Save Our Stort: MP Robert Halfon tables motion in House of Commons
News / Tue 14th Sep 2021 at 08:16am
HARLOW’S MP, Robert Halfon, has tabled a second motion in Parliament on the Stort Crossing. Mr Halfon has made clear his view on the proposals, saying that the developers should “go back to the drawing board”.
He also noted that the proposals were passed by the former Labour Council in their 2020 Local Plan, which the then Conservative opposition voted against.
The motion reads:
That this House understands concerns that the Stort crossing proposals will have on the beautiful environment of the Stort Valley in Harlow constituency; further understands the threat that those proposals pose to local wildlife and ecosystems; recognises the concerns on those proposals raised by hundreds of local residents; further recognises that the plans for that problematic development have been inherited from the previous Labour Council who agreed to the proposals in the 2020 Local Plan; notes that Harlow Conservative Councillors voted against the 2020 Local Plan; further notes the upcoming Planning Committee meetings of both East Herts Council and Harlow District Council at which this planning application will be considered; and calls on the Government to put pressure onto the developers to reassess those plans and go back to the drawing board.
Commenting on the proposals, Mr Halfon said: “I recently set out my increasing concerns about the impact of these proposals on the beautiful environment of our Stort Valley and the threat to our nature and environment.
“As I have said previously, this problem was inherited from the previous Labour Council who agreed to these proposals in the Local Plan in 2020. The Conservatives voted against that Local Plan.
“My belief is that Labour made a mistake and that the developer should go back to the drawing board.
“I thank every resident who has written to me to raise their concerns and to those who have campaigned so passionately on this issue. I will continue to make representations to the relevant Councillors and local authorities – as I have already done.”
Well said Robert, the planning system has been found wanting, as shown by the monster warehouse build at Kathryns estate: no one, not even the planning Committee wanted what was approved yet approved by planning it was. Similarly the.Climate Change Committee Report in June and the IPCC CODE RED Report in August, both exposed current planning legislation as not fit and failing to protect the environment and us all from coming and devastating effects of Climate Change. Disrespect the Climate and the natural environment upon which we all depend and nature, the planet will bite back hard.The uk has been fortuitously lucky this year so far but one heat cap creating temperatures like 45 to 55 deg C, as in temperate Canada and a dry summer will see far worse fires than ever followed by intense rainfall and more frequent flooding. There's hundreds of house building and road building projects going on now around the country that urgently need reappraisal in the light of the Climate change reality, existing and new homes need to highly insulated and built green, our transport system developed by cutting non green roads and building a hydrogen based transport system and uk economy. We might then just survive without half of Essex and East Anglia for instance being lost under rising sea levels. (See Essex County Climate Change Commission report about the threat)
The Robert Halfon early day motion is arguably misrepresentation of the facts. Yes the Conservatives voted against the local plan. They did so because they were against development to the south and west of Harlow. However the Conservatives have always voted in favour of the development to the North of the town as is spelt out in the Draft Harlow Town Plan - indeed they even backed a resolution for the possible compulsory purchase of land to enable the second Stort river crossing. Having visited the site I have requested that all Harlow Councillors are now fully briefed on the impact of the second river crossing and have the opportunity to fully explore any potential alternatives before the developers formally present their proposals to Development Management Committee for approval, as at that point the DMC can either only pass or reject the developers proposals on strict planning grounds they cannot explore alternatives. In conclusion Mr Halfon, this matter is too important for deceptive petty party political point scoring we now need a serious and informed debate on the way forward. In the meantime the developers do need to go back to the drawing board.
I am very grateful for the increasing support to protect our greenbelt and cherished Stort Valley.. The recent ITV news item can be seen here https://www.itv.com/news/anglia/2021-09-12/harlow-residents-protest-against-plans-for-new-crossing-over-river-stort