Harlow Conservatives plan for “biggest plans for regeneration” since town was built approved
News / Sat 11th Sep 2021 at 07:03am
By Local Democracy Reporter
HARLOW is set to receive the “biggest programme of regeneration” since it was built as a post-war New Town, including proposals to lobby for an extension the London Underground’s Central Line to the town.
Harlow Council’s cabinet approved plans, called “Harlow @ 100”, last night (September 9) also containing proposals for boundary changes to encompass Harlow and Gilston Garden Town – and could see the town become “a small city”.
The plans will now be put to residents for an eight-week consultation period, due to begin later this month, and the results will be considered before an updated version is put to the cabinet next year.
During the meeting, opposition councillors questioned the feasibility of some of the proposals and said plans for a Harlow tube had been announced before any consultation with Transport for London.
At the cabinet meeting, portfolio holder for regeneration Dan Swords (Con, Bush Fair) said the council wanted to oversee “the biggest programme since the town was built”.
He said: “Those that bet against Harlow are going to get it wrong again.”
Portfolio Holder for Strategic Growth Michael Hardware (Con, Staple Tye) said Harlow’s many upcoming developments and strategies, including the relocation of the UK Health Security Agency (formerly Public Health England), the Harlow and Gilston Garden Town and the Local Plan, needed “unifying” in one document.
He said: “Early on in the administration we determined there needed to be something to pull these together, a vision for Harlow.”
Cllr Hardware also confirmed the plans would become a material planning consideration if accepted in their final form.
This means they will have to be taken into account when deciding future planning applications and appeals.
However, Labour councillors attending the meeting said the plans had been made before any costing or consultation had taken place, according to footage by Your Harlow.
Leader of the Opposition Chris Vince (Labour, Little Parndon and Hare Street) said: “I welcome any aspiration for our town.
“I want to see this town as good a possible place as it can be which is why council officers are inundated by emails from me on a regular basis about issues within the wonderfully still red Little Pardon and Hare Street.
“But this proposal is not costed, it’s not enforceable and frankly it’s not achievable.”
Councillor Tony Durcan (Labour, Little Parndon and Hare Street) asked the cabinet for their progress on securing transport links to Epping and extending the Central Line to Harlow.
He said: “Could you please confirm what consultation has currently taken place with Transport for London over this announcement that you’ve made?”
Cllr Swords responded by saying plans would need to be finalised before any consultation took place.
He said: “You have to pull a proposal together, you don’t just go and sit down with Sadiq Kahn in the pub and say can we have an extension of the tube please?”
If implemented, the proposals would update Harlow’s infrastructure, as the current draft of the Town Plan predicts it could grow by 19,000 homes to a population of 130,000 over coming decades, according to the consultation draft.
As the town continues to grow in the medium term, the council is set to lobby for boundary changes to encompass Harlow and Gilston Garden Town.
New buildings in the town centre would also be more sustainable, including features like green walls, roof-top gardens and small wind turbines.
In addition to a tube station, connectivity to Crossrail 2 would be examined.
A masterplan for the town centre is also being produced, with a series of “quarters” being proposed. For example, a cultural quarter around the Playhouse, a retail corridor running north from the Water Gardens to Sainsbury’s and an entertainment and hospitality quarter around the Market Square.
A public consultation period will run from late September to November.
The Town Plan Panel will then consider comments made by residents and submit an updated version to the Cabinet in the new year.
Can I please ask what is the reason for building more houses when Veoila cannot empty the dustbins of the existing housing stock Harlow already has, this will just mean more and more missed waste collections and more rubbish on the streets and even more lame excuses from Veolia who have proved time and again they are not fit for purpose. Prove you have the correct current infrastructure in place before committing to this.
Building a better Harlow this is music to my ears.🎶
I’d like to know where the tracks and infrastructure will go for a new tube station. How will it impact Epping for instance.
I certainly support a programme of regeneration for Harlow. But an extension the London Underground’s Central Line to the town is pure fantasy. The Epping to Harlow tube link is as old as the hills. Back in 2010 there were rumours that a feasibility study was taking place. It wasn’t. TfL denied any interest in extending the tube from Epping. If there had been interest then, we might have expected the Central line extension be delivered by 2030. Starting from ground zero right now, make that 2040. But there’s a long journey to even get to that point. So perhaps 2045? Believe in it when the first sod of soil is turned over. As for linking with Crossrail 2, dream on, surely the council is aware the project has been abandoned by this Conservative government. The teams working on the planning has been disbanded and cast to the four winds.
The policy is based on a vision of private profit and not on raising the quality of life here in Harlow. The Conservatives crow about stopping housing bring dumped by Epping around the periphery of the town and the excessive load by around 13000 homes these developments will impose but at the same time think it's a great idea to expand and increase the load on the town, it's infrastructure and green environment by tenfold by130,000 . Seems the Torys need lessons in basic maths and modern ultra green town planning. Obviously they are blinded or their view corrupted by the numbers on the bottom line of their speculative property and road building friends.
I am sure that we all share the hope that the town centre, local shopping centres and hatches are "regenerated" but you have to say that the Tories are almost certainly set for a fall when they say for example that Harlow will have the best cycle track in the world and they will look to get a tube extension when to date they have not even contacted TFL, who by the way are bankrupt. It was said tha plans will need to be finalised before consultation takes place, well that is hardly consultation, it is call disseminating information. When asked, the Tories could not say what the final questions will be, how much the exercise would cost or who and how the responses would be considered. Had I had the chance, I would have asked how the consultation will take place and referred them to a pamphlet which the Council produced in the 1990's called a "Guide to good consultation". This document must have been filed in the darkest spot of the Council's reference library over 20 years ago, because the council has had a dismal record on resident consultation ever since. I know councillors read yourharlow perhaps one of them can tell us how consultation will take place?
Is this the same Conservative Party group that vociferously condemned the previous Labour administration for prudently commissioning a feasibility study of connecting Harlow to Epping Central line by a Metro, an idea not very different, the crucial difference is that the Conservatives want to dive straight in without consultation with relevant bodies. Hypocrisy. And they obviously haven't done their homework, already plans are afoot to double the capacity of the current Anglia mainline from two to four track and plans for a major mass transit system link from Hemel Hempstead via Harlow to Stansted. Harlow is an important country garden town and shouldn't be over loaded as a commuter belt extension of London. People don't want to spend their lives travelling an hour or two a day to work. COVID revealed that it's possible to do a great deal using modern technology to reduce journeys and to facilitate working from home for a significant proportion of the working week. People prefer this an hence the exodus from London. The future has to be greener towns and high quality homes, including Council houses with gardens or Climate change will just roll on.
No need for new rail infrastructure, just get oyster cards valid to Harlow and reduce the fares in what is currently one of the most expensive lines in the country. Much cheaper and less environmentally destructive than new rail lines.
Welcome to the London Borough of Harlow !!
Stop feeding us fantasy’s and pipe dreams, you know full well you don’t have a say over issues like this, just remember this is the same Council that can’t even have a say when the pot holes get fixed.
All great but why not start with the town first get shops up and running to many are closing down and a variety of shops. Get the market back. It's going to end up a ghost town. I'm sure they said they were going to getting the town centre back etc. It's not happened yet.
Sort the infrastructure before you before you carry on with your grand ideas.