Labour councillor exposes scandal of over 1200 roof and ceiling repairs yet to be completed by Harlow Council

News / Mon 7th Nov 2022 am30 09:50am

INVESTIGATIONS by a Harlow Labour councillor has exposed the state of roofs on a large number of Harlow Council homes in the town.

Toddbrook councillor Tony Edwards asked a number of questions at the council meeting on Thursday night.

The forensic councillor exposed that there are over 1200 outstanding roof and ceiling repairs.

His initial questions are below as is film of the question and answers.

Councillor Tony Edwards to Councillor Simon Carter (Portfolio Holder
for Housing):

As a Ward Councillor in the last three months, I have been made aware of
three major roofing repairs.

The first was a top floor flat where guttering problems have caused significant
water penetration; the repair has taken over a year to be addressed.

The second was a house where rain was pouring in through a porch way roof.
Which has not been addressed properly for several years.

The third is a house with a young family, where in August due to rain
penetration the kitchen ceiling collapsed. Where it took until the 14th of
October to get the roof temporarily sheeted and made weather tight. And
where the tenant still hasn’t been told when the roof will be permanently fixed.

Can you tell me how many Harlow Council homes are there currently where
reroofing is necessary and how long (in weeks) in the majority of such cases,
does it take from the time a problem is first referred until reroofing is

Reply from Councillor Simon Carter (Portfolio Holder for Housing):
Thank you for your questions. The Council is trying to deal with the roofing
issues in date order with a priority influence. There are 47 Houses that do not
have orders for work and 13 flat blocks. The waiting time can be anywhere
between 1 and 4 years, as the revenue and capital budgets are under so
much pressure and there are other priorities.
We do, however, expect that properties are kept watertight in between.
3 Councillor Tony Edwards to Councillor Simon Carter (Portfolio Holder
for Housing):
In addition to the three issues raised in my previous question, I have also
been made aware of a fourth outstanding repair.
The fourth is a top floor flat where a hole in the ceiling due to rain penetration
was first reported on Boxing Day of last year and where the ceiling still has
not yet been fixed
Can the relevant portfolio holder please tell me.
How many Council roofs and / or ceiling repairs are currently outstanding and
how long is it taking for such work to be completed in the majority of such
Reply from Councillor Simon Carter (Portfolio Holder for Housing):

The total number of complete roof renewals referred for the re-roofing Capital
Programme is 60, this figure includes both individual street properties and flat
blocks. The Council has identified within its Housing Capital Programme the
ongoing requirement to fund re- roofing projects as part of its Asset
Management strategy and makes an annual allocation to fund these projects.

Work is delivered through two programmes firstly through a Roof Renewal
Programme and secondly through the wider Housing Investment Programme
which scope includes roofing works. It will depend on when a property is
referred as to when the works will be delivered.

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15 Comments for Labour councillor exposes scandal of over 1200 roof and ceiling repairs yet to be completed by Harlow Council:

Kim Oconnor
2022-11-07 11:07:24

My bay window has had water and damp through it, for years. Under labour. Under conservatives. Both have said its not leaking. Paint flakes of, inside, and has done for years. None of you want to do repairs.

2022-11-07 12:48:42

My roof has been leaking for over 3 years now.All the council have done is protected the roof with a membrane and Last week the ceiling in my boys room has fallen in and is leaking stil.had to move them out of the room and the council sent a locksmith to asses the damage and still not done anything about it.

Nicholas Taylor
2022-11-07 14:00:39

The Harlow Alliance Party have been asking searching questions of Councillors for over three years now, until then very very few questions were asked by either Councillors or members of the public. Most recently we asked a question about how often council HOUSES were externally repaired and painted. I am aware that a house near me has only had such work done once in 27 YEARS. The answer I received gave details of the number done or due to be done this financial year. The outcome of this is, bearing in mind the number of council homes HDC own, it will take over 20 YEARS to be able to get such work on ever house completed. The Conservatives have said they would take action so that residents can be proud of the estate they live in. How on earth can they expect this when thousands of council house tenants see their home falling into disrepair?

View from Afar
2022-11-07 14:11:48

All the councillors are interested in is vanity projects such as approving building new homes in the Town Centre and turning it into a housing estate.

2022-11-07 15:51:53

The main problem here, I assume, is financial. The Conservative Councillors won’t admit it, of course, but the effects of austerity and the huge cuts in funding that the Tory Government of the last 12 years have presided over is now hitting home. Councils don’t have the resources to complete the repairs needed and, with more Tory cuts to come, things are only going to get worse.

2022-11-07 15:58:29

I live in a first floor flat & my bathroom ceiling has been down for over a year now. Although they stopped the leak at the time of the issue I’m struggling to get them to replace the ceiling. One plasterer came and told me I would have to move out of my property. Having been in the building trade for over 20 years I feel like repairing it myself and sending them the bill.

paul f
2022-11-07 17:02:54

surely hts have some roofers on board,saw house yesterday with black membrane over tiles and batten on top to keep it on,looks like a shanty town house,surely repairing a roof isnt that big of a deal

Sarah Pottle
2022-11-07 17:58:33

My roof has been leaking into my ceiling since September 2019. I currently have plastic sheeting and batons acting as a temporary roof. HTS in their wisdom also covered over all my guttering with plastic sheeting . This is now causing even more problems as the rainwater can’t escape down the guttering so is now pouring down my walls and windows. The original leak is still there, only now the damp patch on the ceiling is three times the original size and much darker. It’s only a matter of time before the ceiling comes in. When it’s windy the temporary roof lifts up and bangs loudly which keeps me awake at night. When it rains heavily the water cascades all down my home. It’s incredibly depressing and detrimental to my health. . I’m now facing my fourth winter without an adequate roof.

2022-11-07 22:42:29

Perhaps residents might try reporting to the ITV campaign. https://shaction.org/2021/09/15/surviving-squalor-itvs-conversation-starter/ This is situation is an absolute disgrace.

2022-11-07 23:00:33

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-manchester-63542651 Mold can be fatal:

David Forman
2022-11-08 09:21:48

How can the Tories float the idea of freezing Council Tax next year when cllr Simon Carter says, "The waiting time can be anywhere between 1 and 4 years, as the revenue and capital budgets are under so much pressure and there are other priorities?" It exposes the Tories age old antipathy towards council housing.

Nicholas Taylor
2022-11-08 11:35:32

There is rather more to this, I would first point out that the rent income and money spent on maintaining the Council's housing stock is a separate entity from that of the Council Tax account. In the not to distant past the Council used to report that HTS had made a profit, this was no profit of course, this was an underspend ie the Council gave HTS millions of pounds to do work each year, not all of it was spent (about half a million pounds a year I seem to remember) and this was returned to the Council. However I believe this was put into the General Fund, that is the Council Tax fund, which then helped provide services to all residents and in some way to allow the Council Tax to be reduced. Now of course, with 10% inflation things will have turned for the much worse which is why Cllr Carter reports that budgets are under so much pressure.. David Forman is right, the Tories have for decades done little to ensure that enough Council homes are provided for those in need or maintained them in good order.

2022-11-08 14:02:00

Brewery, organise, couldn't, they, booze up. Think of ability of this Council and government to manage and rearrange into Note: the coroners report on the news today: mould can be fatal and definitely has extremely bad effects on mental and physical health. Might a rent strike or a class action by effected residents suing the council under Health And Safety or other relevant legislation be more effective?

tony edwards
2022-11-08 17:38:00

I am hoping to get this serious matter discussed at Harlow Council Scrutiny. Committee. In the meantime can residents raise their concerns with their local Councillor. Please let them have details of the problem, together with your address and contact details. Feel free to copy me in. See link for details how to contact a Councillor https://moderngov.harlow.gov.uk/mgMemberIndex.aspx?VW=TABLE&PIC=1&FN=

2022-11-08 19:31:57

Not a Conservative, but I am 99.99% sure that these roofing issues did not just suddenly materialise and blow up to 1200 cases under this current administration alone. The opposition is to blame as well - if not more.

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