I’ve seen it for myself. It’s every inch the dump people tell me it is. The residential districts surrounding Harlow aren’t so bad and there’s plenty to be said for Harlow old town. But the centre of Harlow is a hotch-potch of the ugliest, most featureless concrete boxes to be built in the 1960s. When I cycle into towns I usually have classical music or happy, upbeat rock running through my head. Here I was haunted by the sounds of Depeche Mode and Gary Numan. So you can understand why I hastily whizzed back to Waltham Abbey.

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