Shocked residents of Harlow town centre tower block told they must leave their homes as it is set to be demolished

News / Wed 25th Jan 2023 at 08:18am

SHOCKED residents, including nurses and doctors from Princess Alexandra Hospital, have been told they must leave their homes “as soon as possible” in a Harlow Town Centre tower block as it is set to be demolished.

Late last week, over 150 residents of Joseph Rank House on Kitson Way, received a letter from Places for People, the owners of the 150 foot tower block, telling them the bad news.

The letter stated: “After carrying out several surveys as part of a detailed study of the future of Joseph Rank House….we have now made the difficult decision to close..and demolish it.

“We will be arranging to meet you in the coming days to discuss the impact and how we can support you over the coming months.

YH has spoken to a resident, who did not wish to be named, who is clearly very upset at having to leave their home.

They told us: “This has been a total shock. I have been renting here for a number of years and want to stay.

They did a lot of improvements to the building a couple of years ago but that was quite cosmetic. There has not been a single clue that this was going to happen.

It is near to my work, my family and it is my home.

“They have even broached the subject of me moving out of Harlow. I don’t want to leave my home town.

“What did they know when they bought it two years ago? I would be keen to see these structural reports. There feels that there is more to this”

YH has investigated and there has been numerous planning applications and proposals for the town centre but none appear to have included Joseph Rank House.

Developer Places for People is the organisation behind plans for 8,500 new homes in six villages in a scheme known as Gilston Park Estate on the Harlow border.

Much of their press work and publicity in Harlow has been about homes, families, green space and, as it says in the name, people.

Places for People has issued a statement.

A spokesperson said: “Following extensive consultation with experts and surveyors, we have reached the difficult decision that Joseph Rank House no longer meets the standards we expect of our properties. We have explored all alternative options, but the only viable conclusion is to close with view to demolish the building in due course.

We understand that this is not an easy situation for residents in the short term. Right now, our priority is assisting our customers and we have started speaking to those affected to discuss housing needs on a one-to-one basis, including how we can work with them and our partners to find new homes with as little disruption as possible. We will then provide an update on the delivery of our plan for Joseph Rank House in the coming months.”

The leader of the Harlow Labour Group as well as councillors for the Toddbrook move have condemned the move.

Councillor Chris Vince said: “We were shocked to hear that residents of Joseph Rank House have received letters telling them they are losing their homes and need to find alternate accommodation.

“We hope that the owners of the building will work with the council and other local organisations to help residents, many of whom work at the hospital, through this difficult and uncertain time.

“We hope that lessons are learnt from this. Our thoughts are with all those residents of Joseph Rank house who will be anxious and concerned about their futures.

Toddbrook councillor Daniella Pritchard has added:

“This news hasn’t been easy for our health care workers living in this accommodation.

“As much as the organisation is sign posting staff to the right place for support, if this is not handled correctly our nurses will become homeless and have no option than to resign and move away, leaving PAH short of critical staff.”

YH asked Harlow Council for a comment and we await their reply.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

35 Comments for Shocked residents of Harlow town centre tower block told they must leave their homes as it is set to be demolished:

Bruce Downey
2023-01-25 08:39:22

Monstrosity, good riddance.

Christine Wells
2023-01-25 09:01:40

I totally agree with Janet. Where on earth do they think that the residents are supposed to live. Many work at the hospital and possibly have to relocate and move away. This is the last thing that this hospital needs.

2023-01-25 09:07:37

Shame on places for people for doing this. Clearly there is some more behind this and not that they don’t have any options. Not thinking of the people of Harlow at all or the hospital that the staff work at.

2023-01-25 09:12:39

The whole of Harlow needs demolishing, not a patch on what it used to be.

Chris Snow
2023-01-25 09:16:13

Many will not like it, but this is a well proportioned and tastefully refurbished building representative of its era and (more is the point) one that clearly residents are happy living in. I am very surprised that it has problems of a scale that mean it cannot be repaired. I am against demolition when there is still life in a building, in particular when you count the energy embodied in a building and that required for its demolition and replacement. And besides, who now thinks the demolition of Victorian ‘monstrosities’ as happened in the 1950s to make way for modern buildings was a good idea? I suspect in 70 years time our grandkids may think we have repeated the mistake…

2023-01-25 09:28:22

I can remember when they were selling them apartments years ago, are any of them privately owned, ?? Sounds like this Harlow garden towns is a stitch up. That will teach the people who supported that scheme they were duped .

2023-01-25 09:45:58

Does this company own the carpark next-door???????? If they do then that's a nice bit of land for redevelopment.

2023-01-25 10:28:12

Good get rid of the ugly building! I'd rather see houses here than this piece of trash! Get rid of the ugly piece near the bus station too!

2023-01-25 10:30:45

Terminus House next surely

2023-01-25 10:52:48

Just a thought, if “Places for People” are also the Developers for the Harlow Gilston Garden Town shouldn’t they build alternative accommodation specifically for the Rank House residents before they knock the building down. That way nobody is made potentially homeless.

Kim Oconnor
2023-01-25 11:09:02

Terminus House will be next, watch this space. Theses people won't tell the truth .why is Terminus House new lift only going to second floor??? In the picture of new bus station I don't see Terminus House.. so watch this space. . All theses people need to be homed ,along side the rest of the 5OOO waiting on housing.. need I say more..

2023-01-25 12:29:32

This does not bode well for all the new apartments that are about to be built. Who is going to rent or buy when they find out how this has been handled, even if the new development is with better landlords. In our modern world everyone gets tarred with the same brush whether deserved or not.

2023-01-25 12:46:02

Whilst I agree with majority regarding terminus house being demolished Just to say that majority of the residents there are from Harlow not London and are the 1’s that cause the problems in the town centre As to Joseph Rank House, it’s a shame it’s come to this, especially as so many medical professionals live there, I am gutted for them and yet another historic building in the town to be demolished along with the town hall, college, Gilbys and The Square

2023-01-25 14:07:57

No matter how anyone feels about this building can we please remember that these apartments are peoples homes and those people are likely to be in a state of complete shock. Places for People is a good example of a company who cares nothing for its tenants and only about the money they can squeeze out of them through high rents. Not everyone qualifies to go on the housing list and those that don’t but want to have their own place are expected to pay private landlords a hefty amount of rent. Nurses, Doctors and many other professional people live in this building, where will they all go?

Mr. David morton
2023-01-25 14:31:06

You have to feel for the residents who have bought properties there, with the current market the way it is what are they worth?? Also there is a massive shortage of rental properties so some may be forced to live outside the town.

2023-01-25 14:48:35

Some of the people in these comments are absolutely disgusting. "Good riddance" "do terminus house next" these are people's homes and are now going to have a massive upheaval of finding somewhere else to move within a town that has a housing crisis. Typical tory attitude of if it doesn't affect me, then I don't give a toss.

2023-01-25 17:29:36

Hggt pfp such a caring coalition and obviously they don't care jot for people or the environment or Harlow (hence their plan to trash the Stort Valley ecology and gridlock the East of the town) just their bottom line. So rich they could build new homes for residents before knocking the block down but so myopic that they suddenly supposedly found what sound to be catastrophic faults. Put simply, throwing people, many of them key workers who keep PAH running, out like this shows the ugly face of property developers, worse still our Government and local Herts and Essex politicians got into bed with them years ago.

Alan Dale
2023-01-25 19:35:32

You are a nasty vindictive person Janet. You should count yourself lucky you’ve not had to live the life of these ‘undesirables’.

Kim Oconnor
2023-01-25 20:07:50

Janet has a lot to say, but others are not entitled to, those that use fake names to.. but I've said no more or less than other people. And if I've hit a nerve, then so be it,, just don't read it.. It's true, theses people will have to be housed. And Janet, I am a member of green party, look around you, there building thousands upon thousands of unaffordable housing, how many council???? How are we supposed to help people when there's no where for them to go, theses people carnt afford theses properties, like most of us. They find the ground for theses. If there going to take our green belt let it be for people of this town, people who have been waiting years. So yes Kim's moaning again, I love a moan ,, just so you know.

Edward Huxtable
2023-01-25 20:11:37

It's all about money and back handers. They could not care less about the people living there.

neil Boat
2023-01-25 20:15:53

Suprise, Suprise. Nhggt and People for Places showing there true Colours yet again. Expect them to trash our town. Typical Property Developers...

2023-01-26 08:06:54

I feel so so sorry for all these residents. I am once again shocked at all the key board warriors with their vile vindictive words. No surprise that the disgusting Theman has nothing nice to say, think you spend your life at the keyboard abusing innocent people with your lies and constant abuse. Before anyone writes, take a moment to think…these are peoples lives you are talking about. People that you have no idea what they are going through, what their situation is and generally workers, just trying to make ends meet and do what they can to live their lives as best they can. This is their home, whether you like the look of it or not and I note, show me a part of Harlow that looks great! How about some support, some humanity, some compassion. Just remember Karma gets everyone so cleanse your minds. Nothing nice to say, say nothing. I truly hope these people find new homes and they can find a silver lining to this grey cloud

Andrew S
2023-01-26 08:59:24

@Chris Snow- A good point, well made.

2023-01-26 10:58:02

Mum: I think you mis understood my comment. I was trying to point out that why would people buy or rent the new properties proposed for the town centre, when these residents have been treated so badly.

Steve robinson
2023-01-26 12:08:24

I’m a part owner at Joseph rank house but I have not received any letter and no one has spoke to me I can’t believe they can treat people like this

Michael Hardware
2023-01-26 12:43:52

Nostradamus and Neil Boat: there is no 'coalition' between the Harlow & Gilston Garden Town (HGGT) and Places for People, HGGT has nothing to do with this block or its future. HGGT is not a developer, it is a partnership between the three district councils (Harlow, Epping and Eash Herts) and the two county councils (Essex and Herts) to facilitate the planning and delivery of the Garden Town.

Home Owner
2023-01-26 13:13:01

Steve Robinson - One of the owners have put his number on the notice board downstairs. You should get in touch!

Nicholas Taylor
2023-01-26 14:14:34

Michael, that is not strictly true is it. Places For People and Taylor Wimpey own all the land at Gilston, the former owning land for 8500 homes. They are the largest Housing Association in the Country, managing over 100,000 homes, manage council services across the Country and have the highest paid Chief Executive in the Country. Of greatest concern must be how they deal with all these residents, many of whom own their flat, have been placed there from Harlow Council's Housing Register or who rent from leaseholders.

2023-01-26 17:19:22

Let’s see if Harlow Council give them prior approval to demolish the building. I suspect the brown envelopes will appear.

neil Boat
2023-01-26 18:06:43

AHH Councillo Hardware, I'm glad you are here... Could you confirm or deny that you were/are a Paid consultant for the Latton Priory (n)hggt Development.??? ((As your resume on your company's website said you were! Along with a smiling photo of your good self and even a candid mention that you are both a Harlow and Essex CC councillor.. Now that must be good business) wink wink

2023-01-27 10:16:21

Where is our Hospital, priorities first and sort the potholes out.

2023-01-28 13:12:00

This really depresses me, people have enough to deal with a ridiculous government nationally, now locally, major trouble. Families live in Rank House; children might be forced to change schools. How a company PLACES FOR PEOPLE can treat its customers so badly, only they can answer. The Harlow & Gilston project is run by them, the destruction of so much nature around Latton Island and forcing Harlow to accept an additional 10 to 20 thousand vehicles into its shopping centre Temple Fields, rather than run traffic through Hertfordshire, is beyond me. Plus how our Harlow and Essex councillors together with the people of Harlow have rolled over and are accepting their plans. I would not like to rent a “social” house from PLACES FOR PEOPLE in Giston, a new company manager might decide to build a block of flats on my house. The representatives of PLACES FOR PEOPLE last year proudly announced there will be some “affordable” housing and some “social” housing in the garden town of Gilston but no council housing. If this is how property developer's PLACES FOR PEOPLE treat their customers, I think it is time for Council housing within the town centre. I was very surprised to learn of the possible demolishing of Rank House by relatively new owners developers PLACES FOR PEOPLE. When they bought Rank House, they also bought the five-floor car park, roughly 480 spaces, which they sublet to Princess Alexandra Hospital staff. The reason I was most surprised was there have been relatively major repairs done to the car park recently; new brighter lighting has been installed on the third floor. The third floor had major issues with white residue permeating through concrete and then deposited on cars from the roof; previous owners of the car park had closed the third and top floors because of this. Before PLACES FOR PEOPLE bought Rank House the car park was open to the public, using a traditional means of payment with cash. This of course meant there were staff about, unlike most other car parks where machines and CCTV is used to track down who hit or stabbed you after the event. Once PLACES FOR PEOPLE took over the basement parking where the residents of Rank House parked was closed because the venting of fumes had not been cleaned for about 22 years. The residents parking moved to the ground floor. One expert said that as the area was so large it would take roughly ten diesel cars running for a couple of hours to bring the emissions up to dangerous levels. (a bit like city streets) I learnt from one of the staff and I have seen on maps that PLACES FOR PEOPLE want to knock down the car park and build another tower block on the car park site. Directly next to Rank House on the other side of the road another developer is going to build another tower block; this poses a question, where are all of the cars belonging to the towers going to park? Remember, this is three or possibly four tower blocks in a small area with friends and relatives visiting the residents. There is already parking on the pavement in the area. Traffic wardens seem to be recommended to walk on and not ticket them. “Concrete cancer” is often an excuse used to demolish a building; Longman House at Burnt Mill designed by Sir Frederick Gibberd was demolished because of “Concrete cancer”. At roughly the same time, Terminus Street tower block was also described as having “Concrete cancer”. Terminus Street tower seems to have been cured or is it just another surveyor's report? With the levelling up funding for Harlow town centre Ocacio House would be demolished and replaced by two new tower blocks the developer on the plans was PLACES FOR PEOPLE. The Councillor in charge of this project Councillor Dan Swords, Deputy Leader recently assured me before the Rank House announcement that PLACES FOR PEOPLE would not be involved. Harlow Council has recently bought the Harvey Centre and the car park, I fear levels of the car park will have to be given over to residents of the tower blocks. PLACES FOR PEOPLE state they will work with their partners to rehouse residents. Who are the partners? Harlow council cannot be dumped on to pick up the residents, and they have enough people in temporary accommodation to deal with already. Perhaps all of the Councillours that voted for Harlow & Gilston town would like to take on refugees from Rank House.

Julie Sneddon
2023-01-28 18:17:51

I live at jrh been there 13,years and my health and I got a 17 year old daughter i can't sleep and my BP is sky high and I am in shock cos I am going to loose my flat as it getting dismolish just can't believe it worrying if I get help

2023-01-29 19:31:38

Clacton, Basildon, Jaywick and Harlow nominated for title of 'worst place to live in England' Well this sounds encouraging.

Julie Sneddon
2023-02-13 17:21:54

There keep on telling me diffent things and places of people haven't got anywhere in Essex but further out like huntingdon Bedford but I don't want to move out too far that way

Leave a Comment Below:

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *