Harlow Conservatives accused of “wasting Council resources”.

News / Mon 14th Dec 2020 at 01:48pm

Harlow Conservatives accused of “wasting Council resources”.

COUNCIL leader Mark Ingall has today accused Harlow’s Conservative opposition of wasting Council resources because they have challenged a decision to conduct a feasibility study on sustainable transport for Harlow.

Conservative Councillors argued against the feasibility study in a Council meeting, but having lost the vote they have now further questioned the Council’s decision by “calling it in”, a time consuming process to challenge decisions made by the Council says Cllr Ingall.

Councillor Ingall said “We are used to Harlow Tories trying to mislead residents. Parents will remember Tory claims just before an election that there were no plans to cut school budgets, only to watch as per pupil funding was cut after the election. Library users will remember Conservative plans to close four out of five of our libraries, only to then pretend that they were the saviours of the libraries when they u-turned on their plans. So we should not be surprised that the Tories are misrepresenting a decision by Harlow Council to conduct a feasibility study into sustainable transport as a commitment to spend hundreds of millions of pounds. Their claims are simply untrue.

Unfortunately this latest attempt to mislead has real implications for Harlow Council tax payers. To carry out a “call in” procedure will waste many hours of officer time which would be better spent on delivering services for residents. Those with long enough memories will remember the last time Harlow Tories did this. They opposed the creation of HTS, Harlow Council’s property and environment company. HTS has been a huge success, returning millions of pounds to Harlow Council while at the same time improving services, and Harlow Tories are now such supporters of HTS that two of them serve on the board of the company and take an allowance for doing so.

Councillor Danny Purton added “The reason we are engaging AECOM, a respected Transportation Consultant, is to provide all the details we need – then we can decide whether to proceed with our aspirations for a 21st Century Transportation system that delivers the 60% sustainable mode share that is part of the promise of the Garden Town.

Cllr Joel Charles talks to a few of his mates in the City and suddenly becomes an expert in Transportation Planning – The wild exaggeration of £20m / km for providing a narrow track on which to run a double ended Bendy Bus is way off the mark – We await the feasibility study which will answer such questions – It will likely be less than £5m / Km and certainly less than the County Council’s proposed Bus Lanes.”

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3 Comments for Harlow Conservatives accused of “wasting Council resources”.:

2020-12-14 20:08:02

It's called democracy Cllr Ingall. The Tories have every right to call in a decision. This need not be time consuming, a couple of sides of A4 should do it. Wasting council money is one that can be laid at Labour's door, such as the £272,000 spent on the Market Square, as for misleading, well Labours Local Plan is a great example of that. The simple fact is, despite agreeing to the creation of an extended Harlow over 3 years ago to date your Party have to no plan in place to mitigate the huge increase in traffic that will result. A tramway as proposed will only really serve those residents living in the new developments on the the outskirts of Harlow. By the very nature of the routes proposed, most Harlow residents do not live near any proposed stopping points, the elderly and those carrying shopping are never likely to use it. Much better to use any money available to press for a northern bypass and indeed a southern one as well, taking all the traffic passing through Harlow off Harlow's roads.

Colleen Morrison
2020-12-15 12:42:31

Councillors Ingall and Purton appear not to want Harlow Council to be held accountable to the people of Harlow regarding what they refer to as their "aspirations for a 21st Century Transportation System", however, like it or not, we live in a democracy so you are accountable, councillors. Being accountable means providing adequate information to the people of Harlow who pay the bills and who must live with any mistakes the council makes. Given that Councillor Ingall and Councillor Purton have provided no information to local people that I've seen in respect of what exactly they are proposing, they must show us the money. How much of Harlow people's money are they prepared to spend on this new system and will they increase our council tax to pay for this? How much will AECOM charge the people of Harlow for their proposed feasibility study? Exactly what sort of system do Cllrs Ingall and Purton wish to provide - and why? It's the democratic duty of Conservative councillors to hold the ruling Labour group to account on behalf of all of us, the people of Harlow who otherwise would be kept in the dark. They are merely doing their job in this and in demanding that the ruling Labour group provide us all with further and better data on this proposal and that they show us the money.

Colleen Morrison
2020-12-15 13:20:35

1. Bendy Buses and tram systems cause major traffic congestion. 2. Friends of The Earth and other experts states that tram or bus systems will never be green or mitigate climate change if they run half empty. Your Bendy Bus must operate at an unachievable full capacity, councillors, in order to meet your green aspirations. 3. Townsfund UK's Dashboard reveals that, in 2011, just 8.8% of Harlow's community used public transport. Given such low usage - which will be even lower this year as a result of the pandemic - how exactly do Cllrs Ingall and Purton intend to stop us using our cars and how will they make us fill these Bendy buses? https://townsfund.org.uk/dashboard 4. Friends Of The Earth and other experts also state that any tram or bus system, bendy or otherwise, cannot be green if they're powered by carbon fuels. 30% of the electricity that powers your Bendy Buses will be produced from burning coal. So this is hardly a green system or 21st century aspirational, isit? 5. Tramlink Nottingham has reported a pre-tax loss of £18.7m on its aspirational 21st century transport system for the year to 31 March 2018 after making a loss of £48.5m in the prior 12 months. Who will subsidise Harlow's system if it loses money? 6. Millions of pounds of public money have been wasted on trams and light rail networks which cost too much to build and run half empty, according to the government's spending watchdog. 7. France has introduced a hefty payroll tax system to pay for its green aspirations and tram systems. 8. Bendy Buses have major safety issues, as they've been involved in far too many appalling accidents and fatalities, many authorities who once had them are getting rid of them pronto. Who will pay the huge compensation for a Harlow Bendy Bus's accidents? 9. Why is Harlow Council considering these nightmare buses?

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