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Letter to Editor: “Exposing” Harlow Council’s planning policy

Politics / Tue 10th Dec 2013 am31 09:12am

Dear Editor,

Congratulations on publishing the fact that Harlow Council really couldn’t care whether or not people apply for permission to undertake development, and that at least 10 retrospective applications have been approved over the last year or two. The statement from council “leader” Mark Wilkinson took my breath away.

From elected Cllr Wilkinson, we learn that retrospective applications are “not unusual”. Does the leader of Harlow Council even recognise how his asinine statement comes across to residents?

I suppose it should be reassuring that an application for the substantial development on the hospital site has now been posted (Harlow Star, December 5, 2013).

Because construction work is well under way, local residents are enduring huge nuisance. A properly-constructed response to a properly-submitted planning application would have yielded conditions designed to protect residents from undue inconvenience.

Many of us who care about our town have long suspected that our elected members have but a vague notion about the planning process and legal requirements associated with development.

I am a member of Harlow Civic Society which monitors planning applications, and tries to ensure that major development proposals are given thorough examination and opportunity to comment BEFORE decisions are made. One such is the absurd Essex County Council plan to pop a new Harlow M11 junction on to Gilden Way. The main advantage it appears is that it would be the cheapest option. Another factor is that affected landowners are quite keen apparently.

It won’t help get traffic through the town. It will bring gridlock to an area which already experiences huge congestion, and which is about to have another 1,100 dwellings dumped on it.

Essex County Council is pushing the Gilden Way option hard. I would urge readers to go and look at the displays about the proposals which can be inspected at the Civic Centre and which have been shown at several venues recently. Question the planners. Seek the opinions of your own local councillors, and make your own views known.

Harlow Civic Society will be holding is annual general meeting on January 20, 2014, at St John’s ARC in Old Harlow. The proposed new M11 junction will be discussed. Essex County Council and Harlow Council have been invited to send speakers.

Mag Barrett

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