Plans to convert Harlow rugby club in 125 homes in Elizabeth Way given green light

Politics / Thu 18th Dec 2014 at 12:15pm

BY JO O’Reilly

PROPOSALS to build over a hundred homes at Harlow Rugby Club on Elizabeth Way as well as move to club to Second Avenue have been approved by Harlow Council’s planning committee.

But the proposals were met by dire warnings from objectors who expressed their concerns that the area could be a “death trap’ for pedestrians and motorists.

The proposals were led by Planning Director for Kier Homes, Ian Mitchell

He said: “I am very keen to point out that the site is ‘sustainably located’ due to its proximity to the train station.

“The site has been allocated for housing now for over eight years.”

Mr Martin also explained that 32% of the proposed housing would be ‘affordable housing’ which equates to 40 dwellings.

The proposals were supported by the vicar of St Mary’s church, Sue Knight (and the chaplain of Harlow rugby club)

She said: “Change is not always welcome, but we must also welcome the provision of more housing.’

“St Mary’s intends to be a focal point of the new community. The new housing may allow the church to apply for more funding to set up mother and baby groups for the new community and a hall for community events, a hall that could be hired out”.

But there were a number of objectors.

Harlow Civic Society’s John Curry said: ‘With regards to this particular site, we have been here before, Elizabeth way is a very busy road which will isolate the residents.’

‘It is totally unsuitable and will end up being a suburb, adjacent to, but separated from the town. It is far too soon to consider using it for any form of built environment.’

A representative of Parndon Mill called the proposals a ‘a reckless disregard for public safety’, due to the levels of traffic that would be caused to back up into Elizabeth Way.

This was backed up by local resident Anna McGrath whose described it as creating a ‘potential death trap’ for residents, in particular children who would be required to cross the road.

They were supported by Labour councillor Jean Clark. She said: “There’s no accident that the greatest number of supporters are rugby club users and that those against, are local residents who know the area.’

‘My main objection is that is the wrong place for housing, it is North of Elizabeth way completely isolated from all amenities.’

‘Children of all ages will have to cross Elizabeth Way to attend school, it is a dangerous road.’

Her concerns were echoed by other Labour councillors.

Councillor Dennis Palmer said: ‘The big issue is the road itself, I would like to see a roundabout put in at the proposed exit and speed restrictions along the road itself.’

Chair of the committee, Edna Stevens said: “We will be requesting that safety signs are put up on the road.’

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