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Harlow Town Centre: Plans for over 500 homes back in front of the planning committee

News / Sun 23rd Oct 2022 am31 10:11am

A MAJOR development that would see a total transformation of the town centre in Harlow is back in front of the planning committee.

The site is a mainly disused and part demolished section of Harlow Town Centre, formerly in
retail and commercial use.

Its extent is defined by Kitson Way and Joseph Rank House to the west, Market Square / Stone Cross, East Gate and the former Odeon theatre to the north, Broad Walk to the east and the Harvey Centre (with a pedestrian entrance) to the south.

West Gate adjoins and then runs through the western part of the site into West Square / West Walk (mostly as adopted Public Highway). West Walk is the route into the northern entrance to the Harvey Centre

The original application in April 2021 (outline application for 837 dwellings / up to 27
storeys) has been subject to substantial amendment.

There was a re-submission and a new consultation in December 2021 (outline application for 678 dwellings / up to 24 storeys). The proposals were then further amended and consulted on in August 2022.

This latest amendment is to change to a hybrid form of application (with the full element covering
Blocks A and C1 and surrounding public realm – see below) and also to reduce the height of
the two towers to 16 storeys (and consequently the dwellings to 578).

There have been a number of responses to the application.

Support

Matt Dixon: Torkildsen Way

The northern end of the town has been in decline for a number of years, and desperately needs investment. Looking at social media photos of the area from the 60s, it’s clear to see that virtually nothing has changed over the numerous decades.

It’s now decrepit, unloved and stuck in the past, and that’s the impression people get…by looking at
this area – that no one cares. So why then should the general public care about the area?

Why should people visit here? Why should businesses invest here?

The plans outlined here, whilst admittedly a tad excessive on residential units, go… a long
way to reversing the decline and creating a new leisure destination in the town centre that
people will use, despite the social media moaning. It’s also worth noting the incorporation of
a large amount of greenery will massively help break up the concrete monotony surrounding
the site. Whilst also providing a much more pleasant environment to just sit and relax on a
nice day, that I for one would use.

To reject this application is to effectively signal that it’s not worth the time, effort and money
to comprehensively redevelop any major sites in the northern end of the town. However,
allowing this could help signal further private investment needed on the other sites, a useful
solution to the problem of ownership and funds on the Council’s part.

I encourage you to approve the plans, albeit with whatever amendments or further
discussions you see fit, but just don’t reject out of hand much needed investment to improve
the town centre.

=======================

Objections

The main body of very detailed objections can be seen in the document.

They come from:

Rapleys; for Blackraven Developments Ltd and Serex Ltd. owners of the former Odeon
Cinema, West Square, The gymnasium at Gate House West, Kitson Way and 3 car parking
spaces off Kitson Way, Harlow.

Bobby Ghadami, Blackraven Developments Ltd

Joseph Ghadami, Seres Ltd., Kitson Way

Joseph Ghadami, The Rows Harlow

Liam Jones, XFit24 t/a CrossFit, 424 Kitson Way

https://moderngov.harlow.gov.uk/documents/s21239/Final%20Report.pdf

The whole document can be seen below.

The meeting will be held on Wednesday October 26th at 7.30pm.

The venue is the Harlow Council Building in The Water Gardens.

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18 Comments for Harlow Town Centre: Plans for over 500 homes back in front of the planning committee:

gary roberts
2022-10-23 10:51:23

"If this scheme was delivered according to the Local Plan policies it would deliver over 250 affordable housing units yet instead the scheme is to deliver no affordable housing at all." Would the current council agree with the developers' that no affordable [social or council] housing would be included in the scheme? Sadly, I suspect so! I would want 50% of the scheme to be council housing to start housing some of those five thousand people needing homes. That will not happen because you need a strong backbone and a commitment and conviction to deliver it.

novoman
2022-10-23 11:30:38

The town centre is one of the highest spots in the town, it seems the planners and Council are ignorant of basic physics, town planning development and are throwing out of the window the still highly relevant, respected and now being copied around the world, design principles that Sir Frederick Gibberd created to build Harlow. The physics, high rise buildings generate wind, unpleasant in normal weather, dangerous in storms. High rise developments, high density residential buildings built in the 1950s in various towns failed and many were demolished, many became slums. High rise only succeeded in city centres that are exceptional centres for entertainment, shopping, tourism not in country towns that don't have such "assets". Harlow Council is forcing the exodus of our future, our sons and daughters and is intent on bringing in refugees London, commuters with no connection to the town at all, in the simple hopes that making property developers still richer will improve life in Harlow and bring life back into the high street. After many years of trying to bring life back into the High Street, it's time to realise the patient is dead. Failure to recognize other patterns of shopping from online to out of town shopping centres have taken over is repeating the same action and expecting a different outcome, first sign of madness. We need low rise social housing with gardens and greater support to bring industries to the town that will transform lives, just as happened when Harlow was first built. When those principles were abandoned about 40 or 50 years ago the decline set in, these rabbit hutch high rise development are yet another nail

All talk no action harlow
2022-10-23 14:42:29

haha all talk no action harlow... 42 years and still no HARLOW NORTH

Nicholas Taylor
2022-10-23 15:25:21

The Harlow Alliance Party have for the last three years or so been warning of what both the Labour and Tory administration at Harlow Council have plans for the Town Centre, This development is only one of many that have already been agreed, Kitson Way car park, Market House, Terminus Street and others that will turn the town centre into a high rise housing estate. As Gary points out after spending thousands of hours to complete it's Local Plan, a figure of 30% for affordable housing was set. The plan set out in this article like others has none. This effectively means that at the end of the Local Plan period, thousands of private homes will be built but few for those most in need, that is, those who cannot afford to buy. The developers should be told that they should only bring forward schemes that do have 30% affordable homes and are of a height similar to those nearby. Building homes for commuters does nothing to help those of us already living here and the amount of new retail space only matches that which has or will be demolished, but will have flat blocks of up to 16 storeys on top of them.

Harlow resident
2022-10-23 15:42:52

As you can see this town will always be 💩 And the council is still gutless to the gadhami From the above objection There is nothing here But a poxy shopping centre

Theman
2022-10-23 15:50:29

Who would live in this development and why? Probably not a question the developers have pondered. I don’t think Primark and McDonalds are going to bring in the type of people who could afford to live there. The project would probably fail half way through and we would be left with a bigger building site for a town Center than we have at the moment.

Resident
2022-10-23 17:09:28

Making more space for London councils to get rid of their undesirables they do not want and our council to tick a box and say they have provided housing. We need more drs, schools, swimming pools and other facilities if you want to grow the area.

Annie
2022-10-23 17:47:51

No, How dare you, This is our Town Centre all your doing is making it yet another housing estate. HOW ABOUT ASKING US THE RESIDENTS OF HARLOW WHAT WE ACTUALLY WANT IN OUR TOWN CENTRE!!!!!

Mike
2022-10-23 17:54:16

apparently the owners/developers of the land where the odeon,polish supermarket, dominos,etc sit ran out of money and they are all on very short leases, little walk as it was known is little more than a jungle now and it wouldn't surprise me if it still looks the same in 20 years time, oh well off to westfield Stratford for shopping tomorrow, harlow I'm affraid has nothin to offer in its current state.

Puzzled
2022-10-23 19:24:04

I surprised that Blackraven and Serex are stated as owners because both companies are shown as dormant at Companies House

Nicholas Taylor
2022-10-23 19:24:36

In response to Annie, the fact is the Council did consult with residents, whoops I mean that 200 to 300 affected individuals and businesses nearby, not across the whole town. Similar to the consultation which took place with the proposals for the area around the Playhouse when there was a response rate of less than 2%, which the council said was an endorsement for their plan. We can all agree that the town needs a complete overhaul but we needed a meaningful consultation exercise with residents to include public meetings across the whole town, discussing the matter with the many resident associations and other groups in order to come to some sort of consensus. We in HAP believe Broad Walk should be roofed over through it's entire length, the whole shop frontage could be modernised (taking a leaf out of what was done in Romford many years ago), a new larger theatre, music venue and exhibition centre placed where Market House is now situated, Market Square would become an outdoor venue for events and any new building being low rise. As things stand, as with the former Square site, areas will lay dormant for many more years gaining in value year on year whilst in the meantime we go of to Brookfield Farm and Lakeside.

Theman
2022-10-23 21:28:32

Bye bye town Center. You really can not make it up any more. Though I must confess to not visiting he town Center in the last 3 months as I have misplaced my stab vest

David
2022-10-24 07:59:56

We don’t need to ask you because WE KNOW BEST.

Kim Oconnor
2022-10-24 08:39:38

They learn nothing. Chuck enough money at them, they will do what there told.

jarrett
2022-10-24 09:08:21

Puzzled, Both active according to companies house.

Mr Grumpy
2022-10-24 10:04:59

The town centre is a "retail" area. Should we point the developers to a dictionary so they know what the word "retail" actually means?

Tap66
2022-10-24 18:05:01

How about more council houses, and supporting infrastructure first and maybe some half decent places for people to interact with/visit. The last thing Harlow needs is more thugs from other cities overspill.

David Forman
2022-10-25 10:18:47

Harlow Council officers agreed with the independent study that said that the viability of the scheme was "uncertain" and therefore justified zero affordable housing. Typical Labour luvvie Gary Roberts gets his figures wrong for the number of affordable housing units if the development was built according to the Local Plan. 30 percent of 578 equates to 173 units. Just like Chris Vince, Gary Roberts doesn't do detail. If he did, he would have noticed that the original number of 837 units had been scaled back to 578. The Council's report pack includes Officer's comments relevant to the original application of 837 units which Gary cut and pasted. No wonder we shouldn't let Labour near the reins of power locally or nationally.

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