Letter to Editor: The disgraceful demolition of Sherards House
Politics / Thu 7th Dec 2023 at 11:50am
WHEN a group of residents in Harlow came together in 2017 to form a new local independent political party, a great deal of time was spent on deciding a name which reflected who we were and what we wanted to achieve. The Harlow Alliance Party was formed with the strap line of “Preserving our Heritage, Promoting our Future”.
It has become quite clear that neither our Conservative controlled Council nor Labour opposition have any regard to either.
Despite fierce opposition from residents both Conservative and Labour Councillors voted to demolish Sherards House, a house over 100 years old and replace it with fourteen homes on the site.
If that was not bad enough, the Council have shown all the signs of a bad developer by letting the house fall into disrepair, giving it an excuse to demolish it and then cramming so many homes on the site that access to eleven of them will be via a garage access road that following the construction of two one metre wide paths will be only be three meters wide, not wide enough for two cars to pass each other at the same time.
The Harlow Alliance Party support the need for new council owned homes, converting the house in to 4 flats and building 7 bungalows in the grounds would actually have been a far better use for this land and preserved a house which has stood since before the New Town was formed. Instead, clearance of the site began earlier this week.
Nicholas Taylor and the Harlow Alliance Party
The same council can turn down the demolition of the white horse pub does it take a brown envelope to get these things done
I am truly saddened that this once magnificent house has been raised to the ground. It is only when you dig about you find interesting facts. It appears that a part of Gt Parndon might have once been owned by St Thomas hospital. I wonder if Sherards House was included in this ownership?When I lived in the house, I was always told by the council that I couldnt put any shelves on the wall because the property was listed and special permission would need to be granted. If this was indeed the case, can a house be removed from a heritage listing? And if so, why would such a property be removed from the listing? And was this the case for Sherards House?
Get rid of the old. Be nice to knock down that eyesore odeon and a few other things too. How can you not be happy for these Harlow families to move into these houses being built is beyond me. There are thousands of Harlow families waiting for an opportunity like this. Move on.
Sallyk, the issue of how Harlow Council allocates its homes is a complex one, difficult to explain here. But the latest figures from the Council (2021 to 2022) show that of the 696 households housed by the Council, 415 were home seekers, 191 were allocated to existing Council tenants and 90 were homeless. To become a home seeker you only need to have lived in the town for 5 years and of course if homeless even less, leading to the accusation that Harlow homes are not being allocated to Harlow families. Had Sherards House been converted to 4 flats and 7 bungalows built in the garden for older tenants, 11 who presently under occupying their council house (there are at least 83 such households on the council waiting list) and lived in Harlow for decades, would have a new home and the houses they vacated would be given to families on the register. Each time one of these new homes becomes vacant the process would be repeated. As it stands, of the 14 families moving in to these new houses, say just 5 will be current council tenants and likely remain there for decades, during which time many may be sold to the sitting tenants. That's why building these houses is only a very short term, one off help to those on the waiting list. Nicholas Taylor, Former Neighbourhood Manager with Harlow Council.
Nich, I think we can all agree that the site should be used for providing good quality social housing even if we differ on the details of how it is achieved. I note that if Labour is elected they have promised to review the “ right to buy legislation”. I for one would be urging them to bring this right to an end until we sort out the housing crisis. Poor housing is at the root of poor health and poor education outcomes. The old model of building houses for sale is broken and it is about time it was changed.
Completely agree with your post Richard.
I couldn't agree with you more, the house itself was originally built by the charter family as a rectory after the old one (which was also coincidentally demolished in the mid 1960s) was sold in the 1920s, I had hoped that in these enlightened and sensitively minded times that we where past the wanton destruction of old buildings but evidently someone has really made an awful error of judgement (at the expense of local history!). it's also pretty reminiscent of what the development corporation did to burnt mill village in the 1960s and significantly they used similar tactics, they claimed (according to contemporary reports) that the houses where structurally "unsound" but in actual fact they didn't want people to see it when they got off the train in a so called "new town", this resulted in the displacement of many elderly residents and there are accounts of old women bawling their eyes out as their houses where torn down in front of them!. personally I think this is nothing short of vandalism and I really hope that someone has a good hard think about the consequences of their actions.
Same can be said of Faircroft in Old Harlow and Northbrooks House.
It is vandalism.
I wonder if these new homes will last 100 years? Prob last 100 days. LOL.