Harlow Council defend decision to give planning permission to warehouses (as well as detail planning breach)
General / Wed 4th Aug 2021 at 06:59am
HARLOW Council has issued an enforcement notice after developers working on a controversial development near houses in Katherines breached regulations.
Harlow Council has also detailed the planning groupie the application has gone through over the last four years.
This comes as residents have bitterly complained about the site of the warehouses looming over their homes.
A spokesperson said: “The Council recognises the concerns raised by a number of residents living near the Icon building site in west Harlow where two new commercial units are being constructed, one to be occupied by Amazon.
All complaints the council receives regarding developments are investigated and, if any planning breaches are found, appropriate enforcement action is taken.
Councillor Michael Hardware, portfolio holder for strategic growth which includes planning, said: “An enforcement notice was issued on the developers in June for a breach of conditions relating to hours of operation at the construction site. I asked officers to look into this and to monitor the site. I fully understand the concerns raised by residents. The council is listening and will do all it can to address residents’ concerns within the parameters set out under planning law. The council takes all complaints and possible planning breaches seriously. Several councillors, including myself, have visited the site in recent weeks and we are actively engaging with the developers to mitigate the impact on local residents, but clearly there can be no complacency about the impact this development has had to date.”
Planning permission for the redevelopment, located on the former GSK south site, was granted by the council’s Development Management Committee on 3 October 2017.
The applicant sought to construct two of the four approved buildings, which became the subject of a further planning application in January of this year. These “reserved” matters, which were approved by the Development Management Committee on the 13 January 2021, related to details on internal access, appearance, landscaping, layout and the scale of the two proposed buildings.
The minutes of these meetings and supporting documents can be found on the council’s website at:
Development Management Committee on 3rd October 2017:
Supporting documents: https://planningonline.harlow.gov.uk/online-applications/applicationDe
Development Management Committee on 13 January 2021:
Councillor Michael Hardware, continued: “Our planning team has fully investigated a number of complaints from residents in relation to the construction of these buildings. The Planning Team has so far issued one enforcement notice for a breach of conditions relating to hours of operation. Planning Officers stipulated that no construction work shall be carried out on the site at any time on Sundays or public holidays, or before 7am or after 7pm on Monday to Friday, or before 8am or after 1 pm on Saturdays. We are satisfied that these hours of operation are now being complied with, but future checks will take place. I am continuing to monitor the situation and will investigate any further complaints with planning officers to maintain an appropriate level of scrutiny.”
“Other complaints received include:
The plans seen at the consultation at St.Msrys Church indicated a row of small business units st the back NOT a huge logistics warehouse
This is a lot of posturing from Michael Hardware. If you look on Harlow Council’s site you can see that the noise regulations advertised there are actually *already* stronger than the order they are boasting about. The rest is hot air - the residents are still faced with a monstrosity effectually snuck through the back door in January. There are lessons here for the Stort campaign and doubly so because although Robert Halfon has made a tactical retreat Michael Hardware is still advocating for the proposed environmental vandalism even in the face of a petition that is over 5000 strong and with well over three hundred objections lodged ( with *one* lonely statement in support). I wish those in Katherines campaigning against what has been foisted on them well. This is an appalling way to treat people. We need to put people first , not big business or developers.
The 187 letters sent out for the 2021 application prompted just one objection, and no one spoke against the application at the committee. I live in Bynghams and overlook this grey elephant site. I've never received a letter in 2021 having moved here in 2019. Can the council clarify what their range of consultation was as it certainly didn't include those who are impacted directly by it visually. Also can the council clarify how many complaints have to be received before they are investigated. I believe as a collective neighbourhood we lodged at least 10 complaints within a 2 week period and was ignored by the breach officer until we all copied and pasted out replies again.
Am I right to assume that Harlow Council Planners didn't wish to refuse planning permission on the basis that if the powerful developers won on appeal Harlow Council would be liable for the expensive legal costs?
It is a shameful state of affairs that Harlow Council hides behind a statement that consultation took place. This sort of thing should not require consultation in the first place. Anyone in their right mind and in a position of protecting their residents' rights would not allow such an infringement of people's interests in the first place.