Labour-run Harlow Council slammed by Tories over building plans for the town

News / Fri 25th May 2018 am31 05:45am

Plan 18

Tories Slam Sham Consultation on Building on Green Spaces!

HARLOW Conservatives today Slammed Harlow Council’s consultation on the Local Plan process as an utter sham.

The Council announced the final consultation stage today, before the plan is submitted to an Inspector but crucially residents will be denied a chance to have their say on where housing goes in the town, instead being allowed only to comment on the process of designing the Local Plan. Harlow Conservatives laid the blame for the lack of true consultation at the door of Cllr Danny Purton who has led the process.

Cllr Michael Hardware, Conservative spokesman on the Local Plan commented:

“Cllr Purton has denied the residents of Harlow a proper opportunity to contribute to the local plan, including views on developing on our precious green open spaces hidden within this plan.

“If Cllr Purton really wanted to take into consideration views from residents on the content of the plan, he should have followed the example of Epping Forest and repeated the previous step of the plan process. By repeating the Regulation 18 consultation, it would have allowed residents a proper say on the content and enable the council to take comments into consideration.

“By going straight to the Regulation 19 stage, the council is publishing the final form of the local plan and asking for comments on the process it has gone through, not the content. The plan will not be changed before it is submitted, with all comments being passed on to the Inspector when appointed.

“Labour obviously does not value resident’s views. Surely the 120-odd responses from the previous Regulation 18 consultation in 2014 would have warranted a repeat of the process?

“Epping received over 3,000 comments on its repeated Regulation 18 consultation.”

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11 Comments for Labour-run Harlow Council slammed by Tories over building plans for the town:

2018-05-25 08:29:26

I am afraid that Cllr Hardware is really shedding crocodile tears, he and his party have not been loud or long enough in making this a town wide issue. It was not until The Harlow Alliance Party (HAP) was formed and began canvassing in the three wards that it contested that the Conservative Party started to put this major issue into it's election literature. The plan is not set in stone and even now it is out of date as new planning applications are being made or are in the pipeline (such as the 155 flats on the Terminus Street car park). HAP will be making a formal objection on the plan supported by the hundreds of residents who have already signed our petitions against the loss of play areas and green open spaces.

2018-05-25 09:36:02

Sorry but you obviously haven’t attended a full council meeting or a cabinet meeting in the last two years, or watched @yourharlow films of them. This has been a HUGE issue for Harlow Conservatives. I’m all in favour of political debate but please don’t peddle mistruths to forward your own political agenda. Cllr Andrew Johnson Leader of Harlow Conservatives

2018-05-25 10:05:34

Cllr Johnson, your response demonstrates the deep frustration I have heard whilst canvassing before the elections earlier this month. I haven't and neither have 99.9% of the people of Harlow have or been made aware of meetings taking place to discuss this subject. Trying to find things on the Council's website, assuming you even have access is almost impossible and with regard to yourharlow films, much of it cannot be heard or indeed seen as to who is speaking. Our political agenda is to make the Council transparent and to involve residents not just tenants in the decision making process. The events leading up to today's announcement about the Local Plan demonstrates just how badly things need to change at the Council. The Harlow Times could have been one vehicle that was used by the Council to widely publicise what has been happening for example. In my ward, the conservative election literature initially listed 4 priorities, the first was to get the grass cut properly and it was not until we started canvassing did this whole subject come up in further conservative leaflets. It will be interesting to see how the plan and the 6 week period for consultation is advertised. Will for instance public meetings be held around the neighbourhoods? As for the EFDC plan only our party has made a formal objection.

2018-05-25 11:20:19

Well they would say that wouldn't they. Quickest way to clear a room? Say "hello, I'm a member of the Conservative Party". Though you could probably get all of them in one room these days. It's always much easier to "slam" (whatever that means) others to distract everyone from the fact that you have no plans of your own. Negativity didn't work for S(ain't) Theresa last year did it. You'd have thought they'd have learned.

2018-05-25 16:36:20

Well JFQ, not sure who your second paragraph is aimed at but I can assure you that HAP does have plans of it's own. Firstly not to build on play areas and areas designed to separate estates. Secondly not to have dismissed the offer to build homes on what most people know as the former BP site, where homes for many of those who will be working in the new research centre just across the road could have lived. Instead we will now be faced with dozens of lorries coming and going each day to 6 big warehouses. Thirdly, to include the police and fire services in a new hospital site, to free up land for housing within the town centre. Fourthly to look at why land on Roydon Road was not included in the plan for new housing, when it seems very likely it will never be used for other purposes.

2018-05-25 16:48:07

Right yeah, let's decentralise the police and fire brigade and house them miles away from any potential trouble. Where they are now is, for want of a better word, perfect. Close to the town centre and all major trunk roads. Let's say a new hospital will be at North Weald or where the new M11 junction will be. The result will be no proper police station in the town, a green light for crime and disorder. And having a fire station that far out will also be wilfully putting the residents of the town at unacceptable risk. Every second counts in a fire, and if the depot is that far away it could mean the difference between life and death. So can we now assume, having seen what passes for your plans, that the central policy of the HAP is to endanger Harlow citizens?

2018-05-25 18:06:24

Well here you go again, picking on just one of the points I made and then suggesting that it is the central point of our policies. I take it you must be agreeing to the building on play areas and open fields etc? The fact is, I understand the Fire Service have long wanted to be relocated elsewhere. Simple fact is that with the heavily congested roads in the centre of town this can hinder how quick they can get to a fire. The combining of Fire and Police Commissioner rolls lends itself to sharing both capital and revenue costs. We also wish to see both a South and North ring road for Harlow, either would create faster access points into the town for both services. One thing I hope we could agree on is the need to see major infrastructure improvements before any major house building takes place or the town will be gridlocked.

2018-05-25 21:37:51

Where's your proof that the fire service want to relocate elsewhere? I've not seen public statements to that effect. And fire engines have these cool lights and sirens that compel people to get out of the way. I've seen it happen. Just imagine a town without a centralised police station. The idea is irresponsible in the extreme. A cop shop marooned on the edge of town is a preposterous idea, particularly when you rarely see a police officer on the beat these days. It'll look like they're abandoning the town. Spoiler alert: police also have cool lights and sirens to make people get out of the way. I've seen that too. How about putting this plan on a nice leaflet and delivering it to the residents of Harlow, with a handy map to show how far away they'll be from help should a burglar invade their home or a fire break out?

2018-05-26 06:18:00

tenpin, don't bother replying to the un-stable one that calls itself jfq. It will side track, lie and generally insult any one who has a different opinion about anything on this planet. A bullying momentist . Most of HAP comment makes a lot of sense, and appears reasonable to the average reader. Keep up the pressure.

2018-05-26 07:50:44

Righto Micky. In a fire or when one is being attacked in their own home, every second counts. A plan for moving the police and fire station further away from potentially life threatening situations will be a PR disaster. I cannot wait for the HAP's literature on this one, with big arrows showing how far away from help someone living in Milwards or Sumners is if they encounter an emergency. This is the very definition of a political open goal.

2018-06-14 14:53:08

Just to set the record straight. The arguments used by JFQ about the relocation of the Fire and Rescue Service and the Police service can be used when the hospital is relocated on the edge of Harlow. Whilst call outs for an ambulance have risen dramatically in recent years the Essex Fire and Rescue Service report that call outs for it's services have reduced by 50% in the period 2004 to 2014. I thought I would check with the Fire and Rescue Service, who advised me that they have no plans to move the Harlow Fire Station in the next two or three years, but I suspect that as the downward pressure on budgets continue this is a subject that will come to the fore again.

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