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Harlow Council approve plans for 163 homes in town centre

News / Thu 14th Nov 2019 at 11:26am

HARLOW Council’s planning committee approved a bid for 163 homes in the West Gate area of the town centre.

However, the committee were not happy with the lack of promised investment for schools, health surgeries and general infrastructure in Harlow and the town centre in particular.

The film is below.

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5 Comments for Harlow Council approve plans for 163 homes in town centre:

tenpin
2019-11-14 14:15:39

I hope readers will take the time to view this film. All those around the table expressed concerns about the lack of "affordable" housing (5%), the lack of parking provision (residents will be expected to park vehicles in the Harvey Centre or elsewhere) the lack of play facilities (none, which is why you will see young families from other town centre flat blocks in the Harvey Centre in the evening using the play equipment in there)) and the extra strain this and other recent planning applications will place on schools, health centre and the hospital ... and then go on to agree the scheme. The reason why Council's are required to create a Local Plan includes the need set out a vision for their area in terms of housing need, infrastructure requirements to meet this need and job creation to ensure sustainability. The present Local Plan proposals are not the first, there has been a Local Plan in place for over a decade. The Council have clearly stated they want to see 30% of new homes being "affordable" and that infrastructure is put in place before homes are built, the scheme before them did not meet these requirement and the lack of facilities mentioned above means that the scheme could have been refused. It is simply not good enough when some Cllrs express the hope that things will change or that this is a turning point, when in fact it is a turning point towards creating even more problems within the town centre such as even longer waiting times to see a doctor, overcrowded schools and an overstretched hospital.

tony edwards
2019-11-14 21:49:46

If only it was that easy Tenpin, unfortunately the planning laws are such that the the developer In all probability would have won at appeal, and the Council would then have to pick up the costs. We need a wholesale change in the planning laws and a change in the rules of “viability”. But I doubt whether we will get the necessary changes without a change of Government. The points you raise were raised by Councillors in the debate as can be seen on the film. Your fight is not with the Council but rather with central government.

tenpin
2019-11-15 00:10:24

I think you are trying to pass the buck Tony. The whole idea of having Local Plans is so that developers clearly know where and what is required by the Authority. Harlow's I believe states that 30% of new homes should be affordable. If this developer cannot meet this target then they need to come back with a scheme that does. In addition there is no parking on site or recreational space. The Council I believe lost an appeal for the development at the former Motorsales site near the station because the inspector stated that the town park was close enough to provide play space. there is no such space near enough in the town centre. Whilst we can all agree that more (decent sized) homes are needed in the town centre the council seems hell bent on allowing homes to be built at any cost and I believe we may all rue the day when hundreds of homes are built there (including close by at Wych Elm and on the former Square site. People will only come to Harlow to shop if they think it is worthwhile, I don't think any of these new flats will do anything to enhance the present shopping experience.Take a look at what is happening at Stevenage or what was done at Bury St Edmunds or Romford ... no new tower blocks there .... is there really a demand for homes in tower blocks in Harlow?

tony edwards
2019-11-15 00:45:52

Hi Tenpin No buck passing but rather my honest understanding of the current situation. More than happy to look at both Stevenage and Romford. Regards Tony

kthe5
2019-11-15 00:47:51

The development at Wych Elm was originally rejected, at least in part, due to lack of affordable housing. The developer amended the plans, slapped on an extra floor, and managed to get away with about 15% affordable housing. They also made contributions to schools etc. This development seems to make much less contributions. Tenpin is correct - what is the point of having a Local Plan if developers can get away with simply ignoring the requirements? They should produce a plan that matches the Local Plan. Anything that doesn't should be rejected.

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