Owners of Joseph Rank House issue statement over decision to close tower block and leave over a hundred people homeless

News / Sat 29th Jun 2024 at 07:04am

THE owners of Joseph Rank House in Harlow Town Centre have issued a statement following the decision to close the tower block with immediate effect.

A Places for People spokesperson said: “We have been working closely with ECFRS since we announced the closure of Joseph Rank House 18 months ago.

The agreed plan, originally to take place over three years, shortened by Places for People to two, was that we would support the residents to move to new homes. Two-thirds of former residents are now in new homes.

The plan also included a range of fire safety measures and early warning systems to reduce fire risk and aid evacuation. In addition to the installation of sprinklers, part-funded by ECFRS, we installed evacuation alarms and ensured on site 24-hour security personnel to aid evacuation. 

However, ECFRS now has a new perspective on the building which has led to the Notice and the forced evacuation.

“Our absolute focus and priority is on the wellbeing of our Customers and the other residents of the building.

“We’re partnering with Harlow Council to ensure we help all residents through this difficult time and find suitable alternative temporary and permanent accommodation as quickly as possible”.

YH has a number of question it is set to ask a number of questions regarding this situation. More to follow.

Our original story from January 2023 is below.

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10 Comments for Owners of Joseph Rank House issue statement over decision to close tower block and leave over a hundred people homeless:

Tory boy
2024-06-29 08:06:06

So give JRH owners a chance , all you keyboard warriors jumped on the complaining band wagon without knowing the whole story as usual . They have already housed many of the occupants. And the rest are about to be housed. So get the whole story before you moan.

Jennifer Steadman
2024-06-29 09:15:04

Where have these people been rehoused? Where will the remainder be housed? In tents? Or perhaps out of town miles away from their work, family schools etc...maybe theres another another office block to shove them in? What if you were on holiday, at work etc when the notice was given? Are you now locked out of your home? Nobody in their right, compassionate mind can believe that this is acceptable or has been handled correctly & humanely! Places for people and anyone associated with them must hang their heads in shame!!

2024-06-29 09:20:16

The original story that has been put up again said over 150 people to lose their homes. Then the main page story on this website said over a 100 people now homeless, overnight. But this statement by places for people declares that two thirds of people have already been found new homes and are living in them. Can someone make the maths add up? I wish these poor people all the best and speedy homes.

Donny B
2024-06-29 09:41:51

This provides some much needed context to the situation. Places for People were moving the residents out, but had their hand forced by the fire service.

2024-06-29 11:38:53

If the place was a fire risk then how did the owners get away with it for so long. I run 2 HMO's in Harlow and my caretaker makes sure all the detectors , fire doors , closers and strips are all in good order as well as emergency lighting. Everything is documented. It has to be for Harlow council licensing. Clearly someone at the council, the owners or both are failing in their responsibilities. The Fire service done what they were meant to do.

Previous Tenant
2024-06-29 13:03:29

Property owners in the building were offered a so-called "market rate offer", some people have ended up far from here (and therefore support network). I wonder if this measure should have been taken from the beginning - surely nothing has changed for the worse over the last 18 months???

Donny B
2024-06-29 14:53:22

The fire service changed their position. That is clearly stated in the article.

2024-06-29 15:10:19

I didn't know these office blocks were still used to home people in... I think it's rather sad that people have to be housed in a former office block.... Hate to think what these buildings are like inside. I know a few other places were used,but now have to wonder if still the case.

2024-06-30 19:11:44

I’ve closely following JRH story for quite some time now. The residents were given notice to vacate over 18 months ago, plus an initial incentive of around £5000 towards relocation costs. Keep in mind most of them are renting there still they were getting paid to move out. Though some of them moved out still a lot stayed back, mostly because of greed as they were just paying around £800 pm as compared to most of us paying over £1200 pm here in Harlow. Also, they kept on pressing for more relocation money which has now been increased to £10000. How many people get money to move out from there rented homes? Now also, even though they have been moved out to a hotel where they are again living free of charge they are now being paid £150 per day. What on earth is happening is beyond my understanding.

2024-07-02 19:48:01

As someone who has been directly impacted by this situation, I find it really hurtful that people are making their assumptions and painting tenants as “greedy”. We didn’t stay at JRH out of greed for the home loss fund (which I have not been informed has increased to £10000). We stayed because our rent (£1157 not £800) was one of the most affordable in Harlow, we were assured the building was safe and that we would have adequate notice to move out when the building was to be closed. Due to the cost of living increase, for many of us it was a case of staying put until we were given notice. Over the last 5 years, my family has really enjoyed living at JRH, the concierge team have always been fantastic and they seem to have been impacted by this decision also. Regardless of JRH being an ex office block, this was our home. The flats were spacious and well maintained and had a good community feel which has continued despite this extremely stressful situation. Residents have been put up in hotels in Harlow and the surrounding areas. Children have been forced to say goodbye to their homes with less than a days notice, maybe instead of pointing fingers we could try to be a bit more sympathetic for everyone that has been impacted by this. I have been placed in an awful hotel outside of Harlow with no food or cooking facilities, no family or friends nearby, I have spent upwards of £500 in the past 4 days as I do not drive and have had no choice but to order food and pay for taxis to get to school and work. I have not been given a £150 per day payment. I would love to know where you have gained this “knowledge”…

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