Statement from Mark Ingall, Leader of Harlow Labour

Mark_Ingall.jpg"At a time of national housing shortages, we are not ideologically opposed to finding innovative approaches to housing tenants on a temporary, emergency basis, including in converted commercial premises. Harlow Council uses one floor in a converted office building in Templefields for urgent, short term housing needs.

"However, these conversions are not suitable for long term accommodation, particularly for families with children, as they are generally sited away from amenities and transport.

"Furthermore, the government legislation that allows them, means they are not subject to the usual oversight of the local authority and this creates any number of problems for those living in them.

"The other serious issue we are facing with these kinds of developments is that London boroughs are effectively exporting their housing problem to Harlow by relocating people who are in need of housing to these developments but contributing nothing towards the infrastructure we need to provide for them – schools, transport and medical facilities.

"This has negative consequences for all our residents and simply is not fair.

"We will continue to do all that we can to ensure that Harlow residents who are accommodated in these conversions are housed in more suitable accommodation as quickly as possible. However with regards to the problem of people being moved "en masse" from overcrowded London boroughs, our hands are tied by this ill thought out Tory legislation."

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