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Harlow East
Harlow East.jpg
Name Harlow East
Number 549?
Year Opened 1999
Year Closed 2012
Road A414
Location North Weald Bassett, Harlow
County Essex
Postcode CM16 6RZ

The Harlow East branch was a former Little Chef restaurant located on the A414 near Harlow, Essex.

Address and Onsite Facilities[]

ADDRESS: A414 Epping Road, North Weald Bassett, Harlow, Essex, CM16 6RZ

ONSITE FACILITIES: Homeless Shelter

History[]

Opened in 1999, Harlow East was a landmark Little Chef site. It was the first of a new generation of restaurants developed by Granada in a new look building. The building itself was manufactured off site and then transported and assembled onsite. This not only allowed for consistency of design but led to much quicker construction times, allowing, in theory, Granada to open more Little Chefs more quickly. The buildings themselves were brick finished with pitched roof, wood trimmed gable to front and slate coloured tiled roof.

Situated alongside a Travelodge hotel on the main Harlow to Chelmsford corridor, connecting the busy M11 and A12 routes, this seemed like an ideal site.

Located a few miles west of Harlow East was the Harlow branch of Little Chef, which had been operating in full swing since 1986. Given its location on the outskirts of Harlow and next to Junction 7 of the M11, coupled with its past of having a Coffee Stop and Burger King, it is obvious that Harlow would've been the more ideal site to keep over Harlow East in the event of branch closures. However, the tables had turned in 2007 when Little Chef went into administration and Harlow had been earmarked for closure, whereas Harlow East was not. This however gave new owners, RCapital, the opportunity to focus on its Harlow East site and it proved to be a busy restaurant given the lack of alternatives nearby following the huge list of closures over the years.

In January 2012, RCapital announced the closure of 67 Little Chef sites across the UK and at first, it was thought that Harlow East would escape this list of closures. However, the summer of 2012 and onwards saw more branches reserved for closure and Harlow East closed its doors in December that year. Poor trade also seemed evident for the Travelodge as that had shut up shop within the following year too.

Following the closure of both restaurant and hotel, they were converted into Phoenix Gourmet and Phoenix Epping Hotel respectively. However, these were both short lived, with the restaurant now apartments and the hotel now serving as a homeless shelter.

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