Harlow Labour: “Borderline inept” say Stop West Sumners campaigners

A MEETING OF THE Stop West Sumners (SWS) campaigners was held at the Sumners Leisure Centre last week.

The campaigners are keen to keep the pressure on all concerned regarding the proposals for up to 2,000 homes in the area, although on land in Epping Forest District.

By all accounts, the last meeting did not go well for the representatives from the ruling Harlow Labour group. This time, they sent the calm and diplomatic cllr Paul Stumpf, who, dispassionately, explained that from the ruling Labour group’s position, it was, as they say on Facebook, complicated.

This did not sit well with SWS chair, Bob Gray who, in our interview with him, described the ruling Labour group position as “woeful” and “borderline inept”.

Cllr Stumpf explained in the meeting that, they would be consulting with the public next year, with a plan to develop a view.

Tory councillors at the meeting, questioned why they had changed their position?

After the meeting, we spoke to Mr Gray.

Among the campaigners concerns are:

The road infrastructure around this rural location is insufficient to handle thousands of extra cars. There are no plans for new roads even though the 1974 expansion plans showed a bypass around Broadley Common and new main roads. This area of Harlow is furthest away from the M11 and Harlow Town Station.

Drainage and sewerage capacity is already overstretched.
Flood plain risks – SW Harlow is in Tier 1 in the Essex Flood Risk Executive Summary of April 2012. The more the area is concreted over, the greater the risk.

No capacity at medical facilities (doctors and Princess Alexandra hospital) which are already overstretched.
Local secondary schools do not have capacity for new residents. A new secondary school was in the 1974 expansion plans but not in the plans today. Developers say they will build a new junior school BUT only in phase two, years after resident’s first move in and who’s to say they will keep their word or still be in business at that time.

Car ownership, use and traffic movements is greatly underestimated by the developers.

Epping underground station has insufficient parking for extra commuters. Epping High Street can’t cope with more traffic.

Environmental concerns: hedgerow and tree protection; habitat protection (bats, reptiles etc) under threat.

This will not help the Harlow housing waiting list. This is a private development that will only benefit those that can afford it and any social housing will be allocated only to Epping Forest residents.

Harlow will have to put up with the extra traffic and drain on its resources but as this development is within Epping Forest boundaries, Harlow will get none of the revenue from council tax.

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