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Questions raised over plans for Sherards House

News / Mon 27th Mar 2023 at 11:00am

A HARLOW resident attended a meeting at Harlow Council on Thursday night to ask a number of questions on their plans for Sherards House.

Stephen Barnes to Councillor Michael Hardware (Portfolio Holder for Regeneration and Strategic Growth):

A year ago today a Planning Application was made to demolish Sherards House and replace it with 14 houses. Over 50 residents objected to the proposal, giving a number of reason why the application should be refused. It is clear from looking at the Council’s Planning Portal that residents were not the only ones to raise concerns and a revised application was made on 27 January this year. During the course of the last year no feedback has been provided to residents, but a notice was placed on a lamppost stating that demolition would take place after 6 February. Then suddenly early last month contractors turned up and removed trees and shrubs from the site.

Will you please inform me of why a notice to demolish the house was placed on lampposts but residents were not informed, why the site has been partially cleared and when residents will be formally consulted about the new plan?

Reply from Councillor Michael Hardware (Portfolio Holder for Regeneration and Strategic Growth):

There is indeed an application currently progressing through the planning system for Sherards House and it is available on the planning portal with all relevant correspondence and consultation published thereon. A formal decision on the application is anticipated in June.

The site has been partially cleared of self-seeded brush, brambles, and dead specimens to allow for site investigations to take place, including Topographical and arboriculturally investigations.

Whilst the demolition of Sherards House would allow for the future use of the area subject to the relevant permissions, the immediate security of the site including safety concerns, trespass, and Anti-Social Behaviour, will also be substantially improved.

An application for the demolition was validated as of the 24 February 2023 date and is registered on the planning portal under HW/DEM/22/00368.

Aside from the site notice (which is the responsibility of and was placed by the Council as Developer), there are no publicity requirements for applications made under Part 11 Class B. However, the Planning Officer emailed Mr Barnes directly to advise that the application had been validated and letters were also posted to 26 neighbouring properties.

Stephen Barnes to Councillor Michael Hardware (Portfolio Holder for Regeneration and Strategic Growth):

As a near neighbour of Sherards House I am aware that there are bats, a protected species living in close proximity to the house. I am also aware that the client’s consultant ecologist would have advised that a Bat Activity survey should be carried out in the summer.

Can you advise me if such a survey was carried out last year or if such arrangements have been made for the summer months this year?

Reply from Councillor Michael Hardware (Portfolio Holder for Regeneration and Strategic Growth):

An Ecology report including a bat survey inspection was carried out in February 2022 and no evidence of roosting was found.

A summary of the report reads:

“No trees or buildings with roosting potential are situated on site, nor would be lost to the proposal. The buildings are considered to offer a negligible level of roosting potential.

Further surveys are neither necessary nor appropriate. Since there was no evidence of bats at the site, a European Protected Species Licence will not be required for this project. Although no evidence of bats was found, it is probable that bats from nearby roosts will forage across the site and in the gardens of

adjacent properties. This behaviour would be expected to continue after any building work has been completed and therefore it is considered that the planning proposal for this site will not have a detrimental effect on the local bat population.”

In line with this, no further surveys will be required.

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5 Comments for Questions raised over plans for Sherards House:

Edward Vine
2023-03-27 11:20:53

Might be relevant to ask who paid for the Ecology survey. It's well known that often surveys are conducted at the wrong times of year or look in the wrong places and that Survey Companies who don't provide the answers developers and Councils want, suddenly find that they don't get commissioned to conduct surveys. There are independent experts who conduct surveys for free.

Neil WarnerBaker
2023-03-27 18:56:35

Thank you for trying Stephen Barnes...and for holding your ground...and how frustrating that these "barstools" don't give a " Fudge" .. They just sidestop the democratic process...sigh..

Anon.
2023-03-28 06:43:42

We not in 2020 year of the you-know-what anymore, people need to move on and stop being bitter about it 'cos the world don't close down for them anymore!

Kim Oconnor
2023-03-28 09:14:31

I don't think we will get the whole truth from theses councils. It's sad that they won't to knock down anything with a bit of history. Essex is only place, that has not got funding for youth centre, this place would be ideal..

Nicholas Taylor
2023-03-28 17:08:13

What was never addressed in the response to the question was the fact that residents have not been advised of a second planning application, the first having apparently been ditched. This follows the same pattern as the previous, Labour administration who had to ditch plans for the former Lister House and Elm Hatch sites. After nearly two years in power the Conservative plan for 'hundreds' of new council homes is already falling far behind schedule, as demonstrated in an earlier question I asked which has not appeared on yourharlow. Nicholas Taylor, Leader of the Harlow Alliance Party.

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