Leader of Harlow Council details his five priorities for the town

Harlow Council / Tue 20th Jun 2023 at 10:42am

THE Leader of Harlow Council, Councillor Dan Swords, has set out his five priorities for the council over the next year.

Announcing his priorities for the year ahead, the leader of the council, said:

“As the leader of your council, you need to know what my focus will be, so you can hold me directly accountable for what we are delivering for you.

“As your council, your priorities are our priorities for the year ahead. These are the five foundations I know will put our town on the road to a brighter future and make Harlow a better place to live, work, raise a family and start a business.

“This year, we will:

  1. Fix council housing by clearing the backlog in housing repairs so your home is fixed quickly and ensuring Harlow’s council homes are for Harlow families.
  2. Restore pride in Harlow by tackling the issues in your street with better landscape maintenance, new estate car parking, estate replanting and, by working with Essex County Council; fix the potholes, street signs, railings and street furniture.
  3. Rebuild our town by transforming the town centre with a once-in-a-generation programme of regeneration, building new council homes for Harlow families and reviving left-behind neighbourhoods.
  4. Secure investment into Harlow to back local businesses, improve our infrastructure and create jobs and apprenticeships to grow Harlow’s economy.
  5. Improve council services to ensure Harlow Council truly works for you, providing you the very best and most efficient services for the lowest possible council tax and making Harlow a better place to live, work and raise a family.

“I know that too many people feel that Harlow Council does not deliver for them. That is why today I have set out five promises to you for the year ahead to fix council housing, restore pride in Harlow, rebuild our town, secure investment into Harlow and improve council services. Those are your priorities, and they are the council’s priorities too. No politics, no tricks or ambiguity – you will know whether we are delivering on your priorities or not.

“My Cabinet and I will be working day in, day out to deliver for you. But this is not the limit of what we will do, this is the foundation. These are our immediate priorities and over the coming months, we will listen extensively to you to build a long-term plan for the future of our town.”

In addition to setting out these priorities for the year, a new Corporate Strategy for 2024 to 2028 is also being developed this year. An independent residents’ survey will be carried out in July so that residents’ views are at the heart of the new strategy. Further extensive consultation will take place with residents and businesses during the summer and autumn.

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27 Comments for Leader of Harlow Council details his five priorities for the town:

Luke Burton
2023-06-20 11:07:06

Absolutely nobody will take issue with your five priorities. I hope you manage to achieve them. The question is, how will you do it, how will you measure success, and what will you do if you fail to fulfill them?

2023-06-20 11:14:38

Last week I had a garage that I rent from Harlow council broken into, the door and locks need replacing due to the amount of damage done by an idiot, I was informed this week that it will take up to nine months to have the garage door and lock repaired or replaced and that I will still have to pay the monthly rental fee, a more rapid response time for the repair would be good but the council are of course unable to provide such

Alderman Durcan
2023-06-20 11:53:39

To be fair this are recycled priorities that the previous Tory leader offered to Harlow over 2 years ago. Nothing new and sadly besides buying the Harvey centre nothing has happened.

2023-06-20 11:55:11

It would be nice if Dan Swords answered his emails. I am worried if I send another email he will do what Councillor Nick Churchill did, and contact the police, tell them I sent him a private threatening message. Nick Churchill did it and said it was harassment, what use is having a councillor you can't email? A waste of police time and money.

2023-06-20 11:57:52

How can he do number 4 that is a national thing and his party are doing everything they can to destroy the UK as a place to invest. They recently introduced a 30% rise in corporation taxes, while at the same time destroying Research and development credits. Oh and they clobbered dividend and capital gains taxes too, there is no point in aspiration any more, why risk your capital and build a business in the UK?.

2023-06-20 12:00:37

Good luck Dan, it's amazing what can be achieved with optimism and positivity, unlike the negative attitude above from Mr Durcan.

James Leppard
2023-06-20 13:35:52

As the member of Cabinet for Finance & Governance, we are reviewing our extensive Capital Programmes - both Housing and Non-Housing to realign them with the stated priorities to ensure maximum delivery. In response to Luke Burton’s question, we are setting out new focused Performance Indicators to measure against. Furthermore, we are introducing strict benchmarking criteria against comparable New Towns, set up around the time of Harlow’s designation, to help gauge best practices and improved service delivery and efficiency. I really think Cllr Durcan should get out more often. He mentions the Harvey Centre but fails to see this within the context of the Town Centre Masterplan nor has he noticed that we have partnered with a leading developer Hill to undertake this work, including the construction of council houses on the former Lister House site, which his administration left abandoned. Did he not benefit from last year’s Harlow Council tax rebate and this year’s freeze on the Harlow element? He has also clearly not noticed the extensive road repairs being carried out across the town; something his administration were about as successful with as his own pitiful Regeneration efforts. I hope he enjoys his outdoor table tennis in Market Square whilst he still can!

2023-06-20 14:55:53

Regeneration of the town centre = overloading by building high rise high density housing whilst moving the hospital that would serve them into a field in Epping that'll serve Epping residents in the new Epping developments = an eastern raised road barrier culverted crossing devastating the ecology of the Stort River Valley, creating more flooding, sewage discharges into Harlow with gridlock on the A414 in the east of the town. Council houses?? having already allowed hggt to build countless thousands of executive homes with zero Council homes = Public Private partnerships which have dreadful outcomes and dabbling in declining retail by buying the Harvey Centre: given this track record of the Conservative Council and government one can only expect a continued decline.

2023-06-20 15:07:33

James the overall council tax still went up stop playing silly political games. All people care about is if it goes down overall. Knock 50% off the total bill and we are talking until then stop mentioning it. Oh and my bet is you drive harlow council to bankruptcy like Thurrock and Woking. Care to take a wager that yhe councils current actions will drive it to bankruptcy within 5 years loser pays £1000 charity.

James Leppard
2023-06-20 15:27:31

Adam, Harlow only controls and receives around 15% of the total Council Levy. Nevertheless, we succeeded in providing a £50dividend - one of the only councils to do so, after years of Labour tax increases. Furthermore, we froze the Harlow this year and plan to so again next year. As for your wager, make your donation now. As

Jo Revitt
2023-06-20 15:46:19

All this in the next 12 months? A very ambitious plan, which whilst I applaud, given there are no detailed measures of success, how will anyone know if the desired outcomes have been achieved. We should all get behind this, but in my opinion something more realistic, with visible KPI's and measurable impacts would have been a good starting point. Please don't over promise and under deliver.

Luke Burton
2023-06-20 16:16:33

Completely agree, Jo. Always great to be ambitious but let's see some BI dashboards or equivalent to let council taxpayer's see progress in data.

Nicholas Taylor
2023-06-20 16:28:58

Lets not forget that the Tories have been in power now for over two year. They have presided over the backlog of housing repairs, have done little work to the external fabric of it's houses, the landscape areas are as bad as ever, including broken street signs etc and are not maintaining trees. The is little if any detail as to how things will change to get the outcome he hopes for and I am particularly interested in what changes will be made to house Harlow people and where hundreds of council homes are going to be built. The Hill Group working with Cambridge Council has seen at least one flat block demolished, to be replaced with one higher, the alternative will be to build on Harlow's green spaces. I wait with interest the list of areas to be developed, I guess like the Town Centre, hundreds of new homes will be built over a period of many many years.

2023-06-20 17:36:10

So his idea is to flood us with even more people to attract government investment? What’s he going to do with all these people once he’s filled us up? Dr surgery’s, Dentists, Swimming pools, Schools, Youth groups etc etc

2023-06-20 17:51:30

Jackanory! Jackanory!

Guy Flegman
2023-06-20 18:28:13

It’s a bit of a thankless task being a politician these days. No wonder the calibre keeps going down

Kim Oconnor
2023-06-20 19:49:17

Oh dear, more and more promises. Let me tell you something Dan, my bay window, with a flat roof, which I know to be rotten in side, because rain comes through my ceiling, flecking my paint of . I've called council, only to be told its not rotten, which is strange, so why water coming through. My toilet system, you have to crank handle 3 times before it flushes, only to be told its ball cock, and your know what, its still the same, a 60 year old system I've got, but no , bodge it as usual, short cuts as usual. I've got pot holes out side my house, nearly the size of a car, been circled twice, all along the road, only for you council to put sign up warning people there's craters in road. Seriously you couldn't make it up. So I wouldn't keep promises you carnt keep. This council , all you thunk about is regeneration regeneration, while the rest of Harlow falls apart. Keep praising your self for that, keep awarding people for that. Awarding for the complete and utter destruction of our only peaceful place ,we have in Harlow. And how many council houses ,??? Up against thousands an thousands of unaffordable housing. Is that thinking of the 5,000 people in Harlow waiting on homes.

2023-06-20 20:43:55

Firstly, with the exception of priority no.4, all other priorities require significant investment to make a tangible difference. Many of the services provided by Harlow council are done so using 3rd party service businesses i.e. HTS. Very few private companies set out to deliver a poor service. Poor service is usually the result of a poor procurement process by providing an inaccurate scope or selecting the lowest price over quality. I would hazard a guess that a combination of both have occurred when selecting service providers for our town. Fixing the issues will require extra funding from central government, who are not exactly flush at the moment. Secondly, whilst I support all five priorities, as will the majority of Harlow’s population, I do not believe it is achievable from a timescale or financial perspective. A succinct, top / no.1 priority backed up by secured funding and overview of ‘how’, would have been achievable, believable and prevented the majority of comments on this post.

Bruce Downey
2023-06-21 03:57:27

We are all on a journey of hope and glory..from the pits of despair, to the promised land..

Michael Chiassaro
2023-06-21 10:04:08

What about the knocking down of Joseph rank house which will make my mother homeless along with load of other residents all because of the £20 million pound the council got to rebuild the town centre.

Fed up
2023-06-21 16:18:23

So your 5 promises does not extend to stopping the anti social behaviour in the town centre market place? The benches you and trees and plants now attract more people drinking and causing problems.. females and I dare say males too are actually frightened, what are you going to do about the problem ?

gary roberts
2023-06-22 06:44:52

Following this article, I emailed Cllr. Swords. The text of the email is below: Dear Cllr. Swords, I hope you are well. I noticed in your list of promises to the town you stated: reviving left-behind neighbourhoods. Is Potter Street a major part of this promise, and if so what in actual terms does it relate too? If not, why not? Your predecessor used the same narrative and Potter Street still doesn't have a health and well-being hub or locally based council services because the former council office has been empty for over twenty years. I look forward to a comprehensive response with answers. Keep well. Yours sincerely, Gary Roberts To date no reply has been received. Is the narrative of this particular part of the promises just more wind and nonsense? I suspect so!

Nicholas Taylor
2023-06-22 08:07:51

The simple fact is, this statement could be written by a Council leader anywhere in the UK and in principle we can all agree to these foundations. It is in the detail that really matters, warm words mean nothing if nothing is achieved. So far after more than two years the Tories have done literally nothing to improve things for those of us who already live here, indeed in some respects things are worse than before.

James Leppard
2023-06-22 13:41:21

Dear Nick Taylor, could you please be more specific and provide details to highlight and substantiate your last points.

2023-06-23 21:23:22

I am so happy that the council has backed me. I didn't want to answer some questions from a Harlow resident. I asked the police to give them a warning,it backfired. Yes it has cost £10,000s and even the possibility of two officers jobs. But we stand strong, the council and I . A big thanks to Dan Swords,at this time. Why should I have to answer anyone's questions.

Nicholas Taylor
2023-06-23 22:05:23

Dear James, you only have to look around many of the towns housing estates to see that shrub beds are in a terrible state(eg Pollard Hatch) the grass cutting leaves a lot to be desired (eg Second Avenue), wooden trip rails installed in the last couple of years are broken (eg Tilwicks Road), council houses remain unpainted (eg Milwards), many homes are blighted by trees in need of cutting back (eg Deer Park) and the shrub boxes along Broadwalk remain in a very poor condition ..... the list goes on and on. On the other hand take a drive through Ongar, Epping or Hoddesdon for instance and you will see many well attended flower boxes, and the latter town centre had all its pavements cleaned with the last year. Dan talks about making Harlow's Town Centre the best in Essex, to include dozens of trees and more flower beds and yet the Council cannot even maintain the ones we already have.

2023-06-25 10:44:20

Dear Nicholas Taylor, please refer to Point 2 of the 5 point plan. You may have noticed the improved landscaping and grass cutting and the extensive road repairs works that are ongoing. Furthermore, roundabouts maintenance will soon be evident with the new sponsorship agreement.

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