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Investigation after fire breaks out in empty Harlow town centre properties

General / Wed 3rd Apr 2024 at 08:04am

AN INVESTIGATION is set to take place into a fire above empty shops in Harlow Town Centre.

Billowing smoke was spotted coming from the top of the row of properties opposite the market square.

The police sealed off the area whilst the Fire Service made the area safe.

An Essex County Fire and Rescue Service spokesperson said: “Firefighters were called to a fire in a derelict building in The Rows, Harlow yesterday at 2:54pm.

“On arrival, crews reported there was a fire in a derelict four storey building. Crews extinguished the fire and ventilated the building by 3:49pm. The cause of the fire was deliberate.”

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9 Comments for Investigation after fire breaks out in empty Harlow town centre properties:

Willow
2024-04-03 08:36:23

It was only a matter of time.....

Nicholas Taylor
2024-04-03 08:46:28

This should come as no surprise I am afraid, these buildings have been suffering from vandalism for many weeks, back doors of the derelict shops have been open, a large hole punched in the boarding up of Little Walk and clear evidence of vandalism through the windows that front on to Market Square. A look at the former show room of Strawberry Star tells the story, a derelict building slowly growing as an asset, no doubt in due course sold on to another "developer". Harlow Council would have done better to give the bus station a lick of paint and spent the £10 million on buying this eyesore. A trip to the Liberty Centre in Romford shows how a shopping centre can be transformed with the use of a roof and new shop fronts.

Tony Edwards
2024-04-03 08:56:39

It's time for Strawberry Star to come clean about their intentions. They have been given planning permission. When are they going to start redevelopment? In the meantime what are they going to do to secure the properties. At the moment they are behaving like a developer who has lost interest in the Town.

Nicholas Taylor
2024-04-03 09:15:13

I think their intentions are already clear Tony. Do as little as possible and watch their asset grow in value. Same goes for the owners of the Kitson Way car park, Terminus Street car park, Market House, Adams House, the old cinema and Gate House. This is a problem across the whole country, developers building at a rate which never meets demand so prices of homes can be inflated. There needs to be a wholesale change in planning legislation, to get property and land back into use within a set time otherwise it will be placed in the hands of local councils at no cost.

John
2024-04-03 14:06:08

Kids off school. Property should be properly secured.

Kim Oconnor
2024-04-03 18:11:20

Well said Mr Taylor. Developer's are allowed to do what they want, time for a complete change in planning legislation. . Sitting on land to line there pockets should not be allowed.

Resident
2024-04-03 20:32:44

Nicholas Taylor, anyone who regularly uses the bus station will know it's in desperate need to renovation. There's no lighting, it doesn't extend the full length of the bus stands, the seats are awful, the doors have never worked properly, the list goes on. That aside, the market square end of the town centre needs either flattening completely, many of the shops there could relocate to ones currently empty in Broadwalk, or reducing rent to entice small local businesses or nice bistro cafe type businesses. Hatfield Galleria has a free bookshop, Harlow could use something like that. Routine police presence in the area to hopefully help reduce/deter the street drinkers, drug users/dealers and anti-social behaviour. Then they could consider spending even more money on 'revamping' or 'improving' the Market Square itself because the rest of the area won't be such an eyesore and magnet for anti-social behaviour. There just seems to be an attitude of let things rot, let developers get away with whatever they want, and to top it off, throwing millions of pounds on ridiculous papering over the cracks schemes, like umbrellas and concrete tables, not to mention the ugly planters that are already full of weeds.

Charlie
2024-04-04 17:03:37

With ref to Nicholas Taylor's comment saying the Council could have given the bus station a lick of paint. You obviously never use the buses in Harlow. Standing waiting for a bus to arrive in a freezing bus station, where the sliding doors never work is no joke. The whole structure needs demolishing and the new one constructed as soon as possible. It is a complete eyesore. Anyone arriving at the town centre by bus, does not get a good first impression of the town, and would want to head back to where they come from pretty quick.Whether or not the new one will improve the services though remains to be seen.

Nicholas Taylor
2024-04-04 22:52:24

Resident and Charlie, our view is that spending some £9million on moving the bus station about 20 yards is a waste of money. The problems you allude are due to the long term neglect by the council of the present station, it needed updating, cleaning and regular maintenance, it is after all only some 19 years old. Yes it was never finished, I believe money ran out. What is being built now is one where you will have to walk out into the open from the shops to get to the covered area, a much less safe entry and exit for pedestrians using Terminus House and no undertaking that it will be kept in good order in the future. Just take a look at the shrub beds in Market Square, already looking awful because no-one is tasked to look after them. Building things is the easier bit, maintaining them in the long term far harder to do, as the history shows whether Labour or the Tories are in control.

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