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.
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.