Letter to Editor: Sumners councillor: “This is why Harlow Tories have been unanimously against any form of development to the south and west of Harlow”

Politics / Mon 9th Jan 2023 at 10:31am

FIRSTLY, I would like to thank Karen James for her excellent letter, which to be fair, covers many of the issues raised during the community Q and A meeting last Thursday held on zoom by Epping Forest DC to consult on the Latton Priory development proposals. 

I must record my disappointment that although EFDC and the various developers for this site and West Sumners site have had at least ELEVEN years to get their act together they are still unable to answer the basic simple questions regarding the needed infrastructure and even more importantly how they plan to deal with the congestion that either of these developments would cause along Southern Way, Commonside Road, Parringdon Road and Water Lane (The Southern Way Corridor)

When the West Sumners developers started consulting with residents in Sumners in 2012, as ward councillor I raised the issue of them failing to plan infrastructure from phase 1 of their plans including the increase in traffic movements along the SWC and for that matter the B181 Epping Road.

At that time, the proposal was for 2000 homes which could produce up to 4000 traffic movements twice a day into the SWC which is already heavily congested by commuters as well as being a cut through for HGV’s heading to the Nazeing nurseries.

The only suggestion we had from them was to duel Southern Way a suggestion that was withdrawn quickly when they realised that it would most probably involve demolition of houses, and a couple of schools losing land or buildings as well.

Then Latton Priory proposals were raised in about 2014 adding to the problems especially in the SWC still no sensible answers about plans to ease the inevitable gridlock that an additional 3000 traffic movements would have.

Last Thursday we learned that the developers and EFDC are proposing that the main access road through the Latton Priory development will be from Rye Hill Road to London Road BUT with only a left-hand exit onto London Road and no left hand turn onto Rye Hill Road (Which would be closed to through traffic) forcing ALL traffic movements onto Parringdon Road and the SWC.

This is why Harlow Conservatives have been unanimously against any form of development to the south and west of Harlow and only support development to the North of the town where junction 7a and all the other infrastructure additions and improvements provide the facilities needed.

Why EFDC have decided to place two huge developments on Harlow’s border has been a question I have been asking for years especially as there is land that would be suitable in Debden, Chigwell and Buckhurst Hill as well as other parts of their district. 

They claim it’s all part of the garden town strategy but these sites were suggested long before the garden town plans which shows how lazy EFDC are just using them as a bolt on saving them the bother of having to do anything to take the HGGT project forward apart from placing their name on the paperwork and taking credit for the hard work of the other councils, that and they will sweep up the Council Tax and other payments while expecting Harlow tax payers to foot most of the bills for them. 

As my party has said on many occasions, including reversing Labours council policy supporting developments to the South and West, the only sensible and reasonable place to put any large developments is to the north. 

Kind regards

Councillor Nick Churchill

Sumners and Kingsmoor ward

Harlow District Council

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9 Comments for Letter to Editor: Sumners councillor: “This is why Harlow Tories have been unanimously against any form of development to the south and west of Harlow”:

2023-01-09 10:45:30

Oh good, the conservatives have got into this issue…just in time. Just wait until they hear about some of the other EFDC developments next to Harlow, that have also been around for years. Wonder what they’ll do to combat them, once they’ve already been approved. While the conservatives have been against the proposals I’ve seen absolutely nothing done. It was the same the local development plan

Nicholas Taylor
2023-01-09 11:27:20

More smoke and mirrors from a Tory Councillor, desperate to hang on to his seat in the Council. Councillor Churchill fails to say that his Party failed to make any written objections to the draft EFDC Plan when it was first published back in 2019 or follow this up by attending the public examination hearings held by the Planning Inspector. This was the only time that any objections actually meant anything, those being made now are about 4 years to late. Did his Party do anything to inform residents of plans to build thousands of homes adjacent to Katherines, of course not. Did they hold any public meetings, of course not. Only the Harlow Alliance Party have done all these things. Lets not forget it is his Conservative mates at EFDC who hold in their hands what happens to the Green Belt around Harlow .

John Galajsza
2023-01-09 18:58:26

Well said councillor Nick Churchill I was on the same supposedly Latton Priory Q&A session when Cllr Nigel Richardson chairman and the self serving EFDC planners and developers failed to answer any direct questions on the benefits to Harlow of the Latton Priory development The panel were noticeably uncomfortable and the reason none of them could come up with one benefit for Harlow is simply because there are none…Zero Epping forest District Council, the planners & Developers and land owners are the only beneficiaries of Latton priory project The Latton Priory build to boundary is yards from from the outskirts of Harlow While EFDC will clearly benefit and be vastly enriched by all the taxes and rentals To the detriment of the residents of Ryehill road and Harlow community who will pick up the bill If at all The boundary of this project should begin South of Ryehill road there are hectares of open farm land all the way to Epping but that would mean a development on Nigel Richardson and Efdc door step ..? They wouldn’t like that would they? Harlow please get behind this campaign No to Latton priory we want to preserve our green belt.

John Galajsza
2023-01-09 19:07:18

Well said councillor Nick Churchill If at all The boundary of the Latton priory project should begin South of Ryehill road there are hectares of open farm land all the way to Epping but that would mean a development on Nigel Richardson and Efdc door step ..? They wouldn’t like that would they? Harlow it’s not too late please please get behind this campaign No to Latton priory we want to preserve our green belt.

Nicholas Taylor
2023-01-09 23:08:57

Lostinthmiddle, as I have said in my article elsewhere, the Conservative comments are about 4 years to late. They know of all the other plans for thousands of homes around Harlow, they were published by EFDC as long ago as 2018. You raise the issue of the Harlow Local Plan, well they keep crying crocodile tears about that as well. They made no submission to the Planning Inspector before the public examination hearings took place, indeed the only Conservative Councillor who came along to watch the proceedings was Cllr David Carter. The Harlow Alliance did both and 'argued' the case that a number of the towns green spaces should not be included in the Plan. I am pleased to say that the Planning Inspector agreed with us on all but one area, but added another, telling the Council that they had to remove these from their Plan. Thus fields such as those behind Deer Park, Radburn Close and St Andrews Meadow were saved from development. In the meantime we helped residents seek what is know as a Community Right to Bid (CRB), where if the Council ever tried to sell parcels of land they would first have to offer them to the Community. Since then we have helped other residents to seek a CRB on land near their homes, in all over a dozen pieces of land have now been afforded this protection.

2023-01-10 09:57:48

Indeed crocodile tears and probably brown envelopes all the way to number 10. How else can such incompetence be explained: as seen by the publication of the "Westminster Accounts" some MPs line their pockets from virtually untraceable sources. Harlow Labour should never have fallen into the hggt Tory East Herts, Epping conspiracy and supported the STOP HARLOW NORTH campaign in the first place. Perhaps a Judicial Review of the complicity of elected members judgements of the hggt pfp projects might be appropriate and to show they might actually care both Tory and Conservative Harlow parties might initiate it and raise funds needed. The least they can do is drop the reported proposals to build a "sustainable" route and block Rye Road by making it a cycle track because even the numptiest of planners can see it's simply not tenable, there's schools and narrow residential roads. Epping could have enlarged the small development they already are pushing through at Thornwood or even expanded Epping Town rather than dumping on Harlow. Might Robert Halfon raise questions in Parliament as part of the current debate about planning?

2023-01-10 10:05:22

Perhaps the title of the article/ letter might be better as " This is why we Harlow Councillors have totally failed to work in the interests of Harlow residents and the environment"

Tony Durcan
2023-01-10 11:16:06

So why did only 3 Tory councillor come out and oppose this development. Why not your leader or deputy. Sounds all a bit odd and more about the local election in May..

Kim Oconnor
2023-01-11 10:10:28

Now because we have joined with other councils, they all have to be in agreement, one or two people opposeing is not enough, all councils have to be in agreement. This is why we don't have a voice for our town. I feel, that even if we had got 10,000 signatures, it still would not of made a difference. God knows frends of Latton lsland, stop Harlow north,, green party, alliance party, worked there socks of to stop the destruction of the river stort valley. They did not want to hear us, see us, or listen. The out come I feel had all ready been decided. It will be a sad day when this destruction to environment and our river, the only peaceful place we have now, is destroyed by theses monstrosity s, that don't benift Harlow AT ALL.

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