Harlow Council leader: Harlow Conservatives have delivered on promise and cleared entire backlog in council housing repairs.

News / Mon 1st Apr 2024 at 08:18am

Dear Editor,

LAST June, I announced Harlow Council’s five priorities for this financial year. The first priority was to fix council housing which included five clear promises for this year.

The first promise was to clear the entirely unacceptable backlog in repairs on council houses which at that time saw two in every three council homes with an outstanding repair – nearly 6,000 in total. We promised to do that by 31 March 2024 (the end of the financial year).

Today (31 March 2024), I can confirm that the Harlow Conservatives have delivered on that promise and cleared the entire backlog in council housing repairs.

Many told us it would be impossible. Harlow Labour said it was unachievable which was rich given that when they left administration in 2021 they left with a backlog of c.5,000 outstanding repairs. But we have delivered and cleared the entire backlog in council housing repairs.

But we have also delivered on our other promises to fix council housing this year too.

We have:
Slashed the turnaround time on empty homes by 70%.
Introduced an annual inspection of every council home.
Commenced a specialist stock condition survey of every home to massively improve the maintenance of council homes.
Cut the standard repair time from over 270 days (9 months) to just 30 days.
Overhauled the council’s Allocations Policy to ensure that Harlow homes truly are for Harlow people.
Invested £120 million this year to transform Harlow’s housing.

Harlow Labour opposed each of these actions showing yet again why they are totally unfit to run the council.

We promised to fix council housing this year and we have delivered. That’s just one of the many reasons that I hope Harlow residents will back Harlow Conservatives to continue running Harlow Council this May.

It is the biggest election in decades and on council housing alone the choice could not be clearer:

When Harlow Labour ran the council they had a backlog of 5,000 outstanding repairs, the standard repair time was over 9 months, there was next to no maintenance of properties and Harlow homes were not going to Harlow people.

Under Harlow Conservatives, the council has cleared the backlog in housing repairs, cut the standard repair time to just 30 days, invested £120 million to transform Harlow’s housing and ensured that Harlow homes truly are for Harlow people.

I want to finish by paying a very sincere tribute to everyone at the council and HTS who has worked tirelessly every day to deliver on our priorities and fix council housing.

Kind regards,

Cllr Dan Swords
Leader of Harlow Council and Harlow Conservatives

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62 Comments for Harlow Council leader: Harlow Conservatives have delivered on promise and cleared entire backlog in council housing repairs.:

2024-04-01 08:28:28

Well done . Let's hope the tory party get back in Harlow. Not so sure about nationally. Put any other party in Harlow and the good work already done will come to a stop, Especially Labour.

2024-04-01 08:30:08

Fully expect someone to mention 1st April.

2024-04-01 09:02:08

What have you done to help Hackney carriage and private hire drivers in Harlow? All the things you stated and delivered nothing? Unfortunately Councillors don't run the council, officers do.....

gary roberts
2024-04-01 09:23:20

Is there an election soon, editor? There must be because I have heard this ambiguous script many times on this site. Do the electorate believe it? I suspect not given Cllr. Swords and his party's recent record in Potter Street where no consultation on building a large car park between two housing communities and next too two others was undertaken. They called that regeneration! As regards Osler House, well just ask the Conservatives about it when they knock on your door in the next month because after that nothing will be said by them on the subject.

Nicholas Taylor
2024-04-01 09:29:35

More smoke and mirrors from the Conservatives as we lead up to the election. It is after all April fools day today. I for one will take these claims with a pinch of salt because Cllr Swords recently claimed when deleting Band 4 from the Councils housing waiting list that no-one from that category had been housed in the last 5 years when in fact the Council's own Harlow Times recently reported in it's annual report that 54 applicants had been housed from band 4 in the last two years of reporting. The claim about reducing the period council homes stand empty after becoming vacant by 70% sounds good but the figure is 20 days when during the pervious decade apart from during covid it was only 16 days. Overhauling the housing allocation policy just extends the time someone has to live in Harlow and only about a third of the homes allocated go to people who are already tenants of the council, ones who may have lived in the town for decades.

Gary Scott
2024-04-01 09:50:08

You have not dealt with the fire protection on the tower at nichollsfield, that has been like it since grenfell went up , so how can you make these claims

Cllr James Leppard
2024-04-01 10:17:14

Gary Roberts, Cllr Swords and I met with you quite recently in Potter St to discuss and explain the plans for the new car park, the consultation period, the new council homes on the site of the long disused Neighbourhood office. I have also told you that MIND charity has acquired Osler House and will be moving in. This will be of considerable community benefit. I also sent you a full list via YH of many of the works undertaken by this administration in Potter Street. If you really think you can do better, why not stand as a candidate for May. You still have time.

Nicholas Taylor
2024-04-01 10:37:25

Cllr Leppard, your administration demonstrates that it has no concept of community, the conversion of the former Neighbourhood office clearly demonstrates this. I understand that this whole building has a covenant on it which states that it should be used for community use. If so, has your administration consulted with ALL of the residents in Potter Street about removing this covenant or has it taken the approach of that at Sherards House where no such consultation took place. A yes or a no would suffice. And whilst wring have to any comment to make about your leaders statement about band 4 applicants?

Kim Oconnor
2024-04-01 10:49:42

Oh Dan, you never fail to make me chuckle. I don't know any one who's had a house inspection, does any body else. ? Dan swords, when will we hear about burnt mill flats, we're thay cash bought or a loan. ? Watch your rents go up people. Council tax may be frozen but rents arnt.

gary roberts
2024-04-01 11:41:32

Cllr. Leppard, always good to hear you reply for Cllr. Swords. I will of course challenge you on most, if not all, of your posting. And for your information I will be an Independent candidate in May for Potter Street because having lived here for nearly 41 years I think I would do a better job than you and Cllr. Seales. And if elected will attempt to change the focus to a proactive and positive approach to the issues I have highlighted on this organ. Further if elected and fail to change those issues within two years, I will resign my seat because if it doesn't happen in two years it certainly wont happen in four years. You wont do that will you? If the residents' in Potter Street want change they now have that option. But if I fail to be elected at the age of 64 I will revert to my original plan for retirement.

2024-04-01 11:55:03

Hmm, you have not. I have been waiting over 2 years for gutter cleaning, it is a garden on it's own now. Also been waiting for over 2 years for garage door repair and leaking roof. NOT all done I'm afraid

Nogin the nog
2024-04-01 12:21:10

Dan swords your living in a dream world

2024-04-01 12:23:29

Perhaps Cllr Swords has his interveiw shortly to become PPC for Harlow is is trying to big himself up? Ask any black taxi or mini cab driver what they think I think the answers will be completely be different to the point that he now doesn't even communicate as he don't know what to say as he's thrown the trade under a bus.

2024-04-01 12:25:52

Interesting that, if true, the backlog of repairs have been "completed" just weeks before the local elections. I say "if true" because its all very well when these claims are made by a politician who wants to be re-elected, but I would prefer to hear the views of the tenants to see if their experience matches the claims. And if the claims are true, once the elections are over and if his party are re-elected, will they then just revert to type which will see the repairs backlog just build up again?

2024-04-01 13:20:59

Shame you didn't finish repairs on the hospital before the ceiling collapsed on a patient in intensive care. Where's the new hospital that Boris promised? According to this very news website the new hospital is due to open in late 2024 so even if it's delayed it must be close to being finished by now. Right?

James Leppard
2024-04-01 13:48:42

Well, Gary Roberts, it is commendable that you are standing. If elected, you will see it is not quite easy to execute tasks as you seem to think. Nevertheless, well done.

James Leppard
2024-04-01 13:50:32

Martin, just a minor technical point, but Harlow Council is not responsible for the maintenance and repairs of PAH.

gary roberts
2024-04-01 14:20:17

Cllr. Leppard, you have certainly shown that "you will see it is not quite easy to execute tasks as you seem to think" given Potter Street has deteriorated over decades including the last three years. But at least I will attempt it and if I fail then after two years I will resign the seat.

Nicholas Taylor
2024-04-01 14:49:33

Cllr Leppard I note that you have not responded to the two points I made earlier. I am sorry my eyesight meant that I made a couple of typos in the last paragraph, but I am sure you have a good idea of the questions I asked.

2024-04-01 15:31:28

Kim O . Could you please explain to me why you constantly go on about Burnt Mill flats , whether it was cash or a load . What difference does it make as long as Harlow people are getting a home.

2024-04-01 15:37:33

Sorry should have been loan not.load

2024-04-01 16:24:02

So I have been trying for over 18 months or more to get my neighbours gutter fixed. The leak is causing no end of damp and mould issues for me. I do not see that as 100% of repairs fixed. My last call was about 2 weeks ago. The system says logged. that is about as far as it goes. Next bit of rain and the the end cap will leak. Contact Harlow have all the conversations on the system. I am very frustrated by the lack of action.

2024-04-01 16:36:50

Martin : A- the maintenance of the hospital has absolutely nothing to do with the council B- the ceiling didn’t collapse on to a patient , stop spreading lies .

Lorna Curran
2024-04-01 16:37:58

This has to be an April Fools! I live in a council house and waiting repairs. So there is still a back log.

2024-04-01 16:38:30

I couldn't vote Tory even after being a lifelong Tory voter. Sorry but after the corruption and rule breaking and changing, even if not at a local level I couldn't do it. In my opinion its no longer a Conservative party as it does not follow any of the principles and values. PPE, partying whilst people couldn't visit their dying relatives, cash for peerages, the lies and gaslighting. Too much for me.

2024-04-01 16:53:45

This is a joke right! April fools. Gary mate I'd vote for you, love seeing you holding harlow Conservative accountable as well as others in the comments. As usual just empty words from empty people. But Dan is clearly made for the next levels of the Conservative path as he can just blatantly lie just like all the the others in his party just to get back in power. I'd rather vote for a fish.

2024-04-01 16:57:47

Can someone please confirm this article is allowed during the Local election purdah / pre-election period?

2024-04-01 18:45:20

So, if the entire backlog of repairs have been done, why do my neighbours in council homes still talk about stuff they've been waiting for yonks to be done? I think Dan too should have a peek at the facebook group 'Harlow moaning page' to see the amount of tenants complaining of living in some poor conditions, waiting for years, and also the poor repair work carried out by unskilled contractors to HTS recently. I probably would take this news with more than a pinch of salt, considering local elects are just a month away and I also wonder if they've redefined what is need of repair to appear better?! Very much a tory trick. Ps, this online paper really is just singing a swan song for the conservatives recently. It really needs to be more balanced.

2024-04-01 18:56:06

Not true I have Been waiting two years for my blown windows to be changed in almost every room which has caused damp/black mould/condensation and told they damp team will not come out to asses the issue because a job is outstanding for bloen windows to be replaced . when I ring HTS they say the appointment is still outstanding and will receive a letter when the appointment is booked for last contact was January still nothing ?

2024-04-01 19:00:46

Mex, to be fair the story was reported in the Times as collapsing on a patient. And while the tory council has no say on the hospital, we can still think of the issue of years of underfunding by the tories. Cut from the same cloth and all that..

2024-04-01 19:18:39

Harlow council yet again proving a delusion of grandeur only matched by Katie price

2024-04-01 20:04:54

What utter rubbish, I’m still waiting four years after reporting leaking roof and fascia’s that are causing damp in my daughters bedroom

2024-04-01 20:43:51

Maria, that's the problem with politics now, spending our time with personal insults towards people or a party you dislike. I am fed up with the childish political insults would never make me vote a way, as you seem to want to influence, exact opposite in fact. I'm not from Harlow, but have been here on and off over the years, until moving here 12 years ago. Harlow has long been a poor place, has a very wide and bad reputation for a reason, this reputation was not born out of a solely Labour administration, rather a combination of both Lab & cons. Sadly the things that matter, access to the NHS, cuts to council funds, cost of living etc are the things that really matter to most people in the UK, and while that may not be down to local councils, it does come from the Cons run gov - which trickles down and effects us all no matter who is in charge at a local level.

no thanks
2024-04-01 21:49:22

How did you get my email?I am not a tory voter.Just sent me all this boastful Newham crap.God you lot are getting desperate.

Sarah Pottle
2024-04-01 21:54:41

As a tenant in Harlow still waiting since September 2018 for my badly leaking roof to be replaced I’m guessing this is an April Fool?

Go Gary Roberts!
2024-04-01 22:15:25

You care about residents and know your stuff.

2024-04-01 22:29:45

How could any person in their right mind vote tory in local or a general election. They have trashed Britain in every way shape and form. The dept is never going to he paid off. £390milllion a day just on interest is literally crazy. The lies, cheating and down right abuse by tories over the last few years has brought politics to a all time low.. I await any reason to vote Conservative!!!

Nicholas Taylor
2024-04-01 22:59:12

I am no fan of Labour of course but some people on these pages seem to like re-writing history. To add to my previous comments, I would add a couple in respect of the c5000 outstanding repairs mentioned by Cllr Swords. On questioning Cllr Carter about repairs, it turns out that over 500 of these had either already been done or were duplicates of another. It is also interesting to look at the facts from the Council's own tenants annual report, produced in the Harlow Times. in 2019/2020 30,270 jobs were completed, in 2020/21 (during the worse covid period) 23,830 jobs were completed, the following year 2021/2022, 29,691 were completed, however in 2022/2023 just 27,290 jobs were completed. It seems very clear that much if not all of the backlog was created since the Conservatives took control of the Council.

No thanks
2024-04-02 06:07:21

I've reported you as SPAM.Thank God all the halfon stuff has stopped.

2024-04-02 07:17:28

Vote VOTE VOTE The best action anyone can take here is to turn out and vote in the May election. Every seat is up for grabs. !! Personally because both Labour and Conservatives have had a hand in what will totally overload and ruin the town, hggt pfp and especially because the Conservatives have announced they want to turn Harlow into a mini city by building 132000 extra houses I'll not be voting for either. Vote Green or Harlow Alliance Party or Independent they at least are listening. Red and Blue are a Punch and Judy act.

Madam mim
2024-04-02 09:37:22

I have no idea how he got these figures. Ask council residential if this is true. I've been waiting over a year for repairs along with many others who have been waiting longer. Why li it's actually really disappointing, was he lied to or is he aware this is false information. It's concerning either way.

2024-04-02 09:44:01

It clearly was impossible, as I have had a repair outstanding for about a year and someone is only coming for a first look this Thursday!

2024-04-02 09:50:35

Going by responses on here, as well as chatting to my council neighbours, it is clear that Dan Swords is fibbing. Why is the lie being given a platform?

Nicholas Taylor
2024-04-02 10:32:05

My first post on the article clearly shows that the Conservatives have mis-led the public including all 2500 residents who from today have been removed from the Council's housing waiting list. The Harlow Alliance Party if elected next month will do all it can to resurrect this band and to pursue a new allocations strategy which will help more applicants in the future.

peter henegan
2024-04-02 10:45:35

Dan, there are a number of cynical readers on here. May I suggest the way to silence this criticism is to publish the data prepared by the council officers which I would hope is where your numbers come from. I did search for "tenants report" on the council website but the last report that appears was 21/22. Also, is there any progress in the hustings many of us have called for. I recall that in 2019 Passmores school was used, is that not a possibility?

Kim Oconnor
2024-04-02 11:04:42

Eddie, to answer your question.. The people have a right to know if burnt mill flats , we're bought back by a loan or by cash.. . I'm interested all so to know why this information has not been released, and why is it tacking so long to hear.... Theses flats should of been secured in the first place.. I'm interested because it will probably be the people who pay .

View from Afar
2024-04-02 11:40:58

I notice that Cllr Leppard is quick to respond to people when he doesn’t agree with what they say but still hasn’t responded to the post from Nicholas Taylor 2024-04-01 @ 14.49.33

2024-04-02 11:45:52

Kim . It would be the tax payer that would have to pay no matter what. So sorry I cannot see your reasoning , of course unless you feel something underhanded is going on. If you do you need to be very careful what you say.

2024-04-02 11:49:15

Kim . Of course I imagine that you are not thinking that way

2024-04-02 14:39:05

So Cllr Swords messaged yesterday to have a meeting with us, this was replied to then another messaged sent but as always he doesn't answer. If he thinks he's being clever the ballot box will show him otherwise. CLLR SWORDS. grow a pair! Your never become an MP or win the council on lies as has been stated on this post. Your a liar!

Kim Oconnor
2024-04-02 19:00:38

Eddie, what are you talking about, no one's saying it's underhanded, you have wrote that.. But we do have a right to know.. If there's nothing underhanded, then why haven't we heard anything.

2024-04-02 21:15:47

Wow . Kim that last sentence

Kim Oconnor
2024-04-03 06:41:33


Kim Oconnor
2024-04-03 07:08:16

Alex, did you not read my comments properly. I suggest you go back and read again.. Theses should of been secured in the first place for Harlow people. I was certainly not happy with them going to Newham.. I'm simply asking if they were cash bought or a loan... Conservative s seem to be very upset with me asking,, why is that,, I'm just curious.

Nicholas Taylor
2024-04-03 07:15:37

Alex, it was the Conservative government that created legislation which allowed office blocks such as Terminus House to be converted into flats, Harlow now has over a dozen. Most of the residents are not a problem, the problem is they cannot afford the private sector rents charged in the area in which they live. It should be noted that Conservative led Councils have also used such accommodation to provide somewhere for their residents to live. It will be interesting to see what rents the Council will be charging for the new flats at Burnt Mill, I bet they are not truly affordable and the tenants will be on a life of receiving Housing Benefit.

Gary Horwell
2024-04-03 07:54:37

If someone from the council would kindly contact me I will be pleased to show a 6+ year, outstanding repair. They can then claim a 100% plus completion rate. Unfortunately this is not a joke !

Kim Oconnor
2024-04-03 10:05:49

Alex, dear oh dear, your not a Conservative councilor are you.. you seem not to grasp what people are saying.

2024-04-03 11:51:45

Not sure I can believe this. I am still waiting for Councillor Lepard to email me back.

Graham V H
2024-04-03 12:32:48

I have had the Hts guys here after asking the council to sort out a mould problem something we asked the Labour Council to do over 3yrs ago. This Conservative council sorted it within 2 weeks . Cured the mould redecorated and stripped out our bathroom and retired it laid a new water proof floor. So thank you Harlow conservative council for being true to their word. If God forbid Labour get back in the as their track record shows everything that has been achieved will be undone our town will go back to the totally unreliable ways of the past.

2024-04-04 05:46:53

Kim , if its a loan there will be interest to pay , if its cash its using the money given to them by the government, but you will not know until after 2/5 . And when I mentioned you last sentence in a previous post . You wrote that.

James Leppard
2024-04-05 03:06:29

Steve, I have sent you an email.

James Leppard
2024-04-05 03:10:32

Gary Roberts, just for your information, you will no doubt be delighted to know that very long-term lease of Osler House to the charity MIND has been completed at the stated price and with MIND assuming repair and reform costs as previously advised notwithstanding your scepticism. This will be most welcome new service to the Potter Street community.

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