Staple Tye online is edited by councillor Lorna Spenceley, case worker John Strachan and the Staple Tye Liberal Democrat Team.
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Tuesday, 29 January 2008
Meadow Court application gets green light
The planning application for a replacement for Meadow Court has been given the go-ahead by Harlow Council's planning committee. The committee gave its unanimous support to the plans, which will provide fewer, but larger, flats and a much improved design.
Saturday, 26 January 2008
Maunds Hatch - rumours and reassurance
A report in the Harlow Star has caused confusion among a number of residents about the redevelopment of the Maunds Hatch community building.
The report in this week's Harlow Star says that the Maunds Hatch redevelopment scheme has been frozen - leading some residents mistakenly to think that the scheme has been cancelled.
In fact, the report is about a council decision about which schemes would be needing funding between now and April, only three months away. It's quite clear that there won't be any spending on Maunds Hatch in the next three months - not least because there are no plans, no drawings, no lease agreements and no planning permission yet!
Therefore the money needs to be taken out of this year's budget (up to April 2008) and put into next year's, to be spent between April 2008 and March 2009. The council has also agreed that schemes like Maunds Hatch which have been held over from 2007/08 will have priority for spending in 2008/09.
Friday, 25 January 2008
Meadow Court redevelopment application
Home Group have submitted a planning application (HW/PL/07/00397) for a major redevelopment of Meadow Court, off Commonside Road. The application would replace the existing buildings with a new development consisting of 21 'affordable' homes - three one-bed flats, six smaller two-bed flats and twelve larger two-bed flats. The application will be considered by the Planning Committee on Tuesday 29 January.
New 'hole in the wall' for Staple Tye shopping centre?
A planning application (HW/PL/08/00009) has been received for a new 'hole in the wall' ATM at Units 2 - 4, Staple Tye Shopping Centre, with a corresponding application (HW/PL/08/00010) for an illuminated sign. Planning applications can be viewed at the Civic Centre from 09:00 to 17:00 Monday to Friday.
Tuesday, 22 January 2008
Maunds Hatch project news
Staple Tye councillors Lorna and Su were both at the latest meeting to progress proposals for the redevelopment of the Maunds Hatch community building. Representatives of Berecroft, Longbanks and CABRA residents associations were also there, along with GPCA, the Chinese Centre, Moat housing and interested residents.
Under the current proposals, Harlow Council would continue to be the owner of the building, and GPCA the tenant. Two Harlow sporting groups have expressed interest in being considered as GPCA's sub-tenant - the meeting asked for them to be contacted, shown round the building, and invited to the next meeting in a month's time.
There was a lot of discussion about the best way to proceed with the project; although the money is available for the building itself, there isn't a budget for the all-year-round running costs, such as rates, energy and maintenance.
Lorna suggested that council officers should come back to the next meeting with figures showing three different sizes of building (as - subject to planning permission - the building could be extended outwards but also upwards) and three different budgets showing the running costs for each size of building. The meeting could then talk to potential sub-tenants about how much space they would want, what would be left for other activities, and how to raise the necessary income.
She also suggested a list of organisations - such as Adult Education, Essex Youth Service, Harlow College, the health service - that we should be approaching to see if they were interested in renting space in the building or paying to run specific sessions.
The meeting agreed this as a way forward, and will be meeting again in about a month.
Monday, 21 January 2008
40 Barleycroft opens its doors
Today sees the opening of 40 Barleycroft, the new housing information centre for residents of Barleycroft and Lower Meadow.
Guests at the 12 noon cutting of the ribbon (indoors, because of the rain) include myself and Cllr Su Lawton. The noon-till-2:00 session is well attended, with quite a number of residents coming along to find out more. The 4:00 till 7:00 session attracts considerably fewer residents. Council officers are on hand to pick up any issues people want to raise.
This is an excellent new resource for residents in Barleycroft and Lower Meadow, and I hope it will be well used.
Thursday, 17 January 2008
Although Harlow Council has agreed to pursue traffic restrictions on Perry Road, we're still waiting for the process to finish for making the necessary orders.
In the meantime, I'm contacted by a resident expressing his concern at the dangerous driving of some vehicle owners at the bottom of Perry Road, around Lister House and the church. I ring the county council offices again, and speak to the highways manager, asking him to visit the scene and put temporary measures in place while we wait for the traffic order to be confirmed.
Tuesday, 15 January 2008
I've been talking to our local Police Community Support Officers today about road safety at schools in the ward. It's something Harlow Council's Scrutiny Committee is currently looking into.
The mini-scheme at the junction of Rye Hill Road and Paringdon Road outside St James's School still isn't doing much to stop cars hurtling into the barrier outside the school, so I'll be asking Essex County Council once again to review this. The one-way system we've been campaigning for in Longbanks would be accompanied by traffic restrictions outside Stewards School which should help there.
But the PCSOs agree with me that there's still a real problem at Latton Green School; Essex County Council really does need to get its act together and do something.
District heating charges
I've taken the opportunity to meet again with council officers this morning to discuss district heating schemes in the Barleycroft and Lower Meadow flats.
These flats are fitted with an old communal heating system; residents can't control their heating charges, and the council has to estimate bills in advance for the year, and catch up with over- or under-charges two years later. This can cause bills to see-saw up and down very violently - it's quite feasible for a resident to be charged £17 a week one year, £3 a week the year after, and then back up to £19 a week the year after that. Moreover, each block's bill is calculated separately, so bills will vary wildly from one block to the next.
These charges used to be included in the rent for council tenants, but for the last year or so they've been separated out. The council recently reviewed how this was operating, and has changed its systems slightly. It's also looking into measures to improve energy efficiency in the blocks to reduce costs overall.
It's something I'm keeping a close eye on, so if you've got a problem with communal heating charges in Barleycroft or Lower Meadow flats do get in touch with me.
Lower Meadow garages
Local councillor Su Lawton has reported a couple of damaged garages in Lower Meadow. One had had its door ripped open and there was a lot of rubbish inside; the other had had the back panel kicked in and there was a mattress and other furniture inside which could easily be set alight.
Council officers responded promptly to say that they'd alerted emergency, who would nail the first garage secure; and that they would make the second garage secure while trying to contact the tenant.