Harlow councillor in charge of growth gives thoughts on proposed Stort River Crossing

News / Fri 18th Jun 2021 at 08:20am

THE HARLOW Council member for Strategic Growth, cllr Mike Hardware has paid a visit to the planned site of a four line highway that may cut across heart of a Harlow beauty spot.

Cllr Hardware said:

Stort River Crossings

“Improving our environment and making Harlow an even better place to live are among the Conservative’s core ambitions. We want to see our existing green spaces not only protected but enhanced and better utilised. 

Since we took over the administration last month, one of our first challenges has been the planning application for a new eastern Stort crossing from Gilston villages into River Way. Submitted in 2019, we have inherited this application from the previous administration.

The Stort river and its associated wetlands are much-loved and well-used by Harlow residents. They must be protected and enhanced for the benefit of not only residents but also the wildlife that thrives in these precious ecosystems. Equally, we also need to identify sites for new housing for current and future generations. The aim and aspiration is that new housing developments and infrastructure in and around Harlow must deliver improvements to the environment we all share. It is a key strategic aim of this new administration that our local environment is improved.

I have met with environmental campaigners on site and listened to their concerns, and look forward to working with them over the coming months. I have today asked officers to ensure all the appropriate studies and evaluations have been carried out. Many have been completed and are available on the East Herts website including agriculture & soil, biodiversity, air quality, noise and vibration, ground conditions, landscapes & visual, and archaeology. I have also asked that the relevant bodies, such as Natural England, the Environment Agency and the Canal & River Trust, have all been consulted over these proposals.   

The Conservative Group has always been supportive of development in north Harlow as we view it as the more sustainable direction of growth for the town, as opposed to developments to the south and west. But this growth cannot be at any cost – the impact of the developments and accompanying infrastructure has to be in proportion and all steps must be taken to minimise the impact on the environment. We are also open to discuss options to offset the environmental impact of these large infrastructure schemes.

This project is being funded by the Government through a £172million Housing Infrastructure Grant (HIG). This is to enable the infrastructure for new development to be in place before the new homes are built. In addition to the new crossing, the HIG grant will fund the roads to the north of Harlow, the widening of the existing Stort crossing, a new railway bridge and the sustainable transport corridor from Gilston to the town centre including re-configuring the Burnt Mill and Fifth Avenue roundabouts.

The applications will be considered jointly by East Hertfordshire and Harlow councils. In coming to their decision, the planning committees will review all the information submitted and the comments received. The planning applications were due to come before the committees this month but there is now a delay until at least July.

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13 Comments for Harlow councillor in charge of growth gives thoughts on proposed Stort River Crossing:

Heather Worth
2021-06-18 08:56:54

Seems you will build no matter the cost to the local environment, simply because the government has decreed it. The green belt is the green belt but apparently you can ignore that fact when it suits. Disgraceful

Michael Szpakowski
2021-06-18 09:10:58

Hardware and the Tories show their utter contempt for the people they nominally represent. They must think we are completely stupid with their ‘on the one hand this on the other that’ attempted justification for going ahead with this monstrous project. The crossing will despoil our environment & wreck a resource used by thousands of Harlow people to relax & recuperate. The interests of the developers are clearly *much* more important to Hardware and his pals than those of Harlow people. I don’t suppose we should be surprised given all the recent revelations of Tory rottenness around PPE supply & their general ‘you scratch my back’ attitude to planning. Last night’s election wipe out where a key issue was building on green belt should serve as a warning though, as should the nearly three thousand people who in just over a week have signed the petition against the environmental vandalism of the Stort valley. The campaign is not going away! #SaveOurStort #wewillwin

Danny Gleeson
2021-06-18 09:28:13

You cannot "offset" the environment. Once an area of of open countryside has been built on and concreted over it is lost forever. To treat the environment as something that can be moved to suit the plans you have in mind shows an incredible amount of naivety. It takes a long time for the environment to recover it takes decades. This road and crossing needs to be stopped now and the environment left alone. It isn't replaceable or moveable to think it is shows an extreme lack of knowledge and understanding by developers and the local planning committee on how the natural world works. If the infrastructure is "to be in place before a new development to be in place before new homes are built", why was this road project not included when the original plans for this development were submitted and not a couple of years after? It would seem It is an after thought by the developers to be able to get an even bigger slice of the £172 millions of the Government infrastructure grant. Cllr Hardware, show some back bone and prove to us that local inhabitants and the environment do matter. Stop this ridiculous after thought else you are gaslighting yet again. We need local councillors to represent those that elected them to their positions not someone that says what needs to be said to appease the local population to avoid confrontation with private developers. The only word you should be saying is NO!

2021-06-18 09:28:48

Lies that are as see through as a sheer blouse. Tories only care about money and power, not the environment

2021-06-18 09:29:35

The full planning application goes before East Herts Council on 27th June. The recent publication last week by the Climate Change Committee exposes the massive flaws in the Planning Application which didn't even include a request for an Environmental Impact Assessment. For instance the whole strategy wrt to flood plains has been totally wrong. The whole basis of the application is based on very out of date information and the Developers seem to have driven a coach and horses through the gap between Harlow and East Herts Councils, they top this by now seeking to build a disastrous elevated road bridge when there are clearly other cheaper and more environmentally options. On the basis of the "new" evidence from the climate change Committee this project needs to be stopped and a complete reappraisal done so that the build can be done in an ultra green manner. It's impact will be permanent and we need to get it right. Residents have been badly let down here by councils both by those in power and in opposition. Add to this the mistakes that are already apparent in the road network from J7a and the impact of the Epping housing development on our southern border plus infill building development as at Purford Green and we have the perfect storm that will not only be extremely detrimental to the environment but to the quality of life and health of the population. Action to ensure East Herts set new updated standards at the Planning Application Meeting to secure the reappraisal is needed now. Cllrs can't blame previous administrations nor be complacent. A reappraisal would also provide an opportunity for Harlow to become a uk and world class leader in ultra green engineering generating jobs and create new green industries. Our leaders need to show some vision and look to a green future.

Connie Sosa
2021-06-18 09:37:10

This project has been supported by the former Harlow Labour administration for a number of years. Let's not forget their infamous Harlow Metro (Monorail) project, which was a key feature of this. It is hardly fair to blame the new administration, which has inherited a project involving 5 local government authorities: Harlow, Epping Forest, East Herts, Essex County Council and Herfordshire County Council. The challenge is how to provide homes, jobs and infrastructure for a growing population without an environmental impact. That is an impossible aspiration. The new administration in Harlow is seeking to do the best best for the town and area in difficult circumstances it has inherited.

2021-06-18 10:15:28

Cllrs need to look to the Chesham and Amersham by election result: the Lib Dems triumphed by focusing on poor and detrimental planning issues.

Neil Warner Baker
2021-06-18 11:08:55

I'm so glad that this is at last on the Agenda, I've never thought of myself as an enviromental campaigner, just a guy from Harlow, who cares and is watching Our town fall apart.. Its time for everyone to forget our differences and to stand together. We don't need this £172M grant..we need to conserve what we have. Let Harlow evolve within Gibbards Plan and leave Creation to the God you believe in!

Lewis Brand
2021-06-18 11:44:05

It’s disgusting that the Government Will just give into developers to move the greenbelt. What is the idea of the green belt being there in the First place if developers can just come along and move it as and when it pleases them not only that but if they go ahead with this crossing plan it will just Open up the floodgates For other councils to follow to suit whatever there town growth “needs” & use this as an example. Everyone I’ve spoken to aka people of Harlow don’t want this crossing, so how can they say it’s best for the town… more like there own pockets. I’ve lived in Harlow all my life, slowly they’ve taken more and more in the name of “housing”. Which isn’t even for the people of Harlow example, the new “ luxury apartments“ by the train station aka 2 bed flat costing £304,000 which is more than houses in Harlow.

Graham vonHaartman
2021-06-19 00:51:34

I am appalled at this rediculous plan to cut across what little green belt we have left. It seems developers can build wherever they like providing the incentives are put in place. This government grant was supposed to help redeveloped our decaying town centreto attract more cash flow into the area and encourage more retailers to move in. As for road crossing from Stortford the access to the Mll needs to be rethought and work on reducing traffic bottle necks such as traffic lights crossing directly after a major roundabout. Or filter lanes that are potential accident black spots

2021-06-21 17:51:35

Lets talk about affordable housing the Gilston social housing will be a new housing association ( from the last consultaion )It will be formed from the developers .New legistlation means up to 80% market rents could be charged I was told they did not know the level of rents or what percentage of the local average wage would be charged,The section 106 legistlation over the years that states % of rented homes to be built will probably be extreemly low.zero affordable politcly accountable council homes will be built at a true affordable rent for the residents of harlow or Hertford.Mick Patrick Harlow & National defend Council Housing.

Angela Hodgson
2021-06-24 17:12:45

Beautiful countryside devastated, the habitats of endangered species such as otters and water voles destroyed. Is that great for any of us? I can only imagine the construction vehicles trying to achieve this roadway on a flood plain. Great idea? It took nearly three years to widen a small section of Edinburgh Way, how long is this project going to take? We all know a northern bypass for Harlow is the only real solution.

Leigh Obrien
2021-06-27 17:26:27

This is an utter joke,i dont care what administration this was inherited from fed up with all the Tory labour weeing contest end of the day its wrong no matter who signed what.... harlow does need this,all this rubbish we need houses,you've just built 6000 homes in gilden park,newhall is still growing,there is empty homes all round this town and you allow other councils to send people here to live over people that have been waiting years.... Redricks lane isn't a busy road and I cannot see the point of another road when the sabridgeworth road and the current burnt mill road is good enough all to save what 5 minutes and destroy the only green vista we have left in this ever growing concrete mess of a town

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