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Old Harlow councillor writes to Essex Council regarding M11 Junction

Politics / Tue 10th Jun 2014 at 07:13am

Dear Cllr Bass,

Re: Proposed M11 Junction 7A – Harlow

During the local election campaign in Old Harlow residents told me they were deeply concerned about proposals for a new M11 Junction in West Essex and how the final decision would be made.

I welcome the large investment and work already undertaken by Essex County Council to improve road infrastructure in Harlow.

Improving the capacity of existing junctions has been a welcome step forward. There is also a widely accepted need to
address Harlow’s connection to the M11. Your own acknowledgment of this issue and steps to consult on future infrastructure needs in West Essex show a strong commitment to regenerating Harlow.

However, residents have expressed deep dissatisfaction with the consultation process and the limited range of options presented. There appeared to be a bias towards the cheapest option which in my view, and of many others, will not provide a long-term solution to the traffic congestion in Harlow. Consultees were prevented from putting forward other ideas which diminished public confidence in the process.

It was therefore appreciated that you did listen to those concerns by allowing further time for more comments.

In an attempt to restore confidence in the consultation process, I am proposing a local commission made up of local councillors, residents and highways officers to review all the options in order to make recommendations for a sustainable and
environmentally acceptable route. The commission also complements the Government’s localism agenda which I know Essex County Council supports.

Devolving power to local people will improve transparency and increase the
likelihood of public support for the best route which addresses the congestion and
potential blight on peoples’ lives.

I and my fellow Old Harlow Councillors would very much welcome the opportunity of discussing with you the means of setting up a commission.

Yours sincerely,

Cllr Joel Charles
Old Harlow Ward, Harlow Council

CC Cllr Eddie Johnson, Deputy Cabinet Member for Highways and Transportation

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