Hospital

The Harlow Alliance Party will campaign to:

  • See Princess Alexandra Hospital relocated to another site on the edge of Harlow, a modern hospital which will cater for both present and future needs bearing in mind the increasing and ageing population of the area which it serves.
  • Get ‘Sustainable’ public housing built on the site. With up to 500 new homes forming part of Harlow Council’s Local Plan, this would be a key element to the regeneration of Harlow Town Centre. Residents living in this new area would have less need to use their cars to get to work or to shop therefore not adding to the congestion on Harlow’s roads and air pollution.

Princess Alexandra Hospital has quite simply outgrown it’s site and it is widely acknowledged that the buildings are no longer fit for purpose in providing a health service  in the 21st century.

Regeneration of Harlow Town Centre

The Harlow Alliance Party will campaign to:

  • Ensure that any regeneration of the Town Centre enhances the shopping experience of those using the centre.
  • Ensure the regeneration of parts of the Town Centre are not to the detriment of other parts .
  • Ensure that at least 30% of any new housing within the Town Centre is ‘affordable’ with at least 10% being owned by Harlow Council for social rent.
  • See space made available to create an indoor market.
  • Have Harlow Council carry out a feasibility study to roof over Broad Walk.
  • Encourage Harlow Council to create a clear initiative to specifically designate space in the town centre to showcase the creativity and vision of Harlow’s present and future entrepreneurs.
  • Provide a number of ‘drop off’ points for shoppers using the Town Centre.

The decline in Harlow’s shopping centre is well documented as are the attempts in the past to ‘regenerate’ it. The Harvey Centre is well over 30 years old now and whilst The Water Gardens helped the south side of the town centre, much of the rest has been allowed to decline. At the heart of the problem in moving forward is the fact that the shops and offices are owned by over 30 landlords with over 100 leaseholders whilst Harlow Council owns the public footpaths and open spaces around the buildings. The original design of the Town Centre meant that no homes were built in it’s immediate confines and therefore when the shops closed in the evening very few people had a need to go there.

In more recent years a cinema and a number of restaurants have opened and offices have been converted to flats. This has resulted in an increase in footfall within the Town Centre in the evening and this is set to continue as more new homes are constructed.

Leisure and Tourism

The Harlow Alliance Party will campaign to:

  • To bring together representatives from leisure, cultural and sports organisation from in and around Harlow to create a comprehensive and co-ordinated approach in promoting the venues, events and activities which are available locally.
  • Have a local directory produced containing details of all leisure, sporting venues and clubs, arts, entertainment, interest groups and others, available as both a hard copy and on line.
  • Seek closer co-operation between Harlow Council and local news providers to promote events and leisure activities being held locally.

Harlow and the surrounding area has many outstanding leisure facilities, clubs and open spaces. Harlow Council needs to be at the forefront in promoting these to both residents and visitors to the town. Whilst Harlow Council’s website carries some information, so much more should be done to promote all the many attractions that the area has to offer.

 

Transparency

A MORE OPEN AND TRANSPARENT HARLOW COUNCIL

The Harlow Alliance Party will campaign to:

  • Ensure Harlow Council provides a better and more extensive use of webcam services at meetings.
  • Ensure Harlow Council has an effective consultation system in place, which listens to the views of all residents on issues which affect them.
  • Make better and more use of Harlow Times to publicise Harlow Council events and outcomes from it’s decision making process.
  • Provide information and services from more locations in the town.

The Harlow Alliance Party believes that consultation is more than just the passing on of information about decisions, policies and procedures. It is about setting up a real dialogue with local people, asking their views on the issues which affect their lives and those in the community. It is a commitment that these views will be considered when decisions are being made. It should be used to strengthen relations with the community and positively assist in matching service delivery to community needs.

 

Since Harlow Council closed it’s area offices and area committees in the early 2000’s, it has, despite numerous attempts, failed to have effective systems in place, to listen to and take heed of residents views on many issues which affect them. Forums set up by Harlow Council have been almost exclusively for tenants. Residents have little hope of influencing Council policy or scrutinising decisions that are made.Council meetings are not widely advertised and the outcome of these meetings even less so.

Housing

The Harlow Alliance Party will campaign to: 

  • Reject plans to build homes on the south and south western borders of Harlow. 
  • Ensure that any homes built on public land in Harlow are retained in the public sector.
  • See Harlow Council carry out a feasability study to look at the possibility of setting up it’s own house building company similar to what many other Local Authorities have done.
  • Ensure that Harlow Council meets it’s Planning Policy Guideline which sets out the percentage of homes that must be ‘affordable’, for each and every planning application.
  • Resist the Governments targets for local housebuiding on the basis that it is impossible to forecast future population changes in the next 15 years.
  • Ensure Harlow Council implements a comprehensive programme of external repairs and painting programme for it’s housing stock.
  • Ensure Harlow Council  implements a comprehensive programme to improve bin areas which serve flat blocks.
  • Ensure Harlow Council  implement a comprehensive programme of housing estate improvements.

Local Authorities in both Essex and Hertfordshire face intolerable pressure from the Government to identify land where tens of thousands of new homes can be built. Harlow is seen as a prime area to be expanded, in the guise that it will regenerate the town. History has already shown that there is little evidence that building homes in such numbers does anything for regeneration, indeed with little or no infrastructure being put in place before homes are built only makes an area less desirable to live in.

 

In recent years property and land speculators have been buying up land throughout the two counties in the hope that at some time in the future they will be allowed to build homes and other property on it. History has also shown that the private sector cannot resolve a lack of homes by itself, the public sector has always had to step in to do that.

 

The massive increase in the population in the last decade has put pressure on all public services not least housing. House prices and rents have been forced up. With a  two bed-roomed mid terraced house in Newhall costing an eye watering £324,000 and the average wage in Harlow being £23,296 (2015) the homes being built are not within reach of most Harlow residents.

 

The two main political parties in Harlow both support the building of ‘Harlow North’, which is neither in Essex or Harlow. If this went ahead, none of the council tax paid by the residents there would come to either Harlow Council or Essex County Council so there would be no extra money to improve services or infrastructure in the town which would see all the extra traffic, pollution and noise etc

 

Harlow’s population increase during the period 2001 to 2011 averaged 338 per year but Harlow Council forecasts the figure for the next ten years to be double that. It is clear that they expect most new homes to be purchased or rented by people who do not already live here. Indeed many of the property devolpers advertise their homes in countries as far away as Russia and China as an investment, boosting their massive profits at the expense of local people.

 

In the meantime, how has Harlow Council been maintaining it’s housing stock of some 10,000 homes? Whilst a lot of work has been undertaken to improve the inside of these homes, one only has to take a look around the town to see that many are in a poor sate of external repair and redecoration. Public areas within flat blocks are in very poor condition, as are the bin storage (or often lack of storage) areas. The poor condition of fences, trip rails and other street furniture on it’s estates also gives them a run down look.

Roads

The Harlow Alliance Party will be campaigning to: 

  • Upgrade 2nd and 3rd Avenues to become dual carriageways, creating a faster West to East route across Harlow.  This should  reduce congestion along Elizabeth and Edinburgh Way, 1st and 4th Avenue and Southern Way.
  • Introduce a new road to link the A414 near Eastwick to The Pinnacles.  This will considerably reduce congestion at the roundabouts near Harlow Town train station.
  • Bring forward the construction of a new road to link the A414 near Gilston to join the new junction 7a on the M11.
  • Improve parking facilities on Harlow’s housing estates.
  • Ensure that Essex County Council promptly carry out repairs to damaged roundabouts and other similar defects around the town and quickly removes all unused and damaged sign posts and other street furniture along verges and other ‘green’ spaces around the town.

Most of Harlow’s roads were built in the 1950’s and 1960’s and were not designed to take the type and number of vehicles that use them today. In other New Towns such as Stevenage and Basildon numerous dual carriageways were built but In Harlow most roads were built as single carriagways with some having space set aside to allow them to be upgraded into dual carriageways at some time in the future.

 

Plans to build Junction 7a has seen both Essex County Council and Harlow Council ignore the results of their consultations with residents, ignore missing air quality data and ignore the fact that traffic congestion will increase.  A new junction on the M11 just two miles from the existing junction 7 will direct more traffic into the town from another direction.  The real need is to bypass the town altogether using a ring road around the town and to have a modern road link through the town from east to west. 

 

Both Essex County and Harlow Council have allowed Harlow’s roads to fall into a poor state of repair, leaving damaged roundabouts, railings and sign posts untouched for years.  Parking on most housing estates has become more and more difficult to such a point that many roads have effectively become one way streets.

 

With the prospect of thousands of new homes being built in and around Harlow with thousands of jobs being created at The Pinnacles and The Science Park, traffice congestion in the town is set to be become much worse.

 

Jobs and Business

The Harlow Alliance Party will promote:

  • A clear initiative to specifically designate space in the Town Centre to showcase the creativity and vision of Harlow’s present and future entrepreneurs.
  • Comprehensive improvements to the appearance of the industrial and service areas within the town, including the renewal of road signs, bollards and fences.
  • A change to car parking fees at Council owned car parks.
  • Introduction of a comprehensive repairs and painting programme of the Council owned shopping hatches and other premises in the town.
  • Planning policies that encourage the opening of shops in the Town Centre rather than in retail parks.

In 2016 small and medium sized businesses accounted for 99.9% of all private sector business in the UK, employing some 15.7 million people which represents 60% of all private sector employment.

 

The Harlow Alliance Party recognises the talents and aspirations of individuals of all ages who want to ‘go it alone’ and to grow their own business. We believe support and assistance should be given to help people achieve their goals.

 

There is no doubt that the general state of disrepair evident throughout the town is detrimental to existing businesses and to anyone thinking of relocating to Harlow.

 

Common complaints from this sector include high business rates, lack of services provided for these rates, the effect of large out of town retail parks built to the detriment of shops in other locations, parking charges and poorly maintained premises by landlords.