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Labour councillor raises concerns over funding for future transport projects

News / Mon 8th Aug 2022 am31 08:44am

A SENIOR Labour councillor has expressed his concerns over the funding of transport across the town as part of future projects.

Councillor Tony Edwards said: “This week I attended a briefing by Essex Highways on the planned road link between Gilston and the Town Centre which includes bus lanes, cycle paths and synchronised traffic signalling and will form part of the Sustainable Transport Network. There is also the possibility of  Harlow being connected to a Hertfordshire rapid transport link enabling easy access from Harlow to St Albans. 

The County Council will be starting work on this early next year with completion by 2025. During this time work will also be undertaken on building a new Town Centre Bus Station/Town Centre Transport Hub. The intention being in that in future 60% of journeys in the new Garden Town will be “sustainable” (Walk, Cycle. Bus) as will 50% of journeys within Harlow. This is known as a “Modal Shift” and is of course a laudable aim.  

However it became clear in the discussions that whilst there is capital funding to make the road alterations, there is as yet no clear plan as to how the required bus services will be revenue funded. Just vague talk about future, yet to be agreed, section 106 payments from developers.  

The Conservative County Council Cabinet Portfolio Holder could give no assurances as to future County Council revenue funding, just an encouragement to “use the buses or potentially lose them”. (Perhaps one shouldn’t have been surprised given that Essex recently failed in their bid to secure BSIP funding for buses from the Government)  

However, if the town is not to be clogged with traffic, there will be a definite need for a properly funded transport strategy. 

Currently for those who live in London, Adult single bus fares are £1.65. In Harlow they are £2.70 and £3.40 return. (And in London adults can travel on a bus for an hour for £1.65, whilst the fare from Harlow to Epping is £6.00) 

In Harlow we have a history of Bus Lanes being built, frequent and reliable buses being promised and then services subsequently being  reduced or withdrawn due to lack of revenue funding.

The population of Harlow and its immediately surrounding area is to increase from approximately 85,000 to 145,000 over the next twenty years. It will need  a properly integrated funded and affordable transport system fit for the 21st Century!. And  arguably the time to start planning and securing the revenue funding is now, not once the bus lanes are built with the potential risk of developers then being able to say the section 106 payments required of them are “no longer viable”. 

As a Labour Group we have consistently pushed for this issue to be properly addressed. 

Hopefully, given that the bus lanes are now about to be built and putting to one side the usual political knock about, Harlow Conservative Councillors will now outline both their policies and what actions they will be taking as an administration to enable residents to easily and affordably get about Harlow and the surrounding area. 

Yes, we have the HGGT Transport Strategy. What we do not have as yet is the revenue funding. 

Cllr Tony Edwards  

https://www.harlow.gov.uk/sites/default/files/documents/HEBGT5%20-%20Harlow%20and%20Gilston%20Garden%20Town%20Transport%20Strategy%20.pdf

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5 Comments for Labour councillor raises concerns over funding for future transport projects:

Theman
2022-08-08 10:30:53

To reduce the traffic congestion in Harlow from the proposed new development, might I suggest we simply blow up the bridge over the river Stort. Simples

Nostradamus
2022-08-08 11:12:48

The solution to transport is NOT to increase the capacity of the roads or waste money building more roads. More roads means more traffic. The solution is to build free park and low cost ride N, S, E, and West at the perimeters of the town. The low cost rides, light trams or hydrogen buses and more cycling, walking and disabled weatherproof buggies routes can then be paid for buy the millions saved by not building roads and bus lanes in the town. Bus lanes and cycling routes can be created by making over half the width of existing roads and making the other half one way for cars in a one way system. Suggest that Essex Council stops wasting money on "solutions" here that over last 30 years have repeated the same strategy and never succeeded at the cost of around £800 million. Go look at other cities where transport works. The £800 million could have been better spent on extending Edinburgh Way East to create a Southern by pass. Harlow was built and carefully designed to have the M11 on the West, some numpty put it on the East. That's how bad Essex are at planning, unfortunately they and Government haven't got any smarter. It's still not too late to stop the Eastern Crossing, not a bridge but a dam of a raised road across the Stort Valley, an environmental disaster about to happen that will not only funnel traffic into the East side of town, creating more pollution and congestion but also increase the risks of flooding and sewage discharges into Harlow homes.

paul piercy
2022-08-09 13:35:52

we need buses for Edinburgh Way and river way so people can get the jobs and the vacancies there. all the shops up there as well the only way you can get there is by car something must be done about it soon

Nicholas Taylor
2022-08-09 16:02:17

The buses cost to much, they are unreliable, routes have been cut or indeed as Paul Percy points out are non existent and yet those involved with developments in and around Harlow seem to think that they can convince us that things will be different in the future. Harlow Council are about to be asked to remove the obligation to provide dozens of parking spaces in the Town Centre in respect of one of the huge flat blocks to be built near the old cinema. It is just like those who got around on a horse and cart in the 19th century, "cars will never be popular". The fact is, car manufacturers are spending billions on developing new cars. Just across the border meanwhile at Epping a new multi storey car park is about to be built, with 50 car charging points. This town needs a couple of Park and Ride schemes with numerous charging points, to reduce the number of cars with visitors coming in to and going out of the town and a cheap, regular bus services routed to all the main places from these car parks.

Kaz
2022-08-09 17:52:29

Ed way needs a bus service that is not every 2 hours and not running at stupid times I would love to use it but it should leave Tesco at 15.02.Its always early and that's no good for people that finish at 3pm.Every time I've passed it parked up in a lay buy it's empty.Such a waste.

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