Progress made in developing infrastructure as part of Harlow and Gilston Garden Town project
General / Mon 8th Nov 2021 at 09:32am
THIS may not sound like the funkiest item on a council meeting agenda but it may well be laying the foundations for more money to come into the town.
The portfolio holders for strategic growth, cllr Mike Hardware made the presentation at cabinet on Thursday night.
The Memorandum of Understanding relating to The Harlow & Gilston Garden Town Rolling Infrastructure Fund and agrees its submission to Homes England by the end of November 2021 as required of the Harlow and Gilston Garden Town Authority partners and specifically Hertfordshire County Council (as accountable body for the Housing Investment Grant funding to which the Memorandum of Understanding relates).
The cabinet agreed: To set up and operate the Rolling Infrastructure Fund ‘in principle’ subject to more detailed work and approval of the appropriate governance and operational arrangements for its management.
To govern the Rolling Infrastructure Fund initially in accordance with the approved Memorandum of Understanding as required by Homes England as a condition of the Housing Investment Grant funding and subsequently in accordance with any further governance arrangements that may be effected.
Delegated authority is provided to the Director of Strategic Growth and Regeneration in consultation with the Portfolio Holder for Strategic Growth to agree any minor amendments to the Memorandum of Understanding that arise from the decision making structures of the other four HGGT partners.”
Film is below.
How exactly will Harlow residents benefit from this arrangement? Is this part of the plan to overload the town with 130000 homes on it's boarders so that Epping and East Herts get all the revenue and government grants and Harlow gets nothing beneficial. So far it looks like Hertfordshire gets the benefits and Harlow gets all the pain, traffic, flooding, pollution and congestion as well as an unwanted raised road across the River Stort Valley from Pye Corner to Edinburgh Way that will destroy our tranquil and natural nature reserve. Also, how is it that the council is connected to property consultants that are promoting such developments whilst boasting they are very successful at getting greenbelt land turned into building lots? With events in Parliament this week with the Conservative Government attempting changing the rules on how MPs are held to account for unethical conduct it's clear that the Conservatives cannot be trusted on such matters. SOS. In respect to Harlow, I don't think most of us residents want to live in a mini city with lots of high rise buildings, tiny flats , through traffic to the Motorway, high rental and property prices and a London commuting population. Let's have a referendum because it seems neither of the major parties have been elected on such a ticket, each decided they know best once in office. The Conservatives are in debt to rich property developers who fund the Party and Labour lost their way not thinking green whilst being fooled into adopting a development plan that provides luxury homes for rich people escaping London in East Herts hggt on the mistaken premise that this would somehow benefit Harlow. I'd urge the 5000 plus people who signed the petition to Save Our Stort to lobby the Council and join the Candlelit Vigil at the crucial Harlow Planning Meeting next week on 17th November.
Save Our Stort
Leave our river a lone. It's not your river, it's our river. Don't destroy it because you can, through greed and profit.
This is a misleading headline NO PROGRESS has been made In "developing Infrastructure" nothing has yet been delivered. The article is about Cllr Mike Hardware making a presentation about The Memorandum of Understanding relating to The Harlow & Gilston Garden Town Rolling Infrastructure Fund, the mechanisms that will manage the fund. The cabinet agreed: To set up and operate the Rolling Infrastructure Fund ‘in principle’ subject to more detailed work and approval". Of far more interest is at 4mins.59sec of the film of the meeting where cllr Hardware is asked what benefits HGGT will bring to the existing residents of Harlow. Although Benefits are claimed he is unable to give any specifics as "nothing is finalised" and is "commercially sensitive". The officers planning application reports to be heard on 17th November recommends approval be Granted for the Central and Eastern Stort Crossings. Section 14 of the officer’s report(s) presents the "Planning Balance and Conclusion" the cost benefit analysis if you like. Paragraph 14.11 states that "the proposal constitutes inappropriate development within the Green Belt " and that "The harm to the Green Belt and the other harms identified above must be given substantial weight". These harms are balanced and outweighed by the perceived benefits that the HGGT Villages 1-6 developments will bring "These benefits collectively give rise to the very special circumstances that clearly outweigh the Green Belt harm identified from the Central Stort Crossing proposal and any other harm". But there is no list of guaranteed benefits A huge decision is expected to be made by Harlow Planning committee to approve inappropriate development in the Green Belt based on perceived benefits Cllr Hardware is unable to tell us about. Harlow residents expected to believe the unknown future benefits that are not identified in the planning officers reports will Outweigh the harms that will result and have been identified. The planning report states "The outline Villages 1-6 application will include an appropriate section 106 legal agreement delivering a wide range of affordable housing and sustainable transport initiatives along with a range of regeneration and transformative benefits." These are unknown future benefits which it seems no-one can be specific about. FULL DETAIL l is needed if the benefits are to be declared as being so good that they outweigh destruction of the Greenbelt. Not knowing fully what a Section 106 agreement means I Googled the subject and the entry at the top of the list was a consultancy promoting help for developers in reducing their section 106 costs and how to get their 106 agreements declared unviable. The planning committee needs to consider vary carefully the decision they make in approving Stort crossings that will destroy Wildlife habitats and reduce Green Belt land enjoyed by the existing residents of Harlow based on the unquantified perceived benefits that will possibly accrue mainly to the future residents of HGGT 1-6 Villages.
The two responses here make very good points. There simply are no benefits to Harlow and it's residents from any of the developments around Harlow, unless of course you own some of the land, you are a house builder or on the Board of the HGGT as of course we know that Cllr Hardware and other Councillors are. Essex CC and Harlow DC get none of the Council tax paid by the new residents, Harlow DC have admitted that they can only influence what is built around Harlow, there are no council homes being built and as yet no indication that residents waiting on Harlow Council's housing waiting list will have access to homes built by Housing Associations. Shoppers from these new villages may well go to Brookfield Farm with it's free plentiful parking or those to the South going to Epping where the Council are going to build a car park with over 300 spaces and 50 electric charging points. These Plans and for the dozens of flat blocks in Harlow Town Centre are nothing but a charter for property developers who see our green spaces ripe for development. Until residents start to back Parties that oppose these developments, I am afraid that one day they will realise just what this town has lost forever.