Potter Street campaigner continues to question Harlow Council’s commitment to the area

News / Fri 22nd Mar 2024 at 02:02pm

A POTTER Street resident has questioned Harlow Council’s commitment to developing a community hub in the area.

Colin Thorpe asked a number of questions at a cabinet meeting (Thursday) on the future plans of a health and well being hub. He also questioned why they will need planning permission for a hut in the Potter Street and Church Langley allotment

Question: Colin Thorpe

At the Cabinet Meeting held 1st December 2022, Councillor Charles stated “The
Council is committed to actively working with the Potter Street Wellbeing Hub
Trust to seek to find venues from which it can commence running some well
being activities in the Potter Street area.

In your letter dated 7th December 2022 to the Trustees in your capacity of
Deputy Leader and Portfolio holder for Regeneration after it was decided that
Osler House was uneconomical to repair you wrote “That is why we will seek to
find an alternative venue in Potter Street for your project that does not require
such levels of investment .

“I am confident that this can be done in short order.”

In an email dated 12th December 2022 in reply to my own Robert Halfon MP
wrote “ Thank your for your email please be assured that I will work with the
Council to do all we can to help find an alternative venue for the Hub”.

Fourteen months have now passed since these promises were made will the
Leader of Council now honour these promises or will the residents of South East
Harlow once again be let down?

Reply from Councillor Dan Swords (Leader of the Council):

With a view to assisting the Potter Street Wellbeing Hub locate a venue, Council
Officers facilitated a meeting with the Potter Street Community Association who
at the time had capacity to take on new bookings within the existing Community
Centre. As far as I have reviewed, perfectly reasonable offers were made but
not accepted.

This would have seen the hub located in Potter Street.

Nevertheless, Harlow Council have also supported the Wellbeing Hub
concerning the community garden/growing project at the Dudley Terrace
Allotment. That is an active project, and the Council is in the process of
regularising the occupation of the site via the grant of a new lease.

Furthermore, given the welcome news of the proposed sale of Osler House to
Mind in West Essex, there may be opportunity to work with the charity regarding
use of the community space within the property. In due course, Harlow Council
would be happy to make introductions so that the parties can discuss what
opportunities there may be.


Colin Thorpe to Councillor Dan Swords (Leader of the Council):
Following on from my previous question on the Council’s suggested
commitment to supporting the “Hub”.

The Potter Street Health and Wellbeing Hub have only been able to progress
one part of it’s plans and this has been achieved by taking over a derelict
allotment site in Potter Street and creating the Potter Street and Church Langley
Community Garden .

Unfortunately, the Garden lacks its “Hub” which is a central part of the project
not only as a administrative centre for the rental of allotments but also
somewhere our volunteers can rest

Will the Council now use its powers as granted in the “Smallholdings and
Allotments Act 1908” Part ll section 26 which allows for improvements on
allotments and The Town and Country Planning (General Permitted
Development) (England) Order Part 12 Class A which allows the erection of
small ancillary buildings of less than 4 metres in height with a maximum of 200
cubic metres capacity and provide a small log cabin funded by some of funds
which were allocated to Osler House and by so doing honour its promise to find
a base for the “Hub” in Potter Street?

Reply from Councillor Dan Swords (Leader of the Council):

Thank you for your question. The council congratulates The Potter Street Health
and Wellbeing Hub on its important work in creating a community garden. The
provision of a small log cabin for the purposes of an administrative centre or rest
area on statutory allotment land will be contrary to planning laws.

However, the council will commit to working with your organisation with a view to providing an
appropriate facility for ancillary use to a statutory allotment, subject to the
building and use falling within permitted development.

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4 Comments for Potter Street campaigner continues to question Harlow Council’s commitment to the area:

2024-03-22 16:23:30

Cllr Swords couldn't sound more disingenuous if he tried. The Tories in general have little comprehension of what community means. This isn't rocket science. Show me an allotment with no sheds for people and I'll show you a field with no community: allotments are about community. It's obviously beyond Harlow Tories, who closed the Potter Street Neighbourhood Office in order to distance themselves from the local community as fast as possible in 2002 and more recently at the last minute don't turn up at pre arranged Ward meetings. Contrast, just beyond the other end of Potter Street, London Rd: allotments there have cabins and look to be thriving. The Conservatives are more concerned about PR and grandstanding about buying flats near the Town Station when they had no intention of doing so but as we all know, were bounced into it by being shamed by Newham Council. The tory photoson their election propaganda is a wrecking ball and grab, quite a fitting emblem. Community Volunteers like Colin and the Community group are absolute diamonds. The Tories in Harlow have a long history obfuscation, ignoring and thwarting good community projects and aspirations.

L A Bayliss
2024-03-23 16:52:38

14 .months of lies and disinformation from local Tories. 14 years of lies and disinformation from national Tories.

2024-03-24 10:14:48

They don't give a damn. Come the election and remember the lies and false promises made.

2024-03-25 19:10:16

I cannot understand why Councilors are reluctant to use the powers available to them to achieve what was promised. What is the difference between siteing 10 8x6 sheds equaling 480sq ft which is allowable but not a 13x19 log cabin which is only 247sq ft?

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