Letter to Editor: River Stort Crossing: A Bridge Too Far
News / Sat 19th Jun 2021 at 08:47am
THE LEADER of the Harlow Alliance Party has visited the site of the proposed river crossing and has praised campaigners.
Nicholas Taylor said: “Due to the effort of Neil Warner Baker, it seems that residents of Harlow and beyond as well as local politicians are at last waking up to the consequences for Harlow if the planned housing developments on Green Belt land around the town are given the go ahead.
Up until now, Harlow Council, the Council’s surrounding the town and the consortium looking to develop “Harlow North” have done as little as possible to consult and engage with the residents of Harlow about their proposals to create the “Harlow and Gilston Garden Town” because they know of the devastating effect these will have on the Green Belt surrounding the town and open spaces within it. We now see the rush by local politicians to try and distance themselves and their Party from some of the proposals. More of this is likely to follow when the plans of Epping Forest DC to allow thousands of homes to be built on the Green Belt to the South and West of Harlow are published early next month.
Last weekend I took advantage of the good weather to walk along the River Stort from the Moorhen towards Harlow Mill where by chance I met Neil. He took me to spots which give the best view of where Hertfordshire County Council plan to build a four lane highway from Pye Corner to Riverway. This area is of course not in Harlow, but it is effectively Harlow’s Green Belt. Anyone making a visit to this area must surely take the view that house builders, planners and anyone who is set to make huge sums of money from such developments really do not have any regard for nature, the effect on wild life and the well being of residents. Building on the Green Belt may be seen as a more profitable way to get a return on an investment, selling homes in what are called new villages which in reality are just housing estates in the middle of a field.
“We need to ensure that the Councils involved in these developments hear the message being shouted loud and clear “this is a bridge to far”.
This road is totally unnecessary, especially given that the A414 crossing is a shirt distance away a due for massive redevelopment. The proposed destruction of this part of the flood pain and our natural environment is an obscenity.
We have only recently become aware of the Central and Eastern River Stort Crossing development for Harlow to Gilston and are extremely concerned...when have any of the details of this development been made available to the residents of Harlow? Please contact us and let us know where we can find details of the proposed destruction of this area of outstanding natural beauty and when the environmental impact survey was done?
They have NOT done ANY environmental impact studies. They say they'll do them afterwards. Nobody want to take responsibility for this.. they keep passing us from pillar to post. *Last I knew (when I worked for the Countryside Agency), environmental impact studies are supposed to be done before the contract goes to tender. *Many of the correct and leagl process that are supposed to have been done... haven't. Also... this was "agreed", before Covid and Brexit... *Financial situations have changed for councils / government. *Population changes are occurring as people leave the UK. = Has anyone considered any if this? No! * Because it's all about greed and spending the government's / tax payers money.
There's hundreds of developments across the country that are similarly damaging and that have exploited gaps in planning, building and environmental legislation. The answer is a petition to Parliament which will force a debate and action to change the law. A petition submission application is being drawn up. There are at least 450 groups that are logged by the Community Planning Alliance on Facebook group alone. It would take only 23 votes per organisation to get a response from Parliament and 223 votes per organisation from each of them and with others from the general public, to secure a debate in Parliament. (100,000 needed in total) The Chesham and Amersham by election results have shaken the politicians and The Climate Change Committee report has provided solid evidence of the past failures and the need for change to protect the planet and precious eco systems like the Stort Valley: if nature gets sick so do we. SOS
Edward, the Chesham & Amersham vote was one local frustration, in so far as the LibDems and Labour both support the HS2. The Harlow & Gilston Garden Town (HGGT) has been on the agenda since 2017 or before. The former Labour Council has gone along with this project from the beginning, so if, now in opposition they claim green credentials, that is dishonesty in its most blatant form. That said, the issue goes way beyond party politics. The fact is that we, as much of the country, have a housing shortage. Harlow has one of the highest densities of population in the Eastern Region. We hear a constant demand for more housing, yet every development (recently at Rushes Mead and Purford Green) results in protests against building on green areas. The Left tends to exhort the need for new houses and the preservation of green areas and the protection of the greenbelt. How can these two competing claims be reconciled? Whether the new houses are council or private is irrelevant the point: the bees and the badgers do not distinguish as to who owns the concrete. If we are to oppose this project in the name of protection of the environment and ecosystems, that is completely understandable. However, we cannot then remonstrate over the lack of new housing. If anyone knows where in Harlow we can build new homes without any environmental consequences, I am all ears. Other than a few brownfield sites, Harlow is pretty much full.
As I have said many times ref housing at Gilton .I have attended several consultations .YES WE NEED HOUSING ,But the right type.The so called social housing will be Housing association that the developers will take over as NOT social landlords so will be able to sell off thier propertys later.and will be able to charge 80% market rate rents .The other homes for sale will be mostly unaffordable to most Harlow residents.Like the development at wych Elm.Absolutly NO COUNCIL HOUSING builtat truly affordable rents and accountable to democraticly elected councilors.Note if the new proposed Planning legistlation goes through parliament we will have little or no say what nhappens to any new developments Harlow & Nat Defend Council Housing.
Paul have you read the Climate change Committee report? As Robert Halfon has said planning was a mistake and the developers need to go back to the drawing board. Gilston was conceived over 6 years ago, tec, science, Engineering and our understanding of ecology have all moved on apace : the failures in our planning system and environmental protections have been exposed as inadequate. Gilston needs an entire reappraisal and there are better, lower cost and more environmentally friendly alternatives to the £63,000,000 bridge barrier crossing. By the way, population has fallen, the shortage is of decent affordable housing, there are no Council homes in the Gilston estate development.