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The Harlow Alliance Party launch manifesto for local elections

Elections / Tue 9th Apr 2024 at 07:58am

THE Harlow Alliance Party is pleased to announce the start of it’s election campaign, with the launch of their new look website at www.harlowallianceparty.org

A spokesperson said: “Since the local elections last year all four candidates have been working closely with residents in the Wards in which they are standing, unlike the other parties who seem to have put up candidates in Wards which they have no experience of.

Three of the four candidates have between them over 100 years experience of working in Local Government and having spoken to many residents the following key pledges are being made by the Party.

CREATING CLOSER TIES BETWEEN THE COUNCIL AND RESIDENTS

The closure of neighbourhood council offices, the lack of surgeries held by councillors, the ending of resident’s forums, the closure of the council’s cash office, services being provided jointly with other councils and finally staff working from home have all diminished services and a feeling that the Council has lost touch with the public it is supposed to serve. Consultation with residents can best be described as feeble and when views are obtained they are often ignored. Both Labour and the Conservatives are equally to blame for this situation. Harlow Alliance will seek radical steps being taken by the council to reverse this trend, whichever Party is in control.

HOUSING

Harlow Alliance would seek major changes being made to the way that Council housing is allocated so that instead of just one third of homes being allocated to existing council tenants, two thirds will be. This will increase the number of homes becoming vacant and in turn more applicants being provided with a new home. Harlow Alliance would reintroduce Band 4 so that the true extent of housing need is recorded and once again allow those living in a flat to apply for a council house.
Harlow Alliance would press the council to build far more homes for older residents, enabling such residents to downsize their home, which in turn would enable more families to be provided with a larger home.

TOWN CENTRE REGENERATION

Harlow Alliance believe that much of the money given to Harlow Council to “Level Up” and regenerate the Town Centre is being wasted leaving little benefit for most residents and does not make the best use of resources in revitalising the Town Centre as a place to shop and spend leisure time in. The clock cannot be turned back on the decisions already made by the Labour and Conservative group at Harlow Council but changes can be made about future development. Harlow Alliance do not share the view held by the two main Parties that high rise flat blocks and a cafe culture will transform the Town Centre.

OPENING PUBLIC TOILETS

For whatever reason and whatever a person’s age, the need to use a toilet can become urgent. Despite this, cost cutting by councils across the country has seen the number of public toilets reduced dramatically. Harlow is no exception of course but we want to see this trend reversed and it should form an important part of making Harlow the best town in Essex. They need not be open all day, but whenever they are, residents can be certain that when visiting the towns local shopping centres, a public toilet is located nearby.

SAVING THE TOWNS GREEN SPACES

Harlow Alliance took action back in 2019 which stopped the Labour controlled council from building on six large green spaces such as at Deer Park, Fennells and Radburn Close. Since then, it has helped residents living in 16 estates to take action which will stop any future attempt by the council to sell land for development and as a community asset will give good cause to object to any plan the council may have to develop the land itself. This work is on-going, many more areas have been identified.

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16 Comments for The Harlow Alliance Party launch manifesto for local elections:

Adam
2024-04-09 09:36:44

Might as well be called the boomer party

Kim Oconnor
2024-04-09 10:00:05

Agree again, Mr Taylor.

A for Ageism
2024-04-09 10:53:47

Adam, better than the Rich Boy Party!! And so what they are "old" or "boomers" as you say, why is that an issue exactly? Won't they come with better and more life experiences? Rather them than all the childish wannabe politicians coming up, who seem to know nothing about the real world and life.

David Forman
2024-04-09 11:45:10

I think Nicholas Taylor, whilst being generally well meaning, is being a little disingenuous about high-rise buildings in town centres. The very high cost of land in town centres makes high-rise almost inevitable if a decent profit is to be made, although following the Grenfell Fire this is less than past years. Construction News recently carried an article whining about second staircases in tower blocks: https://www.constructionnews.co.uk/buildings/building-safety/second-staircase-uncertainty-delaying-38000-london-homes-mayor-claims-22-03-2024/

peter henegan
2024-04-09 14:40:12

I hope they and other minority parties do win some seats. Labour or Conservative will no doubt form the next council but I totally believe that having an alternative voice (as opposed to an opposition voice) does no harm at all, a bit like a non executive director on a large, successful plc. As for being a boomer, one of the most common complaints from residents seems to be how poor Harlow has become, having representatives who remember, and can realate to, its heyday years makes massive sense.

John
2024-04-09 16:41:01

Nothing wrong with high rise. It works well if it’s administered correctly. Single people, couples and even small families can do well in high rise. My cousin lives in a high rise in the centre of London and her flat is huge. Loads of windows for natural light and great views of course. It is manned with security staff 24/7 and is serviced by multiple lifts on separate power supplies. As I say, a great many people would be delighted to live in one.

Eddie
2024-04-09 17:44:53

Adam And them old age boomers get a good pension as well

Bill
2024-04-09 21:23:44

Sounds like an alliance out of Star Wars haha

Nicholas Taylor
2024-04-09 21:34:19

John, they may work well in the centre of London with it's good transport system but here in Harlow with no parking facilities, little if any affordable homes, market rents, small flats, a view of Market Square or the roof of the Harvey Centre and the nearest playground at Hare Street Springs, not so good here. The Quays at Portsmouth and the shops at Bury St Edmunds makes for a much better shopping and living experience. Of course it is all about profit, not people.

John
2024-04-09 22:08:27

Nicholas, if you have a desire for more housing whilst at the same time preserving green spaces and the surrounding countryside, surely high rise in the town should be a serious consideration. You are housing a far greater number of people on a relatively small plot of land. A flat in a well-kept high rise is far, far better than being shunted around hotels or other temporary housing, or having to live with your parents until you are 45 because the money you earn isn’t enough for privately rented and the council & housing associations are not interested in single people who they see as already having a roof over their heads.

Eddie
2024-04-10 06:49:43

As much as I hate ugly high rise flats , you make a good argument for them John. You have to admit that Nic. Also more custom for our shops

Nicholas Taylor
2024-04-10 08:02:33

The Harlow Alliance Party have no objection to flat blocks of three or four storeys. However we believe that every new home in Harlow should be built for older residents who could then downsize to a modern home, relinquishing their home for a family. There are over 1500 houses in Harlow occupied by just one or two people, many of whom would be happy to move to a new home. Building high rise blocks only crams even more people into Harlow, to what is already one of the most densely populated towns in the East of England. At some stage soon we will have to say that the town is full, after all the infrastructure was built for a town of 60,000, it is already 93,000+, Studies show that residents above the fourth floor have a disconnect with their surroundings and neighbours, not good for community. In respect of your latter point John we would re-instate Band 4 of the council's Housing Register. Nicholas Taylor, Former Housing Manager and Honorary Member of the Charted Institute of Housing.

John
2024-04-10 13:18:04

Nicholas, will the new homes for older people have the same facilities as those provided in sheltered housing - such as managers / wardens on site, assistance alarms, and communal spaces for socialising and laundry? This is what is needed for older residents. Not for them to be simply moved from a large home to a small one. If these facilities were provided it would encourage more older residents to surrender their larger homes. Otherwise what incentive do they have? Good to hear you would reinstate Band 4. I agree about limiting the number of people coming into the town to live. My suggestion for high rise would be for people who need affordable rent social housing such as low wage single people or those in temporary housing - or homeless. Not for housing people from outside Harlow and the immediate area.

Eddie
2024-04-10 13:50:23

Nic , are you sure most older people would give their homes up , have you asked them all. I know of people that say that there is too many happy memories in the houses they live and would not entertain giving them up

John
2024-04-10 15:03:40

Eddie - you are spot on. This is an issue we have with my own elderly mother at the moment. It's a home she shared with my late father for decades, and she is very reluctant to move out of it. There has to be some sort of incentive. Loneliness is one of the major issues affecting older people, and offering the opportunity to get a smaller flat in a block that has communal facilities etc. may help. But yeah, even then that's not enough to fully sway it for my mum. She has a two bed flat.

Nicholas Taylor
2024-04-10 15:10:50

John, yep, the same but better. Eddie, I spent 44 years in housing management, as John says, people are not going to want to downsize into for instance a flat where there are young people in the same block. But they often will if a good alternative is available. I often said to residents "move when you can, not when you have to". Of course there will be ones who wish to stay where they are, but from my experience and that of national surveys, there is a growing demand for such homes. At the last count there were 83 housing applicants on the council's list looking to downsize, I would suggest this is just the tip of the iceberg.

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