Leader calls for end to councils placing people in Harlow's office blocks

Published date

The Leader of Harlow Council has written to over 70 council leaders in London and the South East of England about the use of converted office blocks in Harlow. 

In his letter sent this week Councillor Mark Ingall is calling on councils to review their housing policies and to end “out of borough” placements if they place or plan to place families and children in converted office blocks in Harlow. 

In Harlow a number of former office blocks have been converted into residential properties under Permitted Development Rights. These rights allow the conversions to be carried out without the need for planning permission. 

Councillor Mark Ingall, Leader of Harlow Council, said:

“I know that there is a national housing crisis, which brings many challenges to councils in placing people in affordable accommodation. However last week’s BBC Panorama programme on life inside converted office blocks has once again highlighted the unsuitability of placing people in permitted developments without proper assessment and support. Not only do I call for councils to review their housing policies, but I also repeat my call for permitted development rights to be reviewed and for the local housing allowance cap to change.”