Joseph Rank House: Essex Fire Service issue further statement on evacuation decision

News / Tue 2nd Jul 2024 at 08:58am

MANY people, not least the residents, were surprised and shocked by the sudden decision to decant everyone from Joseph Rank House in Harlow Town Centre.

We noticed that in the statement by the owners of the building, Places for People, they stated:

However, Essex County Fire and Rescue (ECFRS) now has a new perspective on the building which has led to the Notice and the forced evacuation.

So even though we had a statement from ECFRS, we asked then to expand on this “new perspective”

A spokesperson said: “The decision to move people from the building and demolish it had already been announced in January 2023 after an extensive consultation with experts, surveyors and Essex County Fire and Rescue Service.    

Since then, partners have worked together to attempt to reduce the risk of fire through early warnings should a fire occur and mitigate the risk of fire spread through the installation of sprinklers. However, it was agreed this could not be a permanent solution to this property’s specific challenges which is why work was already ongoing to move people out.

“As a result of further expert analysis and review, the results of which were presented to us last week, we came to the conclusion that  if an incident was to occur at Joseph Rank House, we now believe smoke would travel faster than we previously thought, and this is what led ECFRS to the difficult decision that it must serve a prohibition notice”. 

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

6 Comments for Joseph Rank House: Essex Fire Service issue further statement on evacuation decision:

2024-07-02 09:36:48

So this means another iconic skyline building of Harlow will be knocked down Along with The town hall & College It’s sad, I’m glad I don’t live in Harlow anymore, but have always loved our skyline even terminus house, it’s New Harlow history

David Forman
2024-07-02 14:21:38

The report to Harlow Council's Planning Committee in relation to application number HW/PL/07/00006 for the conversion of Joseph Rank House into 132 apartments, dated 27 March 2007, reports that the Fire Officer at Fourth Avenue has "No comments". The evidence has been supplied to Michael Casey, Editor of YourHarlow.

David Forman
2024-07-02 14:28:20

The conversion of Joseph Rank House into apartments was subject to a full planning application process, NOT under a Permitted Development process. Harlow Council at the time was under 'no overall control' with the Conservatives having 11 out of the 33 council seats available. Remember the Liberal's had 10 seats and Labour had 11 just prior to the May 2007 local elections.

David Forman
2024-07-02 14:37:49

It is worth noting that Harlow Civic Society in the report to the Planning Committee in March 2007 were quoted as saying: "The nature of the existing building is not ideal for residential use." The Civic Society also said: "The Society is broadly in favour of bringing this building back into use, however conversion to residential should not be the only answer."

David Forman
2024-07-02 15:28:58

The professional trade magazine Inside Housing reported 1st February 2023: "Joseph Rank House was converted through a full planning application, but Harlow would later become a hotspot for offices turned into flats under the permitted development planning loophole.". See article at https://www.insidehousing.co.uk/news/large-housing-association-to-demolish-essex-office-block-conversion-due-to-fire-risks-80055

2024-07-03 07:13:15

David Forman, I don't know your political allegiances, and it doesn't matter to me. Your explanation/analysis here is top notch, thank you. I sympathise with residents forced to leave their apartments, and based on the ECFRS' latest statement, I thank the Fire Service for forcing the evacuation. Without going down the immigration debate, I will say I hate all business premises conversion to residential. It's not a sustainable solution for people's wellbeing and quality of life. From Harlow's perspective, it hasn't alleviated our housing needs either, as a large percentage have been used to house non-Harlow folk. I lament at how Sir Frederick Gibberd's masterplan continues to be ruined by over development. As a Harlow born and bred resident, and tax payer for over 35 years, I state with conviction Harlow-born residents are getting an extremely poor deal. I know who I will be voting for tomorrow.

Leave a Comment Below:

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *