Harlow 20/20 set to be dissolved

THEY OFTEN SAY that journalism is the art of telling people who never knew that Lord Abernethy was alive, that Lord Abernethy is dead. And do it is with the Harlow 20/20 partnership. Google it and you could be forgiven for thinking it is the racecard at Harlow Greyhounds but in fact it is a strategic partnership group, designed to discuss and chart and facilitate the development and regeneration of Harlow in the 21st century.

In defence of Latton Green Primary: “Ofsted is sweeping across Harlow like a disease.”

Ofsted is sweeping across Harlow like a disease, putting our so called ‘failing’ schools into Special Measures, so that they are forced in to becoming Academies. Although I can only speak for myself, and my children’s progress, I would urge anyone who was considering enrolling their children at Latton Green not to just take the Ofsted report as a decision maker for your choice, as it is, and always has been, in my opinion, a good school, with great staff, who have the pupils needs and education at the top of their list of priorities, unlike Ofsteds box ticking exercise which seems to be on their agenda as soon as they see a ‘Harlow’ address attached to it.

Council welcome airport report

ESSEX County Council has welcomed the report by the Davies Commission today as a clear reflection of the views expressed in this year’s county council submission report called “Flights of Fancy”. Following the release of the Davies Commission Report today, Leader of Essex County Council Councillor David Finch said:

Burnt Mill head delighted at namecheck in major education report

LAST WEEK, the head of Ofsted, Sir Michael Wilsher, produced his annual report on education in England. The report made for grim reading for some schools but there at the heart of the report was a great tribute to Burnt Mill Academy. The report said: “The headteacher of Burnt Mill Academy in Essex provides exceptionally strong and effective leadership, which is driving the significant improvements seen in the academy.

Harlow MP urged to call for fair funding for care reforms

ESSEX County Council has called on the county’s MPs including Harlow’s Robert Halfon, to speak out in Parliament about legislation that will see huge changes to the social care system and could cost the authority an extra £40m in the first year of implementation alone.

The Care Bill, one of the most important pieces of social care legislation since the 1940s, is being debated in Parliament today and the council has briefed MPs on the issues causing concern at County Hall.

Two weeks left to sign Youth Service petition

THERE are only two weeks left for residents to sign the petition apposing the £3million cuts to the Essex Youth Service budget proposed by Essex County council. The petition which was started by Harlow Youth Council member Madalina Salavestru closes on December 31st.

Letter to Editor: Social housing in Harlow

IN OUR view this is not the real problem but it suits our bosses that we think so. As long as working people fight amongst themselves over the few scraps of housing and work that are thrown our way, and as long as we continue to direct our anger at this group of workers or that, the bosses and the landlords can happily carry on making a profit out of our economic hardship without risk of us actually organising ourselves together and demanding proper solutions to problems. We will never know the power we could have to change things for the better for everyone while we blame foreigners or even so-called scroungers for our common plight.

Are Harlow primary schools in crisis?

ARE HARLOW primary schools in crisis or are they on the way up? On Thursday OFSTED published the reading, writing and maths tables for primary schools in Harlow. All schools are supposed to ensure that 60 per cent of pupils gain at least “Level 4” in formal reading and maths tests, combined with an informal teacher assessment of children’s writing abilities.

Feature: Wat Tyler and the ‘Harlow council tax benefit rebels’

IT’S a damp Thursday evening, a small group of people are huddled in a little group outside the civic centre as Harlow Council’s cabinet meeting takes place inside. One of them, the only female of the group is holding a few copies of the socialist worker, it’s not raining but she holds them close to her chest as if to protect them from the damp in the air. The rest of the group hold laminated signs, declaring themselves the Harlow council tax benefit rebels.

Hundreds of Harlow homes benefit from improvements

MORE than 1,500 home improvements have been completed so far this year as part of Harlow Council’s modern homes programme.The £22m programme is part of a five-year £100m investment by Harlow Council. Since the programme started in July 2013 the Council and its contractors Solar Windows Ltd, United House and Kier Services have completed over 1,200 improvements. In addition, electrical inspection condition reports and associated repairs have been carried out in 546 Council homes and the external walls of 302 Council homes have been insulated.

MP on the right track as he listens to commuters

DURING a House of Commons debate on the West Anglia Railway line, Harlow MP Robert Halfon MP quizzed Government ministers on their plans for improving rail services in Harlow using results he had obtained from a survey of 300 commuters in Harlow. During the debate he brought up commuters’ concerns over areas such as the lack of facilities at Harlow Mill Station and called for it to be refurbished.

Civic Society in talks with council bosses

AMONG the items discussed were the preservation of Harlow’s green wedges, which are being built upon bit-by-bit, The Square and the former YMCA building, both of which are important assets, and the new M11 link, which we need but not where ECC is threatening to put it, namely, down Gilden Way! We need a link to the North as voted for by HDC.”

Absent councillor dumped by leader

IT WASN’T (thankfully) done in the style of North Korea but it looks like Harlow Council leader has had a mini-purge of his own as he has replaced his portfolio holder for regeneration, cllr Paul Schroder. Cllr Schroder had, despite holding a key portfolio, missed a considerable number of meetings and had also been fairly tricky to get hold of.

Tories question cost of the Harlow Playhouse

OH NO THEY didn’t, oh yes they did…..It may be pantomime season at the Playhouse but things were far more serious at the council offices as the Harlow Tories questioned the continuing costs of the theatre. Conservative councillor, Russell Perrin pointed to the £50,000 shortfall in the Harlow Council performance papers at Thursday nights cabinet meeting and asked what was being done about this.

Gibberd designs to receive a makeover

THE external refurbishment to the 14 homes* known as the “Bookend” flats and houses included the renewing of roof coverings, general external redecorations, replacing windows and doors and cladding and removing asbestos. The thermal insulation to the facades and lofts of all homes have also been enhanced and a shared TV reception system installed to minimise the visual impact of satellite dishes.

Bins may not be emptied as council get tough on recycling

IN order to tackle the problem, over the next 8 to 10 weeks bin crews and Council officers will be carrying out more random bin checks. Where contaminated recycling is discovered, the bin will not be emptied but an advisory hanger placed on it to remind people of what they can and cannot recycle.

MP urges residents to contact helpline over heating costs

HARLOW MP Robert Halfon is urging residents who will be struggling with their energy bills this winter to contact the Home Heat Helpline, a free advice service for people concerned about household heating costs. Staffed by specially trained advisers, the Home Heat Helpline offers assistance to the 3.6 million people who are entitled to relief from energy companies this year, around 2,000 of whom are in Harlow.

Councillor angry as youth service motion defeated at Essex Council

AN ESSEX COUNTY councillor has expressed her anger at losing a vote over youth services in Harlow and the rest of the county. At a full Council meeting of Essex County Council on Tuesday 9dec 10th), Councillor Karen Clempner (Labour), Harlow West Division, spoke in favour of a motion that she believed, would have mitigated some of the worst effects of proposed cuts to the Youth Service in Harlow, and across Essex.

Newcastle group win bid to build 350 new homes in Harlow

NEWCASTLE-based housing provider Home Group has been named alongside Countryside Properties as one of Harlow Council’s preferred partners for a £67m scheme which will see more than 350 new homes built in Essex. The two companies will work with the council to demolish dated homes on The Briars, Copshall Close and Aylets Field estates in Harlow, replacing them with 361 modern, energy-efficient properties.

Labour candidate visits women entrepreneurs as part of Small Biz Saturday

SUZY Stride, The Labour Candidate to be MP for Harlow, celebrated the contribution of small businesses in Harlow as part of
the UK’s first ever Small Business Saturday last weekend. Small Business Saturday is a grass-roots campaign that encourages people to shop locally and support small businesses in the local community. It is set to be the biggest celebration of small businesses in the UK.

Improvements to cold homes will help keep energy bills down

HARLOW Council has completed a programme of external makeovers to over 300 Council homes in order to make them warmer. Between March and November 2013, the external walls of 302 Council homes were insulated and covered with new render to help reduce heat loss. The finishing touches were put in place last week just in time for winter.