Occasio House demolition in town centre nearing completion

News / Mon 25th Sep 2023 at 01:45pm

THE demolition of Occasio House is in the second and final phase as the main block began to be pulled down this week. The project is all part of Harlow Council’s major rebuild of the town centre and the priority to rebuild our town.

Contractors DSL have already demolished the smaller four-storey block and are progressing at pace on the main block. The demolition is currently ahead of schedule and is expected to be completed in the coming weeks. Once completed the way will be clear for the delivery of a £20m Arts and Cultural Quarter scheme which will include:

  • A new live performance venue
  • Upgrades to the Playhouse
  • New pedestrian focused and engaging public square for events, outdoor performances, cinema, and outdoor dining
  • Contemporary bar and café
  • Artist and maker studio spaces
  • High-quality residential apartments
  • Flexible studios for creative and performing arts, rehearsal space, events, smaller and outdoor performances, and community uses
  • Associated spaces for literary arts, spoken word, education events and visiting exhibitions and installations
  • Green pocket park with natural play installations
  • Accessibility provisions including disabled parking and accessibly designed spaces
  • Upgraded and secure underpass beneath Haydens Road

Councillor Dan Swords, leader of Harlow Council, said:

“We’re now in the final phase of demolishing Occasio House, and have been delivering at speed to clear this disused building which has blighted the town centre for too long. The site has been disused for over seven years and, with unsafe Grenfell-style cladding installed on the buildings, it was absolutely not economically viable to bring it back into use. The good news is that we are demolishing this building at pace to make way for our new £20million Arts and Cultural Quarter. 

“The new Arts and Cultural Quarter is just one phase of our plan to entirely regenerate the town centre as we deliver on our priority to rebuild our town.”

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

15 Comments for Occasio House demolition in town centre nearing completion:

2023-09-25 16:40:12

Why has it taken so long? Asbestos? If so it seems no more precautions were taken than a straight forward demolition that could be cleared in a week Could someone please explain?

Aimee Draper
2023-09-25 22:03:54

£20 million pounds on an Arts and Cultural Quarter!? Surely this money could go towards rebuilding Occasio House to provide homes to young adults in need or even for adults in general. Maybe spend the money helping families in need? It is just such a waste and disgraceful to be honest.

2023-09-26 06:14:12

Panny. It takes time because they have to sort all the debris. Wood, metal, plastic etc that can be recycled or anything that needs to be disposed of properly. Also, the site is small and knocking the whole building down in one go would be hazardous for the workers on site. Aimee. They had estimated it would cost £10M to refurbish Occasio House to be hospitable, JUST Occasio House. £20m for a 2 new buildings and a regeneration of the area is value for money. Also, this money is granted to be used for regeneration, it can't be used for anything else. The money to help families in need comes direct from the government, that's what benefits are. Harlow Council have no control of things like UC.

Nicholas Taylor
2023-09-26 07:29:59

I expect like most people in the town I want to see just what is planned for the future for the area the Council are calling the Cultural Square. To date all we have seen are sketch drawings with very little detail. With the massive increase in inflation during the last three years it is going to be interesting to see just what the town gets with the £20 million given by the government. Going by what has ben spent in Market Square, millions of pound will be spent on paving let alone anything else. Does anyone else find it strange that a music venue is to be built so close to peoples homes? Aimee is right to ask the question about how the money is spent, it puts into question just how communities are to be "levelled up" and how success or otherwise can be measured. It would have been far better to have created a Cultural Square in Market Square by buying Market House and the land around it to build a larger theatre, an exhibition centre and music venue. At least the paving would not have needed doing again!

Kim Oconnor
2023-09-26 08:25:06

I'll wait till bricks are layed first. Knocking an awful lot down, then just left.

A Tigerman
2023-09-26 11:43:41

a music venue, and flats? great idea!! Cant wait for the complaints about noise. Be nice to have some live events to go to though, without having to go back to the 1960's. I hope it works, and I hope the team involved are new and fresh.

Keith Conlan
2023-09-26 14:18:27

This scheme will Only Work if Harlow residents use it and make it a Viable sçheme .So many have been started and the sites cleared only tobe left and sold on and still no facility for the building of HOMES FOR THE NEEDY IN HARLOW. Harlow is a dreressed area and needs a new look at the housing needs of those that Cannot Afford mortgages just like my parents who were pioneersback in 1953 .I grew up in harlow and left 4 years ago Because of how run down it is.

Bruce Downey
2023-09-26 14:34:22

Getting there slowly but surely..music venue & playhouse should be soundproof and air conditioned.. and will be a distance from apartments.

Jason Fryer
2023-09-26 14:39:42

Jeez they haven’t started on what used to be little walk yet - I’m gonna be in my wooden box by the time they redevelop the town centre !

Chris green
2023-09-26 15:41:52

Wouldn’t it be nice to see something positive said. Moan moan moan! Wrong if they do and wrong if they don’t.🤦🏻‍♀️

2023-09-26 18:39:10

Is this all they can think off and spend money. What about the homeless and and families having to split there flats and houses into rooms. Disgusting. How about putting new roofs on tenants houses and updating them. They would rather do this and plant 50.000 trees and block peoples right of light.

2023-09-26 21:06:04

Jason - little walk is Strawberry Star, not the council.

james nicholson
2023-09-27 01:44:01

I miss the old YPIC centre they had in the lobby area, you could get free contraception and medical advice from a nurse there. Support in getting housing and work via their pcs, the town lost a vital youth resource when they just shut that instead of finding or funding an alternative site.

Tony Doolan
2023-09-28 09:23:27

Hi I’m a construction site manager of 9 years, Based local to the site , Could I please have the name of the principal contractor appointed to the project for further inquiries regarding Site management. Thanks Tony

Mark Gough
2023-09-29 15:14:44

Sadly Occasio house was meant to help young people into work. Unfortunately, it did the exact opposite. The minute any residents got jobs the cost of living in Occasio House became unaffordable - £600 PW for bedside residents told me. That was unaffordable so they were encouraged to give up the job and go back on benefits so they could pay for living there! A shocking and disgraceful failure for Young People! Mark Gough - Reform UK

Leave a Comment Below:

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