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Sycamore Field: Labour leader calls for public meeting as residents homes set to be demolished

News / Fri 26th Jan 2024 at 12:44pm

THE LEADER of Harlow Labour has lent his support to residents of a Sumners housing estate whose homes may be demolished.

Harlow Council is set to take the difficult decision to move residents out of two of its flat blocks in the town which face demolition due to increasing costs of works advised by the Fire Service. 

The council has so far spent over £300,000 on fire safety works on the four-storey flat blocks in Sycamore Field. More than £5.5m will need to be spent on further fire safety measures. 

Living in the 54 homes are 15 council tenants and 34 leaseholders. Five of the homes are currently vacant and the council is aware that 14 of the homes owned by leaseholders are let to private renters. 

Labour leader, Chris Vince said: “As leader of the opposition I will work with the council in anyway I can to ensure that residents are supported as much as possible during this difficult time.

“I know for a number of residents this will come as a shock and it is vital that the council communicates effectively and regularly with them as things develop.

“There will be lots of speculation, and residents will be worried about their futures.

“The council must hold a residents briefing to provide updates and details on the next steps”.

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21 Comments for Sycamore Field: Labour leader calls for public meeting as residents homes set to be demolished:

Dan Swords
2024-01-26 12:58:38

If he read the statement, every resident has already been offered meetings. They have also been offered another meeting on the day of the Cabinet meeting.

Chris Vince
2024-01-26 13:00:38

Hi Dan, that's great news. In fairness I think our statements overlapped. Not seeking to make politics out of this (because there isn't any) and genuinely want to help with this situation as much as I can.

Sarah Simons
2024-01-26 18:19:53

Dan Swords that is untrue, we received one letter and that is it. No invite to the cabinet meeting and noting about individual meeting dates!! I am a leasehold in the block so please do not make a comment that is simply not true. In the letter we was told the council could not offer any advice or guidance at this time. I have shown this letter to the BBC today.

Kim Oconnor
2024-01-26 18:30:29

Sarah Simons, I'm not surprised at all. Does not surprise me.. I said other day, have you spoken to theses people ? .. no reply.

Emma blakey
2024-01-26 21:42:24

Iam a private tenant in this block.. we have been told nothing by a one letter that contains nothing to help us .. found out more on harlow news and from the BBC

Matthew Kirkbride
2024-01-26 23:20:59

Just reading the appalling grammar and spelling on YH, it is quite possible that the literacy levels of many of the residents is below standard and that their comprehension of any written communications received have not been properly comprehended. Average educational attainment in Harlow has deteriorated and is below County and National averages. This is substantiated by our higher levels of crime and anti social behaviour and by the sub-standard quality of written communications. If this town wishes to have a sustainable and prosperous future, it really needs to follow the steps of a number of London boroughs to gentrify and change the composition of our population, bringing in a better class of people and pricing the undesirables out of the market so they move out. Other towns and boroughs have done this successfully. It elevates the place and generates investment, good quality jobs and capital appreciation of land and property. This is the way forward.

Eddie
2024-01-27 07:49:53

MK . So should we move anyone that cannot spell out of the town , (a bit like Newham council) . Perhaps it would be better if you moved out the town. You are really up your own a*#e.

Nicholas Taylor
2024-01-27 08:44:21

So by your reasoning MK, those people who are not in the class you refer to (whatever that is) are then herded into places somewhere else. Those living in London with the same view as you believe that Harlow is such a place. It is of course already working for them, but to the detriment of us who have been here for decades. What this Tory Government has failed to see is that the billions of pounds it has spent on it's Levelling Up programme should be spent on levelling up places like Harlow on things that will improve the educational standards and therefore life chances of the younger generation. Spending millions on a new bus station, a (very small) live music venue, new Playhouse box office, new paving and the planting of trees will achieve nothing for most residents of this town, at best only for those who can afford to go to a theatre or watch live music (there are already many such places in Harlow which hold such events anyway). It's called social cleansing.

Voteforme
2024-01-27 09:20:15

Chris Vince calls for a meeting! Don't just call for one, show leadership, ARRANGE ONE. Elections are coming, get one over the opposition

Jennifer Steadman
2024-01-27 10:09:31

Lets concentrate on grammar & spellings & ignore & bypass the genuine issue here! These people are in turmoil!! Their lives are being totally uprooted, disrupted & dislodged, but as long as the spelling & grammar in the media story is correct we can feel free to destroy them & inflict our prejudice & quite frankly, rude & unjustified views & opinions upon them? Really? Come on folks, empathy & understanding is what is needed here along with positive action & our full support!!

Neighbour
2024-01-27 14:06:38

Can all you tenants park your cars in your designated base and not over the road as it is easier for you to walk out your door straight To your car

Dan S
2024-01-27 16:00:15

Dan Swords, as an effected resident I can tell you we have had one letter detailing the councils intention with no further communication. I've had more information from the press coverage than from the council. I would suggest you get you facts correct before commenting on a public forum.

David
2024-01-28 14:28:36

Matthew Kirkbride - There are 15 council tenants and 34 leaseholders, so that is a slightly higher proportion of private to social than the mix for the town as whole. Now, while Central London has become one of the most attractive places for Hong Kong residents and others to invest their money in recent times, only the bravest will venture beyond Zone 4 and with horror stories like Newham buying a new development here 'wholesale' to house their homeless, no investor is going to touch this place other than for those 'human warehouse' office block conversions. You knock something down in this town and what you get is invariably worse.Gentrification is something that works best when it is people and market led rather than led by government. And Nicholas, I think they prefer the term ‘decant’ rather than ‘herd’ —-- And we are talking about the possibility of descent people perhaps losing their homes here.

Nicholas Taylor
2024-01-28 17:32:34

It is evident from the comments made by residents that the Council's Community Engagement Strategy has not been adhered to yet again. It is clear that residents have not had sight of the various reports about the safety of the building and the fire services recommendations or the report to be discussed at the Cabinet meeting. This gives them very little time to come to any conclusion/comment/collective decisions on the way forward. Buying back the 34 leasehold flats will surely cost at least £8 million (34 times £240K), add to that the demolition costs and the cost of re-housing the council tenants. David, whichever word you use, the fact is, Council tenants have a secure tenancy and cannot be forced out, unless of course their homes are going to be demolished. Perhaps HDC are using these tactics in the name of regeneration.

Zoë
2024-01-28 21:29:42

I am a leaseholder & can also confirm the council has refused any communication with us & has not given us individual meetings or any info other than the block is due to be demolished. We have no idea when it will be demolished or when the meetings are. They have given more info to the BBC & Your Harlow than they have the residents. Also to the 'neighbour' who commented regarding parking, I can only presume you haven't been in Harlow long. The parking you *think* is for the residents of the flats, is actually a council forecourt containing hard standings. These are available to rent by anyone living in Harlow, they are not allocated parking for flat residents. I presume you live in a house in Sycamore Field, you can apply for a hardstanding and pay around just £12 a month to have 1 for yourself if you wish. Although they're probably about to get demolished now anyway so your moan is a bit late. Also a bit insensitive considering people are losing their homes & you're moaning about the parking they never even had.

Nicholas Taylor
2024-01-29 00:22:21

Zoe, would you know if residents have got together themselves to discuss the situation? From what you and others are saying it seems clear that Cllr Swords' statement is at the very least misleading. Would you know if any residents intend to ask questions of Councillors at the actual Cabinet meeting? Is there any kind of spokesperson on behalf of residents? Nicholas Taylor, Leader of Harlow Alliance.

Zoë
2024-01-29 13:30:28

Nicholas, all of us have plenty of questions to ask but have been told by the council we cannot ask anything at all. We don't know when anything is going to happen or anything more than the building is being demolished. No plans, no dates, nothing. It's being managed really badly.

Nicholas Taylor
2024-01-30 08:43:00

Zoe, take a look at the website www.harlow alliance party.org. Go to contact us and leave an email with your phone number on and I will contact you. At the cabinet meeting up to three people can ask up to two questions each, each with a supplementary question. We can help residents do this or indeed ask such questions if requested by residents.

Pp
2024-01-30 13:59:03

I am a leaseholder in this block and found out about this issue via an article on Yourharlow! Then discovered the only notification of this was a hand delivered notice 6 days to the tenant. prior to the article . Dan Swords you are lying. No correspondence to the leaseholders address No meeting offer

Nicholas Taylor
2024-01-30 17:00:27

Pp my offer to Zoe stands for you as well, contact the Harlow Alliance Party for information/advice/help.

Jennifer
2024-01-30 21:22:00

Demolition of your home or face £110k bill as a leaseholder?! Shocking. The government has excluded low-rise buildings under 11 metres in height from any building safety remediation funding schemes nationally because they insist expensive remediation is almost never needed. As a result, leaseholders are left picking up the costs. And yet here the suggestion is that the costs would be an eye-watering £110k per leaseholder if the block were not demolished. Have any of the affected leaseholders or tenants raised this with the Conservative MP Robert Halfon? He was generally quite sympathetic to leaseholders during the Fire Safety Bill and Building Safety Bill a couple of years ago. Our campaign group (End Our Cladding Scandal campaign) is currently campaigning for more recognition and support of the issues faced in low-rise blocks, today in a public bill committee the shadow Housing minister referred to some of the short video case studies we have been creating on this topic in the last couple of weeks. If any affected leaseholders want to get involved in this, perhaps as a way to create a bit more attention from your local politicians and building owner, then please get in touch. Our email address is on our twitter page or website. Best wishes to you all. Have you asked @halfon4harlowMP & council about absurdity of govt excluding low-rise <11m buildings from fire safety funding schemes nationally because @luhc says never need remediation?

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