Harlow Green Party issue statement over planning approval for River Stort crossing

News / Mon 28th Feb 2022 am28 10:25am

THE Harlow Green Party were deeply saddened on Wednesday 23rd February when Harlow Councillors voted through the “unpopular and controversial” River Stort crossing proposal.

A spokesperson said: “We heard, first hand, compelling arguments against the two projects and how they were disregarded when considering the proposal’s merit for the people of Harlow. On the 11th July 2019, Harlow Council declared a climate emergency and made pledges to hit net zero by 2040.

“We were wholeheartedly unconvinced by the developer’s assurances that constructing the 7.5 metre (24 ft), Eastern flyover will enable Harlow to fulfil this pledge. Developers have claimed that this project will cut vehicle use by 50%, however creating new roads only creates more demand to drive.

This will cause further congestion throughout Harlow, more damage to our already crumbling roads, extra noise, pollution and CO2 emissions from the increased vehicle usage.

“Whilst we agree that there is a significant need to increase housing for the town, we simply do not believe these homes will be for the Harlow residents who really, desperately need them. The new raised, multi-lane highway is deemed necessary to link the proposed 10,000 new homes in the Gilston villages to enable these residents to use Harlow services, despite the planned homes having not yet even having planning permission and despite the destruction of the beautiful, legally protected, green belt.

“The families living in these homes will get to benefit from all the services that Harlow has to offer, yet will be paying their council tax to Eastern Hertfordshire Council, something Councillor James Leppard, Portfolio Holder for Finance, who voted the project through, might want to explain.

“This project brings no real benefit to the residents of Harlow, will likely see Harlow Council fail to hit its target of net zero by 2040 whilst simultaneously devastating the complex ecosystem around the River Stort.

“The area under threat by the Eastern crossing is close to the hearts of many of Harlow’s residents, who grew up playing in the area and have fond memories of taking walks along it’s tow paths with their families.

“We have received multiple messages of support from Harlow residents who are saddened to see this truly beautiful part of our town at risk from money-orientated developers. Hundreds of residents had published their objections, over 6000 people signed a petition to halt this project despite public consultation being woefully inadequate.

“The Conservative-led Council did not read the mood of the town and have grossly underestimated Harlow’s desire to effectively address the climate emergency.

“We were particularly disappointed with our elected representative, Portfolio Holder for Environment, Councillor Nicky Purse, who personally voted through this project.

We would also like to express our disappointment with Harlow MP, Robert Halfon, who despite praising protestors and touring the River Stort by boat with us in the summer of last year to see first-hand the area that will be devastated by this proposal, was ineffective with his call in the House of Commons, telling the developers to ‘go back to the drawing board’.

“We would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who has supported the campaign to stop the crossings and to ‘Save our Stort’.

The Friends of Latton Island demonstrated real grass roots leadership in addressing climate change at this very local level.

“The result was not the one we wanted but the fight for climate justice will continue”.

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10 Comments for Harlow Green Party issue statement over planning approval for River Stort crossing:

2022-02-28 11:26:52

Hello Harlow Greens, an important point, the Eastern Crossing was described as a "flyover" by various people and Cllrs. IT IS NOT a flyover! The original proposal was for a bridge to span the Valley, apart from adopting an alternative route, this would have had very little impact on the ecology because it could have been built not to put any structure in the Valley, a bridge is a second best option and favoured by the Environment Agency. It would however increase traffic into a congested Edinburgh Way and noise levels. Hggt then decided to go to the very worst option short of a dam: a vast cutting into the side of the valley and a raised road along through and across the bottom of the Valley; bisecting and cutting the flood plain, changing the ecology of the whole Valley and destroying habitat and floodplain at both the Eastern Crossing and the Central Crossing. The effects of the constructions of which will reduce biodiversity and increase flood risk to Harlow homes and in the with other consequences, will likely increase the already frequent discharges of raw sewage. There's other options but hggt pfp and Harlow Council seem blind to them and unwilling to conduct the research and development to explore these options. Re The concern about sewage and flooding: the local Councils seem unwilling to Commission engineers to do the maths, despite the fact that Valley and the Thames trunk sewer is already overloaded by sewage plus surface water from Harlow and fields: (evidence being flooding events last year) there seems a blind spot and unwillingness to consider what will happen when all of the sewage from 10000 homes, and surface water from the hggt villages, (especially when there are successive frequent heavy rainstorms ) is sent into the Valley and into the already overloaded sewer. The measures and structures at the Eastern Crossing raised road will add to such problems. QED

Jamie Gilbert
2022-02-28 13:08:18

Hi Edward, agree with the points you have made! We as a party refuse to call it a bridge as that downplays the severity of this project! This 2.5 year construction will devastate our local ecosystem! We will continue to oppose the crossing and support other opposition campaigns throughout Harlow.

Kim Oconnor
2022-02-28 13:08:30

Well said Edward. There's good reason s why they have never built on theses lands. And Edward has said it well.

Kim Oconnor
2022-02-28 13:20:22

Just to add, I don't like to call them villages, there not villages, there unaffordable housing estates. This project will swamp our true villages, ie, churchgate Street. This hole project will ruin this town, and environment. We lost this fight, because they all followed suit like little shep, with no thought of public opinion and along side, 6000 signatures. There posts since ending of this, have been disrespectful to Harlow people, ie, we exspess delight. And choosing pictures of country side. It was a sad day for many many Harlow people, who simply just want to save this beautiful river, who have had enough of this greed and profit, for there own benefit s. This destruction is not for Harlow people it's for profit. Harlow council never wanted to speak to us from the beginning of this.

Nicholas Taylor
2022-02-28 13:48:40

Lets not forget, the River Stort central crossing is just a small part of the proposed sustainable rapid transport corridor North /South being foisted on our town to serve the residents of the new homes proposed on Harlow s borders. From Harlow Town railway station, the route will head North alongside 5th Avenue into the town centre from where it exits the Haydens Road/ 3rd Avenue roundabout, heading North again over the fields to where it crosses Tendering Road between Barn Mead and Bushey Croft, then to the rear of Five Acres, where it crosses Southern Way, through a narrow gap very close to Commonside School and then by the side of Fernhill Lane, presumably taking up part of the allotment site, and finally to the development at Latton Priory. In the meantime the only road into Latton Priory will be from Rye Hill Road, a new junction will undoubtable be needed where it meets Paringdon Road, the green area adjacent to it must surely be earmarked for a bigger/ better road junction. So much for protecting our environment!

Lewis Brand
2022-02-28 15:07:50

The eastern crossing is not a sustainable transport corridor (stc) there are already existing rights of way for pedestrian and cycle traffic From glisten and Pye corner to temple fields and the rear of Harlow train station only very slight remedial works would need to be done for a truly sustainable transport system. The eastern crossing does not have a bus lane and is planned to be an East Wick bypass. Not to mention this will bring more traffic close to Mark Hall school & on to the new junction M11 7A. This project is NOT for Harlow People!

Jamie Henderson
2022-02-28 17:52:00

It is pretty obvious that by the time they start actually building houses under HGGT (several years hence) the boundaries will be changed (just as happened with Church Langley and Newhall when Harlow's boundaries to the East were extended from the Old London Road to the M11). Already the Boundaries Commission has announced an increase to the size of the Harlow Parliamentary constituency. The same will happen with local government. Previously the area that is now Church Langley and Newhall, when designated for development was within Epping Forest District Council. The whole of HGGT will logically fall under a single administrative district, which could be an expanded Harlow (Harlow-Gilston Garden Town) or part of a newly created larger unitary district. The precedents of Church Langley and Newhall are clear. The new HGGT districts will become part of a single town community as has happened with the earlier developments of Katherines, Sumners, Church Langley, Newhall and soon to be, Gilden Way. I don't see this as being an issue.

Terry Blackburn
2022-03-01 13:06:32

Harlow council has proved throughout the years that it's oblivious to traffic management whatsoever. The state of the roads is a disgrace, they have totally messed up traffic flow with bus lanes despite the incredible drop in bus services. The once easy town to navigate has turned into a nightmare with roundabouts being reduced to one lane deliberately slowing up traffic flow, with Mini roundabouts plonked in Willy nilly. They've lost the plot, this new bypass and major trunk road has too many junctions to improve anything. What a joke.

Marilyn Wickstead
2022-03-02 18:17:09

Absolutely disgusted with Harlow Council. In total agreement with above knowledgeable green friends.

2022-03-03 11:43:07

Essex CC and the Government transport plan for Harlow and the region are not sustainable: this would be clear to 4 year old but as reported in the Guardian and other news outlets these plans were drawn up by a faulty computer modelling program. Grant Shapps, Cllr Bentley and the Department of Transports "accelerated roads" team of numpty petrol heads simply failed. A case of "computer says No" kind of thinking only here it was saying yes to schemes that should never happen. Factors like pollution, climate change, new technologies and the now even more urgent need to drop fossil fuel dependency (Liss Truss today's news conference Re Ukraine) simply weren't factored in. There's clear a straight forward other options but hggt's King's new clothes, as in the Hans Anderson tales, have blinded our Tory Cllrs in the 5 Councils and government. That's another reason they can't see the enormous blots on the landscape these crossings will be nor can they smell the sewage that such structures will cause to be discharged into the Valley and Harlow.

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