Harlow Labour leader calls out Tories over town centre investments

Politics / Fri 13th Oct 2023 at 10:06am

THE LEADER of Harlow Labour has hit out at the Conservatives over investment in the town.

Councillor Chris Vince said: “Sadly the Conservative administration of Harlow is no better at telling the truth than the Conservatives in Westminster. They continue to peddle lies in an attempt to deceive the people of Harlow.

On the 30th October 2020 the Labour administration submitted a business case to government for additional funding for the town centre, this was accepted and the council was awarded £23.7m of funding. The Conservatives did not take control of the council until May 2021.

In the last cabinet meeting the Conservative leader of the council claimed that no funding was secured by the last Labour administration, failing to recognise the hard work of Officers and Councillors who submitted the bid under our watch. Yesterday I gave him the opportunity to set the record straight, he yet again failed to do so.

In the previous cabinet meeting he claimed that the many current job vacancies at Harlow Council (and the 19 that were cut by his administration) were having no pr little effect on services, promising me a report within 24 hours.  In what turned out to be more like 24 days I received a report which confirmed significant impacts on the council caused by vacancies resulting from over a decade of Conservative government cuts to Harlow Council totalling £62.3m.  Is it any wonder that there has been an increase in wait times for repairs, landscaping jobs and that front line services like the cash office have been closed.

“If the Conservative administration are being dishonest in Council meetings, in public view, how can we trust them to tell the truth to people in Harlow?”

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23 Comments for Harlow Labour leader calls out Tories over town centre investments:

2023-10-13 11:22:52

It feels like Harlow has been given up on and this has been going on for years under different administrations. I'd like to see the different council members stop throwing stones and work together to fix the town. Ban any developments on the boundary until the town itself is invested in and brought up to a decent standard

James Leppard
2023-10-13 15:43:07

Is it not ironic that Cllr Vince accuses the current administration of a lack of candour, when his assertions are highly questionable. He claims the former Labour administration secured the £23.7 m Towns Fund grant. A closer examination of the facts reveals this not to be the case. In late 2019, Harlow was invited to bid for grant funds. The successful bid was prepared and submitted by the Harlow Growth Board (HGB), a partnership of key stakeholders from the public, private and third sector which have a strong presence in Harlow. It was not submitted by the Labour administration, but by the independent chairman of HGB, John Keddie (chair of Harlow Growth Board), a seasoned professional who for many years was a senior executive in a global company with a significant research and development base in Harlow. He has chaired the Enterprise Zone Board and Place Board, and is currently a member of Princess Alexandra Hospital NHS Trust and Anglia Ruskin University Boards. It is hardly dignified to claim credit for others efforts. Still, I am sure none of this will come as a surprise to Cllr Vince as it is all stated on the Harlow Council website, so there is little for challenge.

Alderman Durcan
2023-10-13 16:07:59

Sadly more gas lighting from the Tories who would like to claim they invented light and water. The Tories claim nothing happened except bad things until they took over. No enterprise zone ,rugby club, 3 hills development,Clifton hatch ,splash parks,upgrade of town park,water gardens to name just a few. Spin all you like but the truth is the truth and the Tory truth is incorrect.

Mark Gough
2023-10-13 16:20:17

Oh please Cllr.Durcan. You have to be dragged kicking and screaming to do any of this stuff! Residents will remember Labour under Cllr.Danvers wanting to build a Sports Centre on the Town Park! A ridiculously expensive bridge across Velizy Avenue. And the Rugby Club only ended up in their current and first choice location after Labour tried elsewhere! Don't gete started on the need for Playground Options and Garage Options working parties to sort those disgracefully neglected by Labour items out.

Nicholas Taylor
2023-10-13 16:34:40

I am afraid that it is in the DNA of politicians wedded to Westminster to try and re-write history. When so many people are "in the know" on a particular subject then it is no surprise that fewer and fewer people trust politicians and take the trouble to vote. Back in the early 1990's the Tory government massively reduced the money given to councils and many dozens of staff had to leave Harlow Council and quite frankly the service given to the public has never been the same since. As Leader of Harlow Alliance it was I who asked the question of the then Leader of the Council, Cllr Perrin about the number of vacancies. I was quite frankly dumfounded to hear from him that despite there being 60 plus vacancies or deleted posts he did not feel that the services provided by the Council were not being compromised. As for your post James, just more smoke an mirrors. I wonder how staff in the Regeneration service of Harlow Council feel about that. The fact is, and I am no fan of Labour of Course, Harlow Council, led at the time by Labour, were at the heart of the bid which secured £23.7 million. Cllr Vince, I would love to see the response you got from Cllr Swords!

2023-10-13 18:50:22

Here we go again more of the he says she says they say, playing political football with the residents of Harlow, how about you both work together for the benefit of us voters and if your not capable step aside and let some who is

2023-10-13 19:00:30

Conservatives lie. Is it in their DNA or is it taught to them? Whatever the Tories just lie.

Kim Oconnor
2023-10-13 19:34:37

Cuts left right and centre ,with this lot. Tell that to all the people that lost there jobs ,from council to teachers, and so on. 😂 oh dear James Leppard. No fan of labour, both as bad as one an other. Waffle Waffle.

2023-10-13 19:51:59

Funny that this new source happily name drops the conservative leader in Harlow but not Vince. One might think that there is bias. Yourharlow, you're tied to a sinking ship!

James Leppard
2023-10-13 22:32:59

As I stated, irrespective of the nonsense and vitriol of Alderman Durcan and Mark, the actual facts are on the website of Harlow Council. Why do they even bother to claim otherwise? Quite bewildering.

Tony Edwards
2023-10-13 23:05:09

James - your duplicity knows no bounds. Yes the vehicle used to submit the bid was the Harlow Growth Board. as it is the the body that is responsible for the development and signing off of the Town Investment Plan / Town Deal and Harlow Council is the accountable body. As you well know on the board sits the Leader and Deputy of The Council, The Chief Executive of the Council along with "key stakeholders from the public, private and third sector which have a strong presence in Harlow." The work drawing up the scheme would have been done by the Harlow Council Regeneration Team. At the time of the of the submission of the bid was Harlow Council's Administration was under Labour control. It is interesting to note that under the present Conservative administration the Board does not appear to have had any recorded meetings this year. see link for details https://moderngov.harlow.gov.uk/ieListMeetings.aspx?XXR=0&Year=2020&CId=300&MD=ielistmeetings

2023-10-14 02:07:34

Conservatives councillors do lie, and attempt to protect each other. I know this from experience. But the truth does come out. I hope labour try doing better, and tell the truth, next time they are in power.

2023-10-14 02:09:01

Conservatives councillors do lie, and attempt to protect each other. I know this from experience. But the truth does come out. I hope labour try doing better, and tell the truth, next time they are in power.

2023-10-14 10:12:39

James Leppard has been caught out making stuff up in this on-line newspaper before. Quite why anyone would believe a word he says I don't know? It's not vitriol to point out that habitual liars are making stuff up again..

2023-10-14 10:52:01

Chris vince is having a laugh isn't he? Or has he forgotten Labours spend on concrete table tennis tables, concrete benches hoping to be chess tables or the biggest flower pots in Harlows history and all in Market square. Continually running down areas to then sell off to developers.

James Leppard
2023-10-14 19:05:25

The bottom line is that over a decade Labour presided over the total decline of the Town Centre, into a Third World wilderness. They never effectively addressed the problem of the Council not owning land. This administration has tackled that head on. It has changed the dynamics completely. Harlow Labour were, and continue to be absolutely clueless regarding regeneration.

Kim Oconnor
2023-10-15 08:42:36

James Leppard, regeneration that no one can afford, regeneration where affordability has dropped significantly, so much of the promise to deliver affordability... your regeneration programme has yet to materialise... with thousands and thousands of unaffordable housing estates, and so little affordability.. . Do you actually think this is helping people, do you actually think theses project s around our boarders is going to help this town, when all council tax goes to other councils..AND HAVING THESES ESTATES BUILT FIRST WITH OUT FACILITIES, AND INFRASTRUCTURE IS A GOOD IDEA, WE HAVE ALL READY BEEN TOLD IT WONT HAPPEN. PUTTING MORE AND MORE PRESSURE ON HARLOW... NOT TO MENTION ALL THE DESTRUCTION OF THE RIVER STORT VALLEY.... JAMES WHAT IS HARLOW GAINING.?????? Admit it , admit it,, this is a profit before needs thing, a grab and greed thing ,that does not benift this town AT ALL. ALL WE GET IS THE DESTRUCTION OF OUR GREEN BELT...AND MORE AND MORE TRAFFIC ON OUR ALL READY OVER LOADED ROADS... HEARTS AND EPPING.... NOT ON MY DOOR STEP, BUT WE WILL TAKE THE MONEY.

Nicholas Taylor
2023-10-15 09:04:51

And having taken a walk around the Town Centre this morning I am afraid to say James that it will remain a third world wilderness until such time as those that own the former Gate House Site, the Odeon site, Market House and the land behind it, the former Square Site, half of one side of Broadwalk and the Kitson Way carpark decide to develop their land. With high interest rates and high inflation developers are unlikely to want to start building any time soon. Today I noticed that no-one seems to be keeping the new flower beds in Market Square in good order, not a good sign for the future when your Party propose to "green up" the whole of the town centre. In the meantime, we all await detailed plans of what is going to replace Occasio House.

Guy Flegman
2023-10-15 09:26:11

Clearly some of these fools have never been to the third world, and to compare Harlow to it is absurd.

James Leppard
2023-10-15 10:01:27

I have lived in several third world /developing countries. Much of Harlow Town centre would fit into that description: dilapidated, run down, high levels of anti-social behaviour, the sort place most decent people would avoid.

Nicholas Taylor
2023-10-15 10:31:41

I would like to point out that I would not describe the Town Centre as third world, I took this from Cllr Leopards description. Despite it's faults, Harlow is still a great place to live, yes after some 75 years much needs a makeover and investment. Where the Harlow Alliance disagree with the two main Parties is how the once in a lifetime opportunity to spend almost £100 million is to be spent and working with those in Epping and Hertford in allowing thousands of homes to be built around Harlow.

Kim Oconnor
2023-10-15 10:32:06

Dear oh dear 😂 😂 so not much to be proud about James is there. Green up, they don't know the meaning of the word, plant up tell the story of it, and then just leave to die. No maintenance of them.

Kim Oconnor
2023-10-15 10:33:31

Spot on Nicholas.

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