Harlow Council secures major housing development for Harlow residents


Harlow Council is buying a large private residential development in the town in a move which will secure more Harlow homes for Harlow people.

The council has exchanged contracts with developers Hollybrook to buy the high-profile development next to the Burnt Mill roundabout with the deal set to be completed in the coming days. The development was subject to wide media reporting in December 2023 when it was reported that Newham Council were seeking to buy the development. However, Harlow Council has worked around the clock to stop that from happening and has instead moved to ensure that the new high-quality homes are available for Harlow residents.

The development includes 172 one- and two-bedroom apartments designed and constructed for private rental. The development also includes ground floor commercial space, 150 cycle racks and 142 residents parking spaces – 23 of which have electric vehicle charging points – and communal roof gardens.

The development was originally intended as a build-to-rent scheme, and this will remain the case.

All 172 homes will be available to anyone who lives in Harlow. Thirty percent of homes (52 apartments), which is three times more than the original planning approval, will be allocated to Harlow families on the Housing Needs Register at affordable rent levels (at least 20% below market rent). The purchase comes at a time when the council is overhauling the way it allocates and prioritises local housing for Harlow residents.

A further 120 homes will be available to Harlow residents at market rent levels. The council will also look at schemes to meet different housing needs of Harlow residents including the town’s NHS workers and other local key workers such as those working in education and policing and young professionals working from home or commuting into London.

The mix of affordable and market rents is based on a prudent financial model which makes the purchase financially sustainable and will ensure that repayment plans are met.

The council has worked non-stop since the start of the year to find a way to buy this development. Councillor Dan Swords, Leader of Harlow Council, says the purchase puts the housing needs of Harlow residents first:

“We have worked extremely hard to buy this private development for the benefit of Harlow residents. I’m sure most people from the town would have read or heard the news that Newham Council were working on a deal to buy this building. I said that we would do everything we could to block that deal and we have moved quickly to buy this development instead. This is all about putting the housing needs of Harlow residents first and standing up for our town.

“This is an impressive and modern development, which has been built to a very high standard and is located on a key gateway in and out of Harlow. The original development was always intended for the rental market with just over 9% being affordable housing. We will be increasing the amount of affordable housing to 30% with those homes allocated to Harlow families on our Housing Needs Register with the rest being available for Harlow residents to rent.”

The council took the formal decision to make a move for the development at its Special Cabinet and Council meetings held on 29 January. The decision had cross-party support on the council.

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