Letter to Editor: More thoughts on the Latton Priory development

Sport / Thu 26th Jan 2023 at 11:15am

DEAR Sir, It is pleasing that Mr Taylor has now admitted that the spectre of possible development to the south and west of Harlow has been around for over a decade and not just the five years or so that he has been electioneering.

One key comment made by Mr Taylor shows that he really does not understand the difference between A Local Plan and Planning Permission. 

He said in his letter “Cllr Churchill says that previous meetings have set the stage for when the real applications are presented to the relevant Planning Committees. Well I am afraid to say he is wrong. The decision to build will have already be taken by then.”

This comment alone shows that Mr Taylor does not understand what a Planning Committee is, as his experience within Local Government is as a Housing Officer I can understand his mistaken claims. 

It is a quasi-judicial committee that is heavily regulated by statute, one of the key elements of that is that there can be NO predetermination of an application prior to the meeting and that any decision made must be decided on the evidence placed before the committee on the day. Any evidence of predetermination can be used to place an objection against any decision.

The Local Plan guides decisions on future development proposals and addresses the needs and opportunities of the area. Topics that Local Plans usually cover include housing, employment and shops and they also identify where development should take place and areas where development should be restricted. 

The Epping Forest Local Plan is just that Epping Forest, it does not consider the Harlow area so the use of Rye Hill Road does not come within EFDC’s local plan nor for that matter does it come within Harlow’s either because there is no development at Latton Priory in Harlow’s plan because it isn’t within Harlow’s area.

Mr Taylor is helping the developers by throwing up a smoke screen concentrating any objections to the local plan’s when he should be preparing for the real fight when actual planning applications are made, identifying specific plans for Latton Priory including where the traffic will be going and how that will be managed. It is very difficult to oppose a planning application when one doesn’t exist yet!

The Conservative administration have made it very clear that we are against development to the south and west of the town, I can’t speak for Labour apart from saying that they have stabbed residents in the back by agreeing not to stop the sale of any land to developers that would stop access into the town. A policy we reversed when we came to power.


Councillor Nick Churchill

Ward Councillor for Sumners and Kingsmoor

Harlow District Council

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7 Comments for Letter to Editor: More thoughts on the Latton Priory development:

Nicholas Taylor
2023-01-26 13:53:44

At the outset I should point out that members of HAP bring numerous skills to the Party, for instance my deputy was at one time the building control manager at Harlow Council. I as a Housing Manager studied planning law and building construction amongst other things. More smoke screen from Cllr Churchill I am afraid. To be clear, the Local Plan will set out where land will be developed within the next decade or so. Subsequent Planning Applications will be made by developers in the certain knowledge that given the right Planning Application, permission will have to be given by Councillors at EFDC because the sites are within the Local Plan. The only issue that Councillors in Harlow have any control over will be in respect of what adaptations will be needed within the Harlow boundary to mitigate the affect the huge increase in the number of vehicles will have on Harlow's roads. The recent submissions by the Conservative administration are about detailed changes they feel are needed before the Local Plan is signed off, it is some 4 years to late to object to the Planning Inspector that these sites should be removed from the Plan. It would be a good thing if instead of individual Councillors making statements on this subject, Harlow Council submitted a formal statement to clarify for readers what the situation is. Nicholas Taylor, Leader of the Harlow Alliance Party.

2023-01-26 14:00:47

And as we saw when development at Gilston Estate and the Eastern Crossing went to planning committees in East Herts, Harlow and Epping voting for development was not on evidence against from the Environment Agency and other reports from Hggt pfp's own Consultants, local farmers and from independent expert ecology consultants provided by Friends of Latton Island group, voting was 100 % along political party lines: the Conservatives who have people employed by companies facilitating hggt pfp development at Latton all voted in favour and despite of rational alternatives. Labour Cllrs revised their previous position in the light of evidence. It's obvious that predetermination occurred, perhaps not through clandestine meetings but by the vibrations within the party, these vibrations also affect Council Officers and local environmental consultants. It is well reported that local environmental consultants used by companies are employed to find ways of bending their surveys to enable developers to push through their plans but even they raised serious issues that were ignored. Independent Consultants who speak truth simply find they don't get employment. Talking to Conservative Councillors before the planning meeting at the time they were either negligent in not reading the consultants reports in the planning portal and the report from Friends of Latton Island (which initially they had refused to formally receive) or were turning a blind eye or hadn't bothered (knowing which way they hsd predetermined to vote) because they specifically denied having knowledge of the reports. As for Local Plans, as we saw in Gilston local plans flawed especially in a green belt area, mainly because they are written by a very small population and easily influenced by developers, it was reported and seems the Gilston Estate hggt pfp plan had an officer from East Herts Council working in the team that produced the plan, East Herts Council cared not a jot about Harlow and it appears simply wanted to push the project through to gain government grants for reaching housing targets and not further impact HertfordTown. Their officer was there to deliver the development regardless of the cost to Harlow. Epping Council is doing the same pushing through a plan that will detrimentally impact Harlow to their gain whilst keeping development away from Epping Town itself. Councillor Churchill should examine how power and influence works, the trouble with political parties is that there Councillors like sheep follow the party line and that's a form of predetermination. Hggt pfp is an unhealthy Alliance of business and political parties that spreads across Council boundaries that steps around, evading, the broken Planning System. It prevents residents in Harlow being properly represented and as at Latton, being consulted at all. In the cases of Gilston and Latton Priory Harlow is being dumped upon both give rise to increased congestion, air pollution and overloading. To this there's yet to be added hggt pfp development near Old Harlow planned by Epping just over the border in all a complete disaster from Harlow. One can confidently predict that a vast majority of Conservative Cllrs on the planning committee will follow the party line, rubber stamp and pass this application through and ignore objections,.suggestions for improvements and ways of eliminating environmental and ecological damage and impacts on Harlow residents.

Tony Durcan
2023-01-26 18:48:35

I real wish that this councillor would stop misleading everyone but like our own MP his truth is not actually the truth. He thinks if you keep repeating a lie somehow it’s a truth. Same as the MP about the new PAH. This councillor has a history of rejuvenating the truth to fit his narrative It’s just corrosive and damages any credibility that the current local Tories have in this town. I’m not defending Mr Taylor but I know who is sensible and who is irrational. Either way we’re all saying the same thing Latton priory will have a deep and negative impact on Harlow.

Nicholas Taylor
2023-01-26 19:47:47

Just to say again, the Plan is not a done deal. The Conservative Councillors at EFDC have the power to remove these sites on Harlow's borders (and others). Centrally imposed new house numbers are being ditched and there will already be almost 3000 more homes built in Harlow than the number required by Government.

2023-01-27 14:18:08

Here we go again Politics mixing in Council business. Can we just sit down whether you are Labour, Conservatives, Liberal or even the damn Monster raving looney party! You are all in a Council role voted by the people to sort Council resident business out not to play damn politics and any issue the so called other party raises! I just hope some of the damn fools who are in office at the local council are voted out at the next election (For Councillors) My Kids could do a better job I just know it!!!

Kim Oconnor
2023-01-29 20:03:22

Spot on nosradamus.

James Leppard
2023-02-01 11:02:31

Cllr Durcan, you seek the truth. You say that Latton Priory will have a ‘deep and negative impact on Harlow’. If so, why did the former Harlow Labour administration sign up for it and incorporate in their Town Plan of December 2020, long before the current Conservative administration was elected? Could we have the truth, please?

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