Residents hit back at “stealth plans” for Greater Harlow

News / Tue 18th Jan 2022 am31 08:10am

RESIDENTS of Hunsdon, Eastwick and Gilston have hit back at plans by Harlow Council to effectively take over the area.

Members of the Hunsdon, Eastwick and Gilston Neighbourhood Plan Group (NPG) responded to the recent public consultation on the Harlow Town Plan, which set out a proposed vision for the town ahead of its centenary in 2047.

The Group welcomed the consultation and praised the bold vision of the plan but warned against risks of underdelivery, especially given past failures in Harlow on transport infrastructure and the management of green spaces.

Residents especially took issue with Harlow Council’s ambition to play a key role in the governance of the planned Gilston garden villages, given the practical and political separation between Eastwick and Gilston in East Herts and Harlow in Essex.

Anthony Bickmore, chair of the NPG, said: “The Harlow Town Plan is an ambitious and courageous plan for the future of the town and whole area, which we commend if there are real provisions to actually deliver on its ideas.

“But the implication that Harlow should become the Local Authority for Gilston through an administrative boundary change overrides the wishes of existing residents and is something we can’t support.”

He added: “It is also unnecessary. The important point is that there is already a framework for co-operation, why throw all that away?

“Rather than plotting to create a “Greater Harlow” in a land-grab, we’d urge the council to focus instead on resolving the many issues in the plan around the delivery of sustainable transport infrastructure, delivering biodiversity goals and management of green spaces.”

Made up of local people from the Hunsdon, Eastwick and Gilston Area, the NPG was set up in 2016 to reflect the reviews of residents as East Herts sought to set out its District Plan for the area.

After several rounds of consultation, the NPG’s own Gilston Area Neighbourhood Plan passed an independent examination in February 2021.

It was endorsed at referendum in May 2021 with 97.8% of the vote on a high 37.20% turnout.

The Plan went on to win awards for Plan-Making and cross-category Editor’s prize at the Planning Awards 2021, and the Excellence in Landscape Planning and Assessment Award at the Landscape Institute Awards 2021.

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3 Comments for Residents hit back at “stealth plans” for Greater Harlow:

Kim Oconnor
2022-01-18 09:21:13

We are not at all interested in how many awards theses plans have made. Local people feel theses plans are a step to far , it's going to have a devastating effect on our environment and wildlife. Lands ripped up in abundance, a 4 lane road going across our river stort. For what, so all theses unaffordable housing estates can join up. And you should not move any boundary s . Theses plans are a greed and profit thing pure and simple. With out a thought to local people, environment or wildlife. If this goes a head you have lost my vote and I hope others will follow. Whilst I understand it was the other party's idea of a better town, I believe if you found your heart you could still stop this. SAVE OUR STORT.

Nicholas Taylor
2022-01-18 10:31:05

The NPG Group referred to here are of course happy, because there will be as little as possible effect on their communities. As I understand it, the only roads leading in and out of the new development will be to the south onto the A414. I think it would be a very different story if you could get direct access into Hunsdon for example. The framework for co-operation mentioned did not include consultation with residents in the same way and at the same time across the whole of the Harlow and Gilston Garden town area, public services services across the whole area will be provided by three District Councils and two County Councils and of course all these new residents will not be paying a penny in Council tax to Harlow Council despite for instance using The Playhouse, Pets Corner and all the other discretionary services provided by Harlow Council. The Group is rightly concerned about the infrastructure needed, so are we in Harlow. It is our River Stort that will be destroyed, our roads that will get even more congested and damaged and us suffering from more noise and air pollution. I feel sure it will be lovely living in one of the half million pound houses in one of the new villages but for tens of thousands of us already living here it will certainly not be.

2022-01-18 21:23:05

The Gilston and Hunsdon Neighbourhood Plan, supposedly from the residents was apparently heavily influenced by the developers. The referendum was amongst a very small population especially when set against the population of the town and local regions that would be damaged by the hggt development and proposed new crossings and roads. In short Harlow gets dumped on including additional flooding, sewage discharges and congestion. East Herts and all Gilston estate residents get the advantages and the Stort River Valley gets trashed

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