decisions were made by the Council. Not very interesting one might say but the fact is hundreds of residents did get involved. People have given up on politics and politicians because they do not have an outlet for their opinions except in these pages and receive no feedback from consultations. carried out by the Council. This article alone raises a lot of issues, to many to respond in a comment.

2022-07-17 12:53:57

If you're a single man with no kids you've absolutely no chance, harlow council house people with kids before anyone else and vulnerable people, the way it should be

2022-07-17 13:06:00

Harlow ruddy council I think you need some sort of inspection similar to the health service and schools, pretty sure you would be placed in special measures. Harlow residents deserve so much more, it’s very hard to hear all this crap let alone live it. Now to add to the long list of deprivation in this town you can’t or won’t provide Harlow born and bred a roof over their head. Well I think these people on the council waiting list need an award for wanting to remain in this shit show of a town.

Daniel Long
2022-07-17 14:07:18

This proves that this current Tory administration party of Harlow is giving priority all those from London when it comes to the Harlow housing list. Neither The former Labour administration party of Harlow and the current Tory administration party of Harlow put the number of Harlow first and that is the people of Harlow. By giving those fro..London priority when it comes to housing in Harlow puts more strain on the health service here in Harlow which under enough pressure, the schools here in Harlow and infastructure here Harlow. This is the reason, none of them get mine or my wives support or our votes

James Leppard
2022-07-17 14:22:34

Nostradamus, I think you are letting your imagination run wild. How do you know if the people moving here are from London and whether they vote Tory? In fact, London is probably the strongest Labour area in the country. People can vote as they wish and buy property and live where they wish. That is the essence of a free society. Harlow, through its strategic location is attracting more high tech companies that need high skilled workforce’s. This will offer opportunities for qualified local residents and attract people from outside. I do find it somewhat hypocritical that people complain about people from other parts moving here, when the New Town brought a huge influx of outsiders into what were largely rural villages and hamlets. That said, I do think Council housing should be given to local people. Harlow is very densely populated. We really need our District boundaries to expand or merge with another authority in order to be able to build more without intensifying the level of population density.

Nicholas Taylor
2022-07-17 15:24:35

Its a shame that it is left to a Councillor like James Leppard to respond to comments. Harlow Council's press officer should be explaining who and how people can go on the waiting list. What is of great surprise to me as a former manager at the Council is that it takes up to 16 weeks to get registered! The situation residents find themselves in will not be solved by the building of tens of thousands of homes in and around the town because in the main they are not ones that people can afford, whether renting or buying, that is why they are applying to the Council.

David Forman
2022-07-17 17:36:10

Reading some of the comments on this reminds of the film Deliverance starring Burt Reynolds. Someone could make a lot of money in this town if they opened a shop selling banjos and rocking chairs.

2022-07-18 05:00:03

A few years ago they changed from just being on the list to having to bid every single week on properties. He probably got the letter then forgot about it.

2022-07-18 06:23:37

Unfortunately the housing list rules changed many years ago unfortunately just by someone having their name on a housing list and just leaving it at that is no good anymore, things change all the time so when any council updates their housing list ( timeframe for updating unknown ) and a certain group of names crop up as having no contact with said council for whatever amount of time eg.years they are automatically removed from the housing list, unfair or unjust or morally wrong it’s the times we live in now, so I suggest to anyone on any housing list wherever you live please don’t just sit back and wait to be offered a council dwelling keep in contact with your council about your housing needs every 4/6 months don’t be put off by their confusing answers and figures or give up trying ( because that’s what councils rely on people giving up so they can balance their books ) so chin up and fight on.

2022-07-18 07:00:17

You have to renew your requirements every two years to stay on the housing list other use it is assumed you no longer have a need.

Kim Oconnor
2022-07-18 09:13:24

Michael Hardware, is this true, you don't house people from other areas just want that confirmed???? It's not a question of not letting other people live here, but with the housing needs at 5OOO, you have to sort out people that live here first. Please answer my question.

2022-07-18 09:35:33

James how come we have a Conservative MP and Council then? The evidence of the demographic in census data and the prices of homes here and in the villages (unaffordable for most of those who actually live here) shows that it's those and those like those that are getting out of London who are and who have moved here. They do have a greater influence than numbers because they tend to vote, local politicians have so let down locals and their children that moved here into Council homes in the 1950s to 1980s that they tend not to vote. The breakdown in local democratic processes and the closure of neighbourhood offices Nicholas describes was the coffin lid and actions since progressively punched nail after nail into it. The only league table where Harlow is in the top league is of the most disadvantaged towns in England 71st atm. We have watched a vibrant town fall apart, the town centre saw M&S, Woolworths, the Coop, etc etc etc leavec long before online shopping,all the social fabric destoryed as the many social clubs like The Maypole closed as major employersleftb, youth clubs closed, The Square closed, affordable Olympic swimming pool and Sports Centre closed to be replaced by a LeisureZone most can't afford, the largest Football amateur league in Europe gone, velodrome and ski slope gone, Stort Valley recreational space and ecology about to be destroyed despite climate change, pot hole paradise etc and the Council hasn't listened. My early point about priority being given to long time residents families who are/ were Council tenants was that they are being discriminated against and outsiders who happen to have vastly benefited from selling property at vastly greater prices in typically London are given the opportunity to live here because the council and government decides to facilitate building of private property that our children cannot afford rather than Council or Social or Affordable housing. Eg last week accepting £180,000 backhander to allow a developer duck out of building 6 affordable homes. Harlow Council has had a "we know best" attitude for years and the response of most who don't vote is "They never listen " and these are serious evidence of failure. What is the response of our Council, to throw out all of the principles of the Gibberd plan, build high rise rabbit hutches for the workers, build major roads into the town from the East and North and overload the town and then on top promote hggt and an additional 132000 homes, a mini city. Madness. And so it goes on.. What the Council does doesn't match what residents want or need....

2022-07-18 09:43:00

James bigger is not better. You can't double the load on a well designed parachute without a disaster happening. If you want to live in a city then move out!

Adam Osen
2022-07-18 09:52:14

Margaret Thatcher forced Local Authorities to sell their council housing, which may have been a good policy, but then banned them from using the money to build more homes, which was almost certainly a bad policy. Unfortunately Tony Blair’s Governments don’t appear to have reversed this. Local Authorities are virtually powerless unless this Government policy is reduced. They can brag about building tens of homes in response to a crisis which needs thousands. That’s a sticking plaster on a broken leg. There are ways of building at least hundreds, if not thousands of top quality affordable homes, but no council anywhere seems to want to adopt a pragmatic approach, so here we are. Homes are not a thing people have a right to, a place to live, they’re a commodity to be traded, if you don’t have the money, tough. While Tories are in Government that will not change, the market is their answer for everything. The first step is a Labour Government, but then that Labour Government need to go further than Tony Blair’s Government. In the meantime Local Authorities need to go further, but they won’t.

Maria Sosa
2022-07-18 10:00:27

@Nostradamus: I think in your post you are mixing years of incompetence of Labour’s failed administration, and making the current administration responsible for this. Plus, if I were you, I would check better the background of people before accusing them of anything.

James Leppard
2022-07-18 12:40:00

Dear Nostradamus, I will try to address your points seriatim: 1. I believe we have a Conservative MP and Council because the electorate voted for them. In fact, at the last GE, Rob Halfon won an outright majority over Labour and the LibDems combined. 2. I think you will find that Harlow has around 70% owner occupation. I would like to see it increase as it is important for people to have a genuine stake on their communities. Harlow property prices have risen, no doubt, but are still comparatively cheaper than neighbouring districts. I know that is small comfort to those on the Council waiting list, but after many years under Labour, this administration is committed to building Council houses for Harlow residents and has made a number of recent announcements to this effect, e.g. Tye Green, Old Lister House site. This is the most ambitious council house building programme in a generation. 3. Any UK, Irish or Commonwealth citizen aged 18 or over may vote. It is a right and not an obligation. If people choose not to exercise this right, it is a matter for them. Thanks 4. As for decline in the town, I tend to agree with many of your points. My parents moved here from London in 1962. I remember only too well the vibrant and bustling town centre (The High) that attracted shoppers from far and wide, the excellent swimming pool and Sports Centre and the expansive football re recreational league, etc. This is why the current administration is undertaking the biggest town centre regeneration to set about reviving the town’s fortunes after decades of waste, inaction and neglect. 5. As for potholes, a Cabinet post has been created precisely for this purpose to engage proactively with Essex CC. 6. I agree that Council housing should be assigned to Harlow residents. Another group worthy of support are Harlow ex armed forces personnel. 7. As for HGGT, well this was a project adopted by the previous Labour administration and set down in their Harlow Development Plan Dec 2020. This administration merely inherited this legacy. Clearly, new build projects in the North and East of the town are attracting demand and being sold (developers do not build properties to stand empty). I know a good number of Harlow residents who are selling their current properties to buy a new place in Newhall, for example, so say that these new builds are for ‘outsiders’ only is simply not true. Any one buying a property and setting up home here is a Harlow resident, just as those who came here in the 1950s and 1960s. I think to discriminate is totally wrong and does not foster social cohesion.

James Leppard
2022-07-18 13:30:20

Dear Nostradamus, The eastward expansion of Harlow District to the M11 took place on 1 October 1989 under The Essex (District Boundaries) Order 1989. This was mostly privately owned farmland, which since has seen the developments of Church Langley and Newhall neighbourhoods, primarily under local Labour Council administrations. Therefore, your claims that this is some type of sinister Tory ‘social engineering’ has no basis. These neighbourhoods, just like the newer areas of Sumners and Katherines are integral parts of Harlow like any other. Surely, the overriding objective is to integrate our communities.

2022-07-18 14:28:53

I find it staggering peolpe like Nostradamus and Kim Oconner are making comments on YourHarlow articles stating 'outsiders' shouldn't be allowed to move here. I fully expect one of them to make a Trump-esque 'build a wall around harlow' remark next. By the way...I'm one of those 'outsider' boogey-men you speak of; I moved here not too long ago, to the estate that now occupies the old ski-slope. Doing so has afforded me the opportunity to get on the property ladder and start a family, just as (presumably) your parents did, back when thousands upon thousands of new homes were built on open, green-belt fields to create Harlow as it is now. But you want to deny that same opportunity we enjoyed, to new potential residents beacuse 'they're better off than you'? Disgusting hypocrisy, and absolutely smacks of bitterness and jealousy!!

John M
2022-07-18 16:10:34

The issue of the waiting list only applies to Council properties and hence obviously the problem is the lack of such properties available. I have lived in a Council house since 1974, but when I look outside my front door of the 40 odd houses I can see approx 10 of those still belong to the Council and of the remaining 30 approx 8 are owned by private landlords. Maggie Thatcher is the cause of this selling off Council housing, this housing should have been retained for people not in a position to buy and not as a means for people and private landlords to make money from Council assets.

James Leppard
2022-07-18 16:20:54

Matt makes a very fair point. Any one can move here and buy a property in the same way that people from Harlow have moved to other parts. I fail to see this as an issue. Harlow, like other towns is changing. Hopefully, after many years of relative decline, we will now begin to see improvement with Town Centre regeneration and attracting more investment leading to skilled and well-paid employment. These are the ways the town will up its game. We have a fantastic strategic location on the London-Cambridge corridor, great road and rail links. We want to attract good companies and qualified people to build and sustain a strong local economy. Many people leave Harlow for leisure and entertainment and shopping. The town centre is dismal in every regard. Other towns and cities have undertaken highly imaginative and successful regeneration programmes in well-structured partnerships. Harlow can do the same.

Kim Oconnor
2022-07-18 18:31:31

Matt, firstly we are talking about council properties. Secondly no one has said that people from out side carnt come here, but those people will buy like your good self, the people, the 5OOO here waiting for council properties s, should be address first, other wise this so called waiting list will not go down anytime soon. We are talking about council houses. I live in a council house, but we are all so landlords, we let our flat out through Harlow council, to give theses people a home, while waiting for there rightfull home to come up. So your last nasty comments are un called for.

2022-07-31 09:06:45

I don’t understand how someone can be a council tenant whilst owning a property, surely that can’t be right.

2022-07-31 09:07:46

I don’t understand how someone can be a council tenant whilst owning a property, surely that can’t be right.

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