Harlow Alliance Party leader: Debacle of the Pinnacles is no surprise
General / Fri 6th Aug 2021 at 09:23am
THE leader of the Harlow Alliance Party has reflected on the fall out for planning permission being granted for warehouses in The Pinnacles.
Nicholas Taylor said: “A lot has been written in the last few days about the new warehouses at The Pinnacles. What lessons if any will be learnt from this development?
The consequences of building such units on the west side of the town have been known for many years. A huge increase in traffic on Harlow’s roads creating more noise and pollution, damage to road surfaces, the effect on residents living near the development and the higher risks to road safety.
Whilst the drive to create more jobs is commendable, there has to be a balance between the need for new jobs and the effect they will have on the town and the environment.
I attended the exhibition held by the site owners at the nearby church some years ago. I suggested to the agent presenting the exhibition that the owners should have built badly needed homes on the site because of it’s close proximity to the Public Health England campus. If the homes were built at the same time that hundreds of employees had to move to Harlow then this would reduce the need for residents to use a car to get to work.
The agent said that they had wanted to build homes on the site but was told by the Council not to bother asking bacause permission would not be granted.
The situation we now have is a Council which does not do enough to engage or consult with residents and has a chronic disregard for public opinion however large or small. There are many examples of this: the Stort river crossing, Bushey Croft, the Local Development Plan of Harlow Council and Epping Forest Council, Purford Green and the creation of the Harlow and Gilston Garden Town to name just a few.
Councillors from both parties are now putting up their hands in mock horror to these developments and playing the blame game now that the Conservatives are in power.
I am afraid that whilst residents keep on voting for the two main parties who are wedded to Westminster, nothing much is likely to change.
Would be interesting to learn what Nicholas Taylor feels they could do if there party was in power - sounds as though this is more politicians blaming other politicians. The structure is not complete that currently blocks light from at 5 houses in Bynghams and with being a modular structure could actually be repurposed to keep the same square footage but not encroach these poor residents gardens. But that would be the minimum the local residents would like to see happen, as there's still so many other issues that (admittedly) Nicholas Taylor mentions of massively increased traffic, noise and strain on local amenities. The planning committee should hang their head in shame!
Hi Dave, I will give you a list of things we would do, it may be the case that some of these things are done now, but if that is the case the Councillors should be even more ashamed of themselves. At the heart of why our Party was formed was because we feel that Harlow Council does not adequately involve/consult/provide feedback to residents during the decision making process whether planning or otherwise and this case is just another in a long list where residents find out about things after the horse is bolted. Are you aware of the latest situation with the Local Plan of Epping Forest Council which will allow thousands of homes to be built on Green Belt land adjacent to Katherines and Sumners .... probably not and Harlow Council is failing to tell you either. More news from HAP on this subject shortly. Firstly, the developers of this site wanted to build homes on it but the "Council" said not to bother asking because Planning Permission would not be granted. Were Councillors made aware of this approach or was it left to Officers? We would ensure there is a mechanism in place so that Councillors are involved in such enquires. Secondly, we as Councillors would ensure that we are visible and working in the Ward. Two of the three Councillors in this Ward are only seen in the area just before election time. To his credit, Cllr Carter is the only one of the three ever seen here. Thirdly, Cllr Carter says that Councillors are now getting lists of Planning Applications. We would have thought that this should have always been the case so that they can be briefed on applications and offer advice and or support to residents before Planning Permission is given. Fourthly, we would ensure that officers make checks within an area to ensure that planning letters have been received. It has been said that many homes are no longer occupied by the owner and we would ensure that letters go to owners and not just occupants. Fifthly, a site visit for those on the Development Committee and Ward Councillors should be arranged before a decision is made in respect of a Planning Application. A visit to both the site and the gardens nearby would have given a fuller understanding of what they would be discussing and indeed Cllr Waite mentioned at committee that the building was 15 metres high. Surely anyone with common sense should have realised the devastating effect this would have in the area. At the time the building did not have a tenant, as you say, the building could have been repurposed with a lower height. This is not really a political issue. It is one of common sense, putting better procedures in place and involving residents in the decision making process. It is about changing the mindset in the Council which is "we know best".
The planning system in this country is not fit for purpose and broken. Evidence, checkout the 500 plus campaign groups registered with the Community Planning Alliance ( see Facebook group and not linked to Harlow Alliance Party). You'll see those registered are the tip of an iceberg of similar cases, often inappropriate and large developments in the wrong places and built in ways that like the many thousands before, have destroyed the environment, contributed to climate change and made the uk vulnerable. Time to change a system that's not a level planning field and more than ever tipped in favour of developers and profits. However much or not Cllrs try they are part timer amateurs in a premier league, out smarter and outgunned. They inevitably make mistakes and miss the point. Nature bites back. It should be clear now that the sustaining, protecting and restoring the environment must take absolute priority or our health and survival is at serious risk. Much goes under the radar but the consequences can be seen if you just join the dots. Katherine's is an example of this, the noise of construction alone is extremely stressful and the presence of such a giant structure looming over homes will no doubt affect mental health and wellbeing. Gilston, the bridge barrier crossing and main sewer though the Stort Valley will inevitably have serious adverse effects on the town, it's residents and the natural environment. They need not, but old out of date thinking and planning legislation has and is being applied to projects that will prevail for at least a century. There's many promises being made before COP 26 in November but fine words an inadequate action is unlikely to change the downward spiral. Time to wake up.