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Strawberry Star development in Harlow Town Centre: Councillors question whether work will ever start

News / Wed 14th Feb 2024 at 11:02am

PRESSURE for property develops Strawberry Star to start construction work for close to 600 homes in the town centre has been intensified following further planning permission being granted last night (Tuesday).

The meeting was scheduled for Valentine’s Day (but was moved to Feb 13th) either way it was clear that there was very little love in the air between the local councillors and the developers.

To recap: Strawberry Star bought the land in the west part of the town centre in 2018. In 2022, planning permission was granted but subject to agreeing to infrastructure payments (something called a Section 106 agreement).

In November 2022, there was a big photo call as demolition began.

And then it went very quiet. In June 2023 they issued a statement to YH explaining why no work had begun.

On Tuesday night, the item was back around the table as:

The legal agreement has now been signed by both parties……It is considered that due to it being signed beyond the three months specified in the initial resolution, it is appropriate to refer the matter back to the Development Management Committee to re-affirm their position.

And permission was granted but not before both Labour and Conservative councillors had their say.

Toddbrook councillor Tony Edwards spoke in his capacity as a ward councillor.

He said: “Over the past few years, we have seen rat infestations, a build up of rubbish and an area very badly managed.

“They appear to have no idea when they will start…This could go for years.”

The news from the meeting appeared to be that the clock is now ticking for Strawberry Star. It looks like they have until Feb 2027 to start construction.

However, could it be possible that the whole area will continue to look like a derelict slum with all the social problems which that brings? Looks like a yes.

Cllr Maggie Hulcoop reminded the chamber that “we have been here before”.

In 2010, Australian developer Stockland pulled out of a 120,000 sq m town centre regeneration project as it looksed to withdraw from the UK due to global financial conditions.

Regeneration experts have suggested to Your Harlow that the council may have to try and buy the land in order to get things moving. However, having already bought The Harvey Centre, that would be a brave move.

The full film can be seen below.

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12 Comments for Strawberry Star development in Harlow Town Centre: Councillors question whether work will ever start:

Harlow. council. useless.
2024-02-14 12:18:50

LOL I knew it Harlow all talk no action promise these big things but never do nothing useless !!

gary roberts
2024-02-14 15:45:33

So Cllr. Swords how many more of your 11 developments will go the same way as this one? Will the public be taken by the smile and photo shoot come May: I seriously hope not!

Cheryl
2024-02-14 17:26:08

What a disaster.lol.should have left the once great Harlow New Town as i was meant to be. What have you lot done. We have been laughed at.

Eva
2024-02-14 18:43:42

The square…derelict. The buildings by the old cinema…derelict The ‘new’ home of England public health…derelict. Whole place looks poor. Let’s get on with it.

Mark Lavender
2024-02-14 20:51:27

Here’s a thought. Why don’t we find a billionaire to buy us all out? We can stay rent free. No more ridiculous than the council feeling obliged to do land purchases on our behalf.

Cheryl
2024-02-14 21:30:13

600 homes in the Town Centre,it would have been so nice to have a beautiful landscaped area,water feature,some seating,but no lets build yet more homes and high blocks of flats instead.Its vle in Harlow,it is so overpopulated and its starting to feel so closed in and claustraphobic. Watch mental health issues go from bad to worse in Harlow. Its far to overbuilt here now and it is a vile town to live in.

T. C
2024-02-14 23:14:37

So glad I left Harlow 20 years ago,how much lower can it go? Well done councillors of all parties for ruining a once beautiful town.

Bruce Downey
2024-02-15 06:47:54

What a calamity!! both the reds and the blues have messed up, at least we have got an artist impression to go with the others to look at 😵‍💫

DEK HAN
2024-02-15 07:39:54

Well they’ll only be given/sold to other councils for their bad tenants, social dropouts, druggies, drunks and more criminals imported into this town providing another Photo Shoot Publicity Stunt for another Grinning Tory Horsesxxse to spout more BS BLAH BLAH BLAH!

Kim Oconnor
2024-02-15 10:08:26

Again developer's getting the upper hand. This needs to be addressed, this needs to stop. They can feed councils any excuse s under the sun and get away with it.

Eddie
2024-02-15 20:20:19

As I said on another post , BBC news always shows Harlow town centre when they want to show a dilapidated town , we are down there with Jaywick. When the South East needs an enema, Harlow is where they will.put the tube. Harlow is absolutely awful , I am embarrassed to say I live here.

Nicholas Taylor
2024-02-16 14:21:19

To put this in to some sort of prospective, this development is the best part of four times as large as the flat block which is nearing completion at the Harlow Town Railway Station and if my memory stands me right could be 16 storeys high. It will completely change the whole ethos of what a Garden Town should look like, forming part of our Tory Council's plan for the future of the Town Centre, which includes another tower block in Wych Elm, a tower block on the Kitson Way car park, a tower block next to the old cinema and another between Terminus House and the hotel nearby. No parking, no council homes, no affordable homes. At least one of these was being advertised as buy to let, we now know what this could mean, councils in London buying up whole block to house residents from their waiting lists.

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