Leader of Harlow Alliance Party on Gilston Town Project

General / Wed 9th Jun 2021 at 09:12am

THE LEADER of Harlow Alliance Party has urged residents to raise their concerns about the Harlow and Gilston Town Project.

Nicholas Taylor said: “Many readers will know that Green Belt land to the North of Harlow has long been proposed as a site for a huge new housing development, owned by several organisations who hoped that in due course permission would be given to develop the site.

Some four years ago agreement was reached by three District Councils, Harlow, Epping Forest and East Herts and two County Councils, Essex and Hertfordshire to form a consortium which effectively created The Harlow and Gilston Garden Town. In the next couple of decades thousands of homes will be built on Green Belt land to the North, South and West of Harlow.

“The Harlow Alliance Party was the only Party to object to these plans as they stand. We believed at the outset that decisions about the future of an extended town should be made in the Council chamber in Harlow and not in Epping and Hertford. In order to achieve this, District and County boundaries should have been changed so that residents living in the expanded town would receive services from just one District Council and one County Council. In due course, Harlow Council should seek to create what is known as a unitary authority, from which all public services would be provided. As it is, services will be provided by five Councils, each with their own priorities and funding streams.

Without such a change, residents in each District have been consulted about parts of the plan which affect them in different ways and at different times. Epping Forest DC had no legal obligation to consult residents in Harlow about their plan to allow thousands of homes to be built just over the garden fence of homes in Harlow and East Herts had no legal obligation to consult with residents about their plans and how it would affect those living in Harlow. It has recently been acknowledged that Harlow Council can at best only influence what is happening to the land to the North of the town.

The plan to create a new river crossing from the A414 to Riverway and creating a metro system from the Gilston development to the town centre and on to Latton Priory to the south of Harlow is just part of a scheme primarily designed to benefit the residents of these new homes, where the aim is to get 60% of journeys being taken by bus, cycle and walking. At best they will help to ensure that traffic congestion in Harlow does not get as bad as it could be, it is a simple fact that with the population of the area expected to increase by about 50% in the next 20 years the roads in Harlow will become congested like never before.

The outcry from residents about the plan to construct the new road over the river is likely to be the first of many which will be heard from those of us who already live here.

The Harlow Alliance Party urges residents to sign the petition objecting to the building of a new road across the River Stort, this can be found at:

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18 Comments for Leader of Harlow Alliance Party on Gilston Town Project:

Dave Strong
2021-06-09 09:54:49

There is enough concrete in Harlow. Do not concrete over the River Stort. One of the few remaining places for the people of Harlow to find some natural beauty. This is a very short sighted plan. Why not use the road which already exists by the Moorhen pub which has been blocked?

Melanie Gaigher
2021-06-09 10:37:07

I challenge anyone to walk the stretch along the towpath from Burnt Mill Lock to Harlow Mill. The area is a simply beautiful idyllic green space, has a wealth of fauna and flora and is a jewel in Harlow’s crown. The area is popular with ramblers, cyclists, swimmers in lakes and fishermen. It also forms an integral part of The Lea and Stort Navigation. The road is a serious threat to all that. My concerns are 1. Bridges, which is effectively what the dual carriageway will become, attracts antisocial behaviour such as graffiti artists, homeless people and substance misusers. Suddenly a tranquil area will be transformed into somewhere really unsafe. How is this going to be policed? 2. Threat of flooding. As the road runs parallel to The Stort for a considerable distance, it is reasonable to assume that run-off will lead into The Stort. The river already struggles to cope with with heavy rainfall, I have seen both The Moorhen Pub and Pardon Mill under a considerable degree of strain in the past. Likewise, heavy rainfall on The Stort is already a navigational hazard and any additional water would only contribute to that. Who is/how will this be managed? Although we do need to invest in affordable housing for the future, the environmental burden of this road is too great.

Edward Vine
2021-06-09 10:41:41

The Alliance Party are exactly right. The whole project would benefit from being under a Harlow unitary authority. Not least because the current plans for Harlow in respect of transport are going to create more traffic congestion, gridlock and pollution and because the proposed route across the Stort from Pye Corner into Edinburgh Way will make matters far worse as well as being severely damaging to a sensitive environment. Harlow and the new development need to look to the future and create an ultra green town. As for the route that connects Harlow Gilston Development to Harlow town the obvious and least damaging route option is to widen the existing A414 route to include new cycle and pedestrian tracks and a dedicated hydrogen bus or light tram (like the old trolley bus or continental light tram) route. Also set up Park and ride as other towns like Portsmouth and Cambridge have successfully done. We don't need to attract more cars into town. Essex CC has failed to solve transport issues and just keeps repeating a failed strategy, adding Herts CC and Epping County Councils to the mix is a recipe for disaster. Too many cooks...

Edward Vine
2021-06-09 10:45:01

PS where is the planning application held so that members of the public can lodge formal objections?

Lara Craft
2021-06-10 13:20:11

I can not understand how they are even thinking about this. The risk of floods to the area is already increasing with global climate breakdown. Harlow has seen a continuous onslaught to the surrounding nature. Finally after decades Otters have been sighted in the beautiful nature reserves we have left. What kind of criminal thinks it is ok to concrete right through the middle?! This is a major oversight. My children relay on this green belt as they all have pollution related asthma as it is.

2021-06-10 13:26:34

This area is so beautiful, the proposed development and river crossing will damage previous wetland habitats, at a time when we need more than ever to preserve areas such as this.

2021-06-10 13:43:13

Wellbeing and vital habitat will be lost if this goes ahead. Profit before all else is not conducive to the agreements within the Paris Accord nor council planning and future development services.

2021-06-10 13:49:29

Other than the petition here, how can we stop this ecocide? I am shocked it is even being proposed.

2021-06-11 08:33:35

"thousands of homes will be built on Green Belt land" says it all really. It is green belt land for a reason and should stay that way. By allowing developers to descimate and destroy these habitats, under the guise that their new town will "be green" and have "lots of greenspace for wildlife" (man made parks for kids to trash), we are letting down our local wildlife and we are letting down the planet. We are at a critical and terrifying point in the climate crisis, we either change things right now or there is no going back from the destruction we have caused. It is preposterous that it has even been allowed to plan such a destructive and harmful process that neatly every resident of the surrounding areas has opposed. Stop killing the planet you money grabbing bastards.

Gerry Harrison-Barker
2021-06-11 11:51:27

Can't see how this proposed road is going to ease traffic as you will be travelling through Harlow to get to it at River way. It will also cause destruction of wildlife and be an ugly scar on the landscape. Pollution will also be a big issue. The planners can argue that vehicle emissions are getting cleaner but you still have rubber debris form tyres and brake debris from discs and linings which will seep into the enviroment. Shame on all at Harlow Council for not opposing this so called bypass.

Frances McKellar
2021-06-11 11:55:26

Endangered species and protected plants obviously mean nothing to the greedy developers.

Mark Aiton
2021-06-11 12:23:47

This would be devastating to harlow, both for its residents and it's natural beauty and wildlife, it will drastically effect the wetlands and river where there are protected species, we can't let this happen!

2021-06-11 13:19:56

As said in the article, the Harlow Alliance Party has been the only Party in the last three years to object to the creation of the Harlow and Gilston Garden Town as it stands. An enlarged Harlow has been "championed" by the towns Conservative MP, Robert Halfon and Tory Councillors and supported by Harlow Council when it was controlled by the Labour group. All of these including those directly involved in this development have done as little as possible to engage with residents in Harlow, despite the effect this development and others will have on those of us who already live here. Without knowing what is going on, those who took the trouble to vote in the recent elections voted for Parties who want these plans to proceed.

John Wake
2021-06-11 13:58:14

The planning applications relating to Harlow North, including the new Stort crossing, were lodged two years ago. I put in objections to each one, as residents of Harlow were entitled to do. The hearings have not yet been held. We must defend the Green Belt. In effect, a whole new town will be built adjacent to an existing town. If the Green Belt had not been respected in the 1940s, then there would never have been a Harlow New Town. The houses that became Harlow would instead have been part of a faceless sprawl added on to greater London. Now it is proposed to add a faceless sprawl to Harlow. Calling the new development a “Garden Town” does not make Harlow North any less destructive of the local environment.

Michael Szpakowski
2021-06-11 14:04:25

The river crossing plan is a monstrous attack on a beautiful and tranquil area. Not only will it destroy and undermine the natural world, it will wreck a place where so many Harlow people ( and people from far and wide) go as a refuge and to help their mental health and relaxation. It is not acceptable to support this for a few crumbs from the developers’ table. As people have pointed out this is not about peoples *needs* in terms of housing but of developer *greed* in terms of turning a fat profit. Those who support this plan are betraying nature and betraying people who need places like this to relax and recover. They’re also betraying future generations - we know how toxic traffic emissions are & how they contribute to global warming. I’d be particularly interested to hear where the leader of the Labour group Chris Vince and the Labour candidate in the July Mark Hall by election stand on this. So far the silence has been deafening.

Nicholas Cox
2021-06-11 15:19:20

Road building does not relieve congestion, it attracts traffic, in this case it will form part of an M11 to M1 link road forming an M25 northern relief road. Traffic and the resultant pollution will be appalling, especially when the M25 is closed by accidents.

Karen woodham
2021-06-11 20:12:33

I have walked along the beautiful bank along the river Stort with my parents, children and now grandsons through the years - marvelling at the wildlife and fauna. We walk on sunny days and downpours, through the flooded towpaths in winter. And now it has been decided that the families of Harlow will have this fantastic resource taken from us - replaced by a concrete bridge stretching across the countryside. Spoiling this oasis that so many enjoy and use regularly. What is left of it will flood regularly ( anyone who witnessed the river breaking its banks and the flooded paths and field’s earlier this year, can only fear what will happen with so much intervention). Wildlife will disappear and not return. This new river crossing will not benefit anyone in the town - it’s only value will be to those living in the new Hertfordshire villages / housing estates being created. This plan is ill conceived and should not go ahead - once the countryside has gone it will be lost forever.

2021-06-14 21:38:05

I struggle to understand how this application was never shut down at the outset. The fact that anyone could seriously consider building a road through this area of natural beauty is nothing short of criminal. I have walked alongside the river in all seasons especially since lockdown last year, and on every single occasion have felt my mental well-being saved by the calm and beauty of the natural surroundings of the river stort and it’s flood plains. We are seeing to much of Harlow’s green belt destroyed by developers but this is really a step too far. Aside from the impact if built which would be devastating, what about the construction of this- how long would the paths alongside the river be closed to walkers, runners, families with children and cyclists whilst the construction of this monstrosity is underway? The balance of our natural surroundings has already tipped the wrong way - there are now very few places we can walk around old Harlow, much less than even a few years ago.Remember that we do not inherit our world from our parents, we borrow it from our children! This is taking the development too far and must be stopped!

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