Harlow Council agrees to oppose growth to south and west of town and protect residents in the east
Harlow Council / Sat 18th Sep 2021 at 07:01am
HARLOW Council has agreed to oppose development around the south and west of Harlow as a result of concerns many residents have about the impact developments will have on the town and its existing infrastructure and services.
The decision follows Harlow councillors debating and unanimously agreeing a motion at last night’s (16 September 2021) Full Council meeting.
The matter is debated from the 15th minute of the film beLOW.
The developments, which will be opposed are in Epping Forest and are the Sumners West, Katherines West and Latton Priory proposals. The opposition to these developments includes agreement that the council will not sell or lease any land or rights of way which it possesses that may assist in the development of Sumners West or any other developments to the south or west of Harlow.
The council will formally lodge its objection to the Epping Forest District Council Local Development Plan as part of its current consultation. Residents can find out more about the consultation at https://www.efdclocalplan.org/local-plan/consultation-on-main-modifications/
The council has also agreed to put in place a plan to reduce and limit the impact of development to the east of the town on Old Harlow and Churchgate Street residents. The council wants to safeguard the Old Harlow community from future over-development and recognise the importance of preserving the conservation area. It also wants to ensure that the residents’ concerns are used to inform future plans for the area.
Last night’s motion was proposed by Councillor Russell Perrin and seconded by Councillor Michael Hardware.
Councillor Russell Perrin, who is a councillor for the Sumners & Kingsmoor ward and cabinet portfolio holder for finance & governance, said: “In agreeing this motion the new administration at Harlow Council has listened and responded to the concerns of many residents about the impact developments to the south and west of Harlow will have on the town and its infrastructure. These are more than just words. We now have a motion, which is council policy, and to support it we have a number of actions to help us do what we can to stop development to the south and west and support our residents in the east of Harlow. As part of this we will be formally objecting to those parts of Epping Forest’s Local Development Plan that affect Harlow’s boundaries to the south and west.
“We know there is a need for new housing and this is why we have reconfirmed the council’s support for new growth to be to the north of Harlow.”
The agreed motion in full is:
“This Council recognises the huge concerns many residents have about the proposed developments around Harlow, including Sumners West, Katherines West, Latton Priory and to the east of Harlow. There are worries that these developments will overwhelm the existing town transport infrastructure, services and amenities.
In particular, these concerns surround transport links in west and south Harlow, the lack of capacity on Southern Way, Water Lane, Broadley Road and the B181 Epping Road, and the potential impact on local medical and education services.
The proposed strategic housing site to the east of Harlow, and those developments already taking place on Gilden Way and the new M11 junction, will add additional impact upon the residents of Old Harlow who understandably continue to raise objections about the proposals for further new housing.
In support of the above, this Council resolves that it:
i) Remains against growth to the southern and western boundaries of the town, preferring any growth to be to the north (Gilston Villages) and east of Harlow. ii) Will make any representations necessary to communicate that it does not support any development of Sumners West or any other developments to the south or west of Harlow. iii) Will not sell or lease any land or rights of way which it possesses that may assist in the development of Sumners West or any other developments to the south or west of Harlow. iv) Puts in place a plan to do everything possible to mitigate the impacts of the strategic housing site to the east of Harlow. To better recognise the potential impact on existing residents, particularly in Churchgate Street and the neighbouring parts of Old Harlow that will also be affected, by:
· Conducting an additional strategic assessment of the proposed housing site to gain further clarity about its feasibility and publish a specific mitigation action plan to limit the severity of the impact of such potential housing growth;
· Developing a separate agreement between this Council and Old Harlow residents to safeguard the community from future over-development, recognising the importance of preserving the Conservation Area; and
· Committing to additional consultation in line with the new community engagement strategy that will be developed by this Council, so that Old Harlow residents’ concerns can be used to inform future plans to mitigate the prospect of an east strategic housing site.
v) The Chief Executive in consultation with the Portfolio Holder for Strategic Growth submits a formal objection to Epping Forest District Council Local Development Plan to the extent that it impacts upon points i – iv and sub clauses raised in this motion.”
And yet there were conservative councillors at Wednesday's planing meeting who stated that they would vote in favour of a 15 storey block of flats in Wych elm prior to the planing meeting starting, you have to wonder why? Wych elm should never have been included in the plans for the town centre and high rise developments should not be permitted anywhere in Harlow they add nothing to the appearance of the town and in the area of Wych elm in particular will only cause harm to wildlife habitat and residential areas by the loss of ancient light.
Might Councillors who supported the mad cap scheme to drive the J7a road into Gilden Way, cutting of Churchgate Street, making life difficult for all of the new home owners living in the area and congesting the east of the town also rethink? Why still support the road bridge barrier crossing through the Stort Valley that will decimate the wildlife,vastly increase traffic? and pollution and take away a natural nature reserve enjoyed by many Harlow residents: especially when there's far better, lower cost and climate friendly alternatives? SOS
As has been said before, is this the same Conservative Council that's just proposed a dreadful plan to make Harlow a mini city with an increase of 130,000 homes, roads and possibly population increase of 520,000? And wants to ramp up over crowding, population density by in filling with high rise buildings and building on Purford Green and cramming flats onto old garage and allotment sites. Something doesn't ring true here, is this opposition to Epping developments is a honey trap and smoke screen, softening up their voters. It's not an indication of logical green or climate friendly thinking. However, politicians not known to be worried about the impact of any policies except to fool the electorate, they are too concerned about following the party line rather than thinking for themselves. Can the Conservative Council explain how and why they can push for a mini city and infilling And say all they have said against the developments from Epping? Be consistent, scrap the lot, save the planet and build ultra green.
"No representations should be made about parts of the Plan that are not proposed to be modified. Such representations will not be considered by the Inspector". These are the words of the Planning Inspector who has been looking at the EFDC Plan for some three years. The simple fact is, Harlow Council have to date been a full participant in the Plan to create The Harlow and Gilston Garden Town which includes the developments to the south and west of the town. The Tory led Council are creating a smoke screen to deceive voters who participated in the local elections last May. Only the Harlow Alliance Party objected when it really mattered, back in 2020 when the public hearings took place at the Civic Offices in Epping, held by the Planning Inspector. The Conservatives were no-where to be seen when it really mattered. Not to late to sign our petition against these developments, which can be found at https://you.38degrees.org.uk/petitions/stop-building-on-harlow-s-green-belt
Should have said 2019 not 2020 in my last post.