Leader of Harlow Council: “Doing everything we can to stop Newham Council buying Burnt Mills development”

News / Sat 23rd Dec 2023 at 03:40pm

THE report of Newham Council’s bid to purchase the Burnt Mill development, a tower block comprising of 172 homes, seems to have attracted a lot of attention.

Harlow Council seemed to have come in for a lot of criticism.

We sat down with Harlow Council leader, Dan Swords to discuss the situation and let him put his and Harlow Council’s side of the story.

As you may see and hear, Cllr Swords is at pains to point out that “Harlow Council is doing everything possible to stop Newham Council buying this development. and adds “It isa private development built by a private developer on private land.”

For the record, we have e-mailed both the developers and self styled urban regeneration specialists Hollybrook as well as Newham Council and await replies.

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33 Comments for Leader of Harlow Council: “Doing everything we can to stop Newham Council buying Burnt Mills development”:

2023-12-23 16:12:51

Thank you for addressing this. I still hope and expect this will not go through, it is the exact opposite direction of what this town can be. It has much potential to grow but this can only happen on good decisions. This purchase going ahead is not one of them and the issue could have been addressed earlier. Please do everything you can to stop this and also to build a better legal framework or quicker processes to react in the future

2023-12-23 16:16:11

He is right free market, developed privately and sold privately. The only real option would be to buy the flats themselves and address the Harlow housing list. But it seems we only have money for shopping centres.

2023-12-23 16:57:35

I don't think that building near the station should have any council purpose. It should be used to develop the city and bring money in to see actual growth. There should be firm plans in place to adress the housing list but not with a building that can be clearly used for growth

Nicholas Taylor
2023-12-23 18:51:54

So Cllr Swords has known about this for some weeks? It is clear that despite the rhetoric there is really nothing at this stage that either he or the MP can do anything about it. The facts are of course that London Boroughs have bought and indeed built properties outside of London for decades, so there really is nothing new about what is happening now. Lets not forget that it was his Party that brought in legislation that allowed offices to be converted into flats, with little thought about who would occupy them. We should also remember that his Party's vision for the Town Centre includes the building of a number high rise flat blocks, including Strawberry Star who might now progress their plans, in the knowledge that there may be other London Boroughs who would like to follow in the footsteps of Newham.

2023-12-23 19:57:00

I think Harlow Council need to attack this proposal from all angles, I would be instructing some top quality Counsel, and speaking to Shelter and Crisis and including them as interested parties in a JR against Newham as this clearly doesn’t meet with homelessness legislation, Suitability Order and case law. Newham would have to be able to evidence that there is NO accommodation closer to their borough to house homeless households and by buying a block this size it is indicative of them having a blanket policy of moving homeless households outside their area without doing the checks you need to do on every placement you make.

2023-12-23 19:57:15

If this is a private development that has nothing to do with the Council, why did Councillor Swords pose for photos at the topping out ceremony when the building was completed. And why, at that photo op did he claim credit for it being part of his plan to regenerate the town centre. Was he lying?

Alderman Durcan
2023-12-23 21:32:34

Far too late but it a real shame that when Tories knew they could have a conversation with PAH about buying and leasing flats to PAH key workers. Regardless if the new PAH is ever built ,it will still take 5 years before they move. We had several council meetings when this could have been discussed so the silence is very worrying from the Tory leadership. Issue about Trust….

Bruce Downey
2023-12-23 22:50:11

Alarm bells should have been ringing 🛎️ 🚨 back when the council knew it was for a tower block!= usually for the lower classes ‼️

2023-12-23 23:59:28

Harlow Council should buy these flats and take responsibility.

Dorothy Drake
2023-12-24 02:36:18

Mark, if you actually bother to listen to the interview, Cllr Swords was asked and answered that specific question. He explained clearly that this was always a private development and that Hollybrook never made any mention of selling to another local authority for temporary accommodation. Stop trying to distort the truth and facts. If Harlow Labour had any decency and interest in serving the people of Harlow, they should be in solidarity with the administration in opposing this blatant social cleansing by Labour run Newham, dumping their unwanted here. We all know they won't and will tacitly support their Newham Labour mates even to the detriment of Harlow residents. God help us if Labour ever get back in control of the council, we will have several Terminus Houses across the town!

2023-12-24 02:51:09

Whatever the faults the local Conservatives have over this and other key issues Labour are certainly not the answer, be very careful what you wish for

gary roberts
2023-12-24 07:30:35

So here we have a local councillor trying and failing to explain his part in this saga. He being the leader of the current council does him no favours. We will do all we can to stop it, is the excuse being backed by Ms. Drake who uses disgusting and degrading phrases like, "blatant social cleansing by Labour run Newham, dumping their unwanted here". For all the verbiage Cllr. Swords has been caught out and he knows it. Hopefully the developers and Newham council will clarify events.

2023-12-24 09:41:19

I totaly agree with you MARK. Dan Swords is another Boris Johnson,he knows what is going on and we are treated like idiots by all of them,its a matter of time before wcerything kicks off in this town,its insulting to be honest and another thing is the way some people really need to get their heads out of their backsides and stop looking down on people ie Bruce Downey. " Tower Blocks are usually for the lower classes????? How dare you,who do you think you are????? You are a fool.

Tony Edwards
2023-12-24 09:55:29

So if Cllr Swords knew about this in Mid November and why if he was so concerned were Cllrs not told about it either at Cabinet on the 30th November or at last week's full Council meeting when he was extolling the virtues of his Corperate Plan and his plans to make Harlow a great place?

2023-12-24 10:11:53

Gary Roberts, what are you on about. How would you describe what Newham is doing. We are not going to get doctors, engineers, maths teachers or physicists are we? No just a load social rejects that will live off benefits and put more strain on our services. Look at the disaster of Terminus House with the drugs and anti-social behaviour problems. Ask the people of Harlow if they want this! You know they don't! Time to support the Council in stopping this abuse against our town by other useless councils shipping their social problems here.

Nicholas Taylor
2023-12-24 10:25:03

Just a point of fact Dorothy, in the period 2014 to 2019 records show that the council which housed the most of their homeless families in Harlow was Tory led Uttlesford. Tory led Epping Forest DC was also a common culprit. The fact is of course that the recent massive rent rises in the private sector has seen thousands of people no longer being able to afford their rent and have ended up homeless. Many of those who might end up coming to Harlow will have travel back to Newham to work and keep in contact with their social network, never knowing how long they will be living in Harlow. Harlow Council must of had concerns about this block some time ago even if only because the flats were not being advertised in local estate agents .

Richard Adams
2023-12-24 10:34:59

Can I thank Your Harlow for publishing. this interview and may I say I was surprised to hear a Conservative politician speaking plainly without having to fall back on the usual Tory cliches that usually flow from the Tory Central office. Thankyou Mark. We all have our views on the rights or wrongs of this argument but I would appeal to all the political parties to put aside their differnces on this matter come together to agree a common approach to try and resolve this or at least rescue something from this mess. Perhaps a Christmas miracle will take place but I'm not holding my breath.

Nicholas Taylor
2023-12-24 10:43:41

John, I rather think you have little experience of why people become homeless and I don't think comparing Terminus House with the new build at Burnt Mill is a fair comparison. I am not here to defend either Newham or Harlow Council in this matter, but having been the homeless person officer at Harlow Council for three years in the distant past, I know that people from all walks of life can find themselves homeless. Fire, flood, unable to afford sky high rents, loss of a family member, domestic violence are all ones I came across. The fact that a Council may own this block rather than a company which owns Terminus House does give more hope that it and the residents will be better managed . My much bigger concern in the long run is the fact that this Tory led Council sees the future of Harlow Town Centre including many high rise flat blocks. As is the case now for example at the former Longmans site, singles and couple moving in will in due course have children, children with no-where to play or interact with other children from school, all having to be driven to the nearest schools which have little if any room to accommodate them. This leads to social isolation and all the problems this can bring.

gary roberts
2023-12-24 10:54:56

"We are not going to get doctors, engineers, maths teachers or physicists are we? No just a load [of] social rejects that will live off benefits and put more strain on our services." Oh dear John just another disgusting and degrading comment when you have no idea who will come from Newham an area I know fairly well. Even those trades you mention are having issues on housing and the cost of living. In Newham it is no different to the rest of this country that is currently governed by a bunch of incompetents and liars. Or Conservatives in shorthand. Is this just a smoke and mirrors exercise like the story of refugees moving into the flats near the hospital many months ago. Perhaps the council should have bought that development in an effort to really attempt to deal with the current housing needs register in this town.

2023-12-24 11:57:06

Gary Roberts, I think you like most lefties are completely deluded. I have seen very few poets, scientists or surgeons wandering around Terminus House. It is a drug ridden disgrace and this development will be no different. Everyone needs to stick together to defend our town. What Newham and other boroughs are doing is disgraceful using Harlow as a social dumping ground.

gary roberts
2023-12-24 12:25:49

I suppose John you have asked those what they do for a living: have you? Or, using your prejudices, just agreed it to be so. And of using "you lefties" as a derogatory or pejorative term to describe people you disagree with. Have you spoken too or know people who are destitute? I suspect not, or if you have, use the "I don't mean you, its all those others." There is a term for that but I suspect this posting would be cut by the editor if I used it.

2023-12-24 13:22:48

@Adam. What shopping centres? I'm not being facetious just don't know of any new shopping centres.

2023-12-24 13:37:05

Gary Roberts, you know full well the type of people that will be shipped here from Newham...all their undesirables, obviously. Compared to London prices and values, we are a cheap option. Nobody in their right mind wants these people here. They should never be able to access Harlow council housing. Personally, I think they should not be allowed to vote here, where they are temporary like a tourist or visitor. They should vote in Newham and not acquire any rights in Harlow. They should be treated like transitory residents. Most normal Harlow people don't want them here. They are not welcome. We need to stop this.

View from Afar
2023-12-24 15:37:43

Did he do this to stop this development? - no he didn’t of course. He’s unlikely to turn this around either. Later when deputy leader he resigned now somehow he’s the leader. I might write a book “The misadventures of Dan Swords aged…” https://www.yourharlow.com/2021/06/10/new-bush-fair-councillor-utterly-opposes-purford-green-development-at-planning-committee-and-says-he-will-lay-in-front-of-diggers-dressed-as-batman/?_gl=1*1rw6p3c*_ga*MTc1MjExNDQyLjE3MDMxODkzOTc.*_ga_VG46TH43S2*MTcwMzQzMTM4Mi4zLjEuMTcwMzQzMTUzOC4wLjAuMA..

Gary Roberts
2023-12-24 15:48:51

John, what is a "normal" Harlow person? Have you any empirical evidence to show that Harlow people agree with you? I suspect not. It is an issue that Cllr Swords was aware of and did nothing until this platform highlighted it. I suggest you discuss this with him because I suspect he and the council cannot do anything to stop it now if agreement has already been reached by the developer and Newham council.

2023-12-24 16:47:13

@auntyboo the council bought the Harvey center

Iain Lindsay
2023-12-24 20:18:02

John is saying what the majority of people in the town think but has ruffled the feathers of the arch handwringer Gary Roberts. Mr Roberts would love all the London undesirables to move here so he can virtue signal whilst fervently hoping he isn't a victim of aquisitive burglary perpetrated by said people, or mugged by a drug -fuelled thug looking for money for his next fix. But like all woke left wingers he offers no working alternative.

2023-12-24 22:12:58

More typically labour voters being shipped into Harlow

gary roberts
2023-12-25 06:50:44

Mr. Lindsay, I suspect that like John you have little evidence to support your nonsense and therefore indulge in insults. Happy Christmas!

2023-12-25 09:59:34

It's BURNT Mill not mills despite what the developer has on their website.

2023-12-26 08:55:22

Classic modern political tactic of repeatedly restating the outrageous situation that Mr Sword’s council has allowed to evolve. Correct me if I am wrong, but did not Harlow council grant planning permission to build these flats in the first place ? Would it not have been prudent to impose some form of covenant upon the developers to prevent this sort of eventuality? ( Incidentally, the development destroys the careful balanced sight lines that the original town planners did such an amazing job of preserving… but that is another matter). Once again the town has been led down the garden path by naive and incompetent leadership. While I welcome any effort to protect the town , this sounds from Mr Swords commentary as inevitably it will be too little too late! Time for change

2023-12-29 22:49:52

Just buy all the homes, sorted

2024-01-11 16:03:53

Any news on this?

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