Harlow Tories point finger at Labour on why warehouses are so close to houses in Katherines
General / Sat 27th Nov 2021 at 10:54am
THE HARLOW Conservatives believe an application for warehouses to be moved closer to houses in Katherines failed to go before the planning committee.
There has been several news items (both locally and nationally) on how the warehouses have “blighted the lives ” if residents in the Byngham area of Harlow.
In a press release issued by the Tories titled: Exposed: How warehouses were allowed to be built so close to back gardens in Bynghams.
They chart how this is alleged to have happened.
A Harlow Conservative spokesperson said: “Many residents have been left bemused as to how the ICON warehouse development at the back of Katherines was ever allowed to be built so close to residents’ back gardens.
“It has caused untold stress for those residents who have seen the value of their homes plummet with the new warehouse blocking light into their gardens and destroying their view.
How was it ever allowed to happen?
‘At first glance, it appeared the development took place completely in line with what was approved at the Council’s Development Management Committee meeting which granted outline consent in 2017.
However, upon closer inspection, the warehouses had been built closer to the back gardens than was agreed in that planning meeting, but in accordance to drawings at the detailed planning consent in 2021.
It has come to light that there was a further application to change the plans originally approved at the 2017 meeting. A change that allowed the warehouse to be built just metres from the homes.
“That application was approved at the flick of the pen of then Labour Chair of the Development Management Committee, Phil Waite. Mr Waite did not take the decision to the Committee for consent, but chose to allow the application to be approved and the development to be moved himself.
“The reason for doing so is not clear. But what is clear is that the decision to move the boundary without taking it back to Committee has devastated the lives of Bynghams residents”.
We invited Harlow Labour to respond.
Harlow Labour leader, Cllr Chris Vince said: “Having spoken to some of the residents of Bynghams it is clear that this development is causing a blight to existing homes and there needs to be a full investigation.
“However, at best it is poor form of the Harlow Conservatives to play party politics on this when the Conservative members of the development management committee also voted in favour of it.
“The only person at the meeting who raised any stipulations was the chair”.
Am interested in the comment from the then Chair? As I’m sure the residents will be also so is this true Labour?
As it seems none of the residents and none of the Councillors wanted this outcome then it does indicate the planning system is not fit for purpose and broken in favour of persistent developers who clearly weren't able to factor in the effects of their plans on residents. Sounds a bit like Grenfel and other builds, everyone knew what was wrong yet continued to build regardless. Where, whatever loopholes or faults or regulations, has honour, the sense of "doing right " by people gone? The Council, whatever colour failed, this case needs to be settled and the building removed, no amount of wringing of hands or regrets will put it right. The Council may have failed but so have the developers. Judicial review seems an option.
The Labour Council leader cannot take responsibility for the decisions on his watch but plays politics by blaming the Tories for bringing the issue to the fore. The Labour Council had the opportunity to build houses which so desperately needed in the town but chose to allow the developers to erect monstrosities. The warehouse in question will be a 24/7 usage if Amazon are moving in what kind of life will the residents close to the development have.
We have been badly let down by the Council. It beggars belief that one individual can sign off a change that fundamentally impacts the environment of the existing residents without going back to the Planning Committee for approval. What I cannot understand is how it is possible to construct a building so high and so close to a residential property, surely there are planning regulations that protect adjacent properties against such inappropriate design unsuited for the location. If this construction breaches the planning rules, a possible solution could be the reduction of its overall length, so that the building does not back onto the residential properties. Although I appreciate the need to attract new business into Harlow it should not be at the detriment of the existing local residents. This cavalier action shows a total disregard to the duty of care to the residents.