Why has business case for former Osler House Surgery gone over £400,000?

News / Wed 3rd Aug 2022 at 09:38am

THE CHAIR of the Potter Street Residents Association has questioned why the costs associated in a business case for the former Osler House Surgery have nearly doubled.

Colin Thorpe asked Councillor Steve LeMay (Portfolio Holder for HTS, Properties and Facilities – with special responsibility for the roads):

“In relation to Osler House, why in a question asked by Mr Allan Leverett of The Harlow Alliance party and answered by Councillor Swords July 2021 who stated the Council was fully behind the project of the creation of a Wellbeing Hub which would be an asset to the community no progress has been made?

Reply from Councillor Steve LeMay (Portfolio Holder for HTS, Properties and Facilities – with special responsibility for the roads):

There was a £220k budget allocated to the works. The HTS business case for the planned works shows that this cost has nearly doubled. As such the council has asked the Osler House group for a revised business case to reflect this. Once this revised business case has been reviewed, we will meet with the group.

The full exchange can be found below.

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6 Comments for Why has business case for former Osler House Surgery gone over £400,000?:

David Forman
2022-08-03 09:55:28

Nice to see members of the public challenging the Council, especially when the Labour Group are not providing an effective opposition.

2022-08-03 10:12:43

Too many fingers in the pie??

Bruce Downey
2022-08-03 10:39:10

Since the multi-million refurbishment of so-called improvements! HTS has let it go to rack & ruin, management should be ashamed of themselves.

2022-08-03 11:46:19

I am surprised by the figure of £400k to refurbish this building. Maybe we should approach a private local builder or developer to get a comparable quote.

gary roberts
2022-08-03 13:42:15

I did right to Cllr. Perrin last week. The email content is below: Dear Cllr. Perrin, I hope you are well. I approach you in your capacity as the leader of Harlow Council following my question and supplementary to you at the full council meeting back in early February this year. You assured me that the regeneration of Harlow in general and Potter Street in particular was the core objective of your administration. Sadly in respect of Potter Street and the well being hub nothing has been forthcoming. Indeed despite your words on the night that specifically stated: "However, the Council is working with local residents to deliver a new Potter Street Health and Community Hub. This has been supported by the Council’s staff to get this over the line. I am informed refurbishment work will start soon on the site," I can confirm that nothing has happened since February by either the council or HTS to move this project forward. Please could you explain why? Surely you as the leader of the council can get officers to act, otherwise your assurances given to me in February are worthless and shows a clear lack of commitment to getting the well being hub in Potter Street up and running. These services in my community are needed now after four years without any form of medical provision. My recent meetings with the WECCG and the lead officer of the new integrated body, Dr. Jane Halpin, has confirmed they are fully behind the development of the well being hub and in providing some medical provision. If I can achieve this commitment as a concerned resident you as the leader of the council can tell your officers' to get the refurbishment completed so the creation of the hub can move forward. If not then where can the residents' go to improve the town and specifically Potter Street in this case. It is time to act on this project by the council and delaying it will show your words were just warm in nature with no authority behind them. Please start acting in the interests of my community in Potter Street. I look forward to a prompt response with a commitment to do, rather than pontificate. Keep well and stay safe. Yours sincerely Gary Roberts To date I have not received a reply sadly.

2022-08-04 10:58:04

Why do services to the community ever have to make a business case, in this case it's putting a price on services at the cost of the public good. Investment by government in projects such a this vastly reduce the demands on the public purse, relieve stresses on the nhs, cut suicide rates, drug use and crime. Focusing on businesses profit and loss in terms of the immediate bottom line is the kind of approach that sets us on a slippery downward slope to a USA health no care system "by stealth" ( both a Thatcherite and Blairite policy) and the dismantling of the welfare state. £440k is peanuts these days especially compared with the potential savings such facilities bring. Councils and governments seem to know the price of everything and the cost of nothing, and where assets do provide income Councils and Government quickly give them away, often to the private sector. In the wider local picture Not building J7a, or all of the failed developments along the A414 and using other more effective strategies could fund far better community and transport solutions. Or perhaps Lottery money might be better spent on projects such as this and grassroots for everyone rather than funding the extremely rich FA and other mega rich sports to produce elite athletes for a few gold medals. With the attitudes today, "business rules" , if applied in 1940s one doubts Harlow would ever have been built.

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