HARP’s women-only facility is given the go-ahead

Planning consent has been granted for a women’s homeless hostel at the rear of HARP’s Bradbury Centre. The unit, when built, will accommodate up to nineteen women. Access will be via the York Road establishment, with the Hastings Road entrance being used only for emergencies.

It is intended that the women’s hostel will be staffed exclusively by females.

Something like a quarter of rough sleepers are female, and this facility is definitely needed.

HARP can only house those with recourse to public funds. They also charge a nominal amount for food, although they will feed those in need who have no money. Their facilities are fully utilised, and with a growing need they are looking to expand their offering to the homeless. By the end up the year they will be able to help 140 clinets.

Market forces

The problem with market forces and democracies is that minority choices can be squeezed out. Both can, without check, become tyrannies. Squashed are those that cannot compete, turn a profit, or command enough votes.

In what surely approximates to the epitome of irony one saw in central Southend the ultimate victim of market forces: the town’s markets. York Road market has gone, prey to dwindling support and a council intent on bludgeoning its vision of concrete and steel upon us all.

I recall days when a Saturday market was a feature in the area now occupied by the new college building. It appears that Roots Hall’s days as home to a market are numbered; The Shrimpers move will signal a supermarket and housing taking over. The free market frees markets to sink into oblivion.

The free market, rarely truly free, has resulted in the homogenisation of the UK’s high streets. Gone, or going, are the knick-knack shops, independents, and emporiums of quirk, butchers, grocers, haberdashers. The lovers of bland are truly blessed, for they have inherited.

Some have called for restoration of a town centre market; too late for York Road, now a bus station. A town centre market will require civic support, something that I hope to encourage.