Questions raised whether UK Health Agency will ever move to Harlow?
Business / Fri 23rd Sep 2022 am30 09:14am
THE UK Health Security Agency, formerly Public Health England has issued a statement following questions regarding whether they are ever going to move to Harlow.
It is seven years since the then chancellor of the exchequer came to the former site of GSK in The Pinnacles to announce that PHE will be coming to the town.
However, local politicians and readers have expressed their concerns over the future of the site.
Director General, Strategy, Policy and Programmes at the UK Health Security Agency, Scott McPherson said: “The Harlow site remains an important part of UKHSA’s wider plans for the future of health security.
As the agency looks to finalise its strategy for the long-term future of all science facilities, the focus for the Harlow programme has been on completing early enabling works on site to prepare for construction, while continuing design and programme development work.”
The leader of the Harlow Alliance Party, Nick Taylor has expressed his concerns over the future of the site.
Mr Taylor said: “Back in 2017 the Government spent £25 million to buy the former GSK site at The Pinnacles in order to re-locate Public Health England to Harlow. This move was described as an important plank in the Councils Local Development Plan and strategic development of the town for the next 20 to 30 years. Cllr Ingall described it as probably the most important development in Harlow since Harlow existed.
Nothing has been heard of this planned move since the boss of the National Institute for Health Protection, which took over Public Heath England, said some fourteen months ago that she was going to review the decision to move to Harlow. Work on the site seems to have stopped many months ago and indeed it the website describing this development has not been updated since July 2020..Has the massive hole in the Governments finances due to Covid and the Cost of Living Crisis finally seen the end of any plan to move to Harlow?
“If this move does not take place it will fundamentally change the number of new homes needed in the Local Development Plans of all three Councils forming Harlow and Gilston Garden Town and this change will need to be at the heart of the review of Harlow Council’s Local Development Plan which intends to undertake in the coming months”.
The statement "The Harlow site remains an important part of UKHSA’s wider plans for the future of health security." begs a huge question as to what the phrase "an important part" will actually mean in practice. The rumours are that we going to get scaled down version of what was originally planned. The silence from the Uk Health Security Agency and our MP has done nothing quell those concerns.
The statement "The Harlow site remains an important part of UKHSA’s wider plans for the future of health security." begs a huge question as to what the phrase "an important part" will actually mean in practice. The rumours are that we are going to get a scaled down version of what was originally planned. The silence from the Uk Health Security Agency and our MP has done nothing to quell those concerns.
Maybe they have realised the work that can be done at that site would be limited, due to the fact it is on top of a hill. Any work involving dangerous compounds is usually done in a valley location or preferable underground. Seems like another government plan that has not been thought out properly.
This project has been a huge waste of public money. Apart from the initial purchase of the site it has had to have continued security and maintenance since 2010 when it became vacant. It is in quite a sorry state with lost and peeling panels making the building look shabby and uncared for. It was a stunning building when first constructed and it is very sad to see it in such decline.
The boss Scott McPherson states the Harlow site is "part of UKHSA’s wider plans for the future of health security". Not a "core or fundamental" part I notice. I would not be surprised if Robert Halfon did not stand at the next general election as his boast of bring PHE to Harlow has gone up in smoke.
I think the works has been delayed for so long as it takes about a week to fully get out that guys job title every time he introduces himself for any decision. Would be interesting to know if this site is paying business rates / any commercial rates to the council otherwise it's just as useful as a piece of wasteland with no plan or permission to develop. I wonder if we can report the terrible external state of this building to the planning department as it is degrading the area. Does anybody know if they are construction considerate contractors? The only good for this site has provided since shutting down was a mock up example to make use of a terrorist training exercise by blue light services.
I have delivered building materials to this site before nothing huge, sand bags cement etc. And it's like a ghost town once inside, even as you drive round some of the builders that are onnsite are just sitting around.. really dont know what is actually going on in their..