Planning permission granted for over 8,000 homes on Harlow’s border

Communities / Wed 1st Mar 2023 at 07:48am

PLANNING permission was granted at East Herts Council today with an agreement to approve 8500 homes as part of Harlow & Gilston Garden Town project.

Submitted by Places for People, the homes and supporting infrastructure proposed in the planning application will make up six of the seven housing estates planned for the Gilston area of the Garden Town. 

It was the biggest ever planning application considered by East Herts Council since the district was formed in 1974.

A further application for 1500 homes from Taylor Wimpey will make up the seventh estate, bringing the total to 10,000 new homes to be delivered through to 2050 and beyond.

This application is still to be determined by East Herts Council. 

Places for People’s approved plans also include: 

· Six primary schools

· Two secondary schools

· Healthcare facilities

. 29,000m² of employment space

· Significant areas of green open space – including community and country parks and buffer zones between villages

· Leisure Centre

· Sport facilities

Leader of East Herts Council, Linda Haysey, said: “For many years, we have worked together as part of a five-council partnership to bring a vision to life for a new community at Harlow & Gilston that embraces and responds to the challenges of the future. 

“The decision taken by councillors today is a significant step towards ensuring our next generation can live and raise families of their own in East Herts.

“I understand residents will have concerns about the impact of development on this scale, but with that scale comes the investment needed to provide the new services and facilities that build sustainable communities. 

“We can and have secured the necessary infrastructure to support growth – the schools, healthcare and transport our children and their families will rely on.

“It is their needs, together with those of residents in and around Harlow & Gilston, that will remain front and centre in the years to come as we seek to harness the opportunities of growth and manage it in a way that protects everything that is valued by our existing communities.”

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22 Comments for Planning permission granted for over 8,000 homes on Harlow’s border:

Kim Oconnor
2023-03-01 09:16:54

If there's any thing I've learnt through this whole process of trying to stop this destruction of green belt, and the handing in of 6,000 signatures to Herts, from Harlow, Frends of Latton lsland, and 933 signatures so for from Aliance party, and Residents objections from surrounding villages, and theses are villages.. Is that public options mean nothing, our voices are not being listened to . I think most people would agree that we are fed up with the destruction of green belt being destroyed, up and down this country, when we should be thinking of savings it. Thousands of old trees being ripped up , wildlife misplaced, destroying Ecco systems, the damage doesn't bare thinking of. And for what, and who for, not local s, because theses housing estates will be unaffordable to most of us, and will certainly be unaffordable to the 5OOO people waiting on homes in Harlow. With very little affordable housing. I am passionate about saving our green belt, but it seems that theses councils are not.

Neil WB
2023-03-01 10:26:09

Oh dear..What can go wrong...

2023-03-01 11:04:16

Kim O’Connor, house prices in Harlow are cheaper than in all the surrounding areas and cheaper than other new towns that were built around Harlow. We have one of the highest numbers of social housing in England. We also have no space left and a high population density. The 5,000 you mention on the waiting list should think about moving out. There are plenty of cheaper regions in Britain. Given our location between London and Cambridge, here will attract more people with skills that we need and who will want good houses and neighbourhoods like Newhall and Gilston. Harlow will never get cheaper; on the contrary. Our population make up will change and become more prosperous. They will want a much improved town centre as well. Harlow will be a much improved town. It was based on people moving from London, now new people are coming once again. What’s the problem?

Kim Oconnor
2023-03-01 11:30:52

Maureen your comments are a disgrace pure and simple. Harlow house prices are lower than say bishop storford, or Epping yes, but I'm talking about people who have no homes, for what ever situation they have found them self's in, family s living with parents, and people in harf way houses, Are you telling me, that 5OOO people should move out of Harlow, that's appalling comment. Theses family s should be surrported with affordable housings. So your saying let local people move out instead of accommodating theses people. Theses Gilston project s, have no infrastructure in place, no schools are being build till housing estates are built, if there built at all, the same for health care, ect ect. This is bringing in thousands of more people to Harlow, 20,000 more cars to Harlow, not to mention pollution. Harlow roads are grid locked now. Maureen you obviously do not have a care for the Environment or the local people who live hear, and I'll bet you don't live hear. All so you don't have to tell me, or other people why Harlow was built, my father helped build this town,and it was built to the guide lines of Frederick Gibberd with green spaces in mind. Yes we have to progress, but at what cost, to our own people, no that carnt be right.

Nicholas Taylor
2023-03-01 11:32:08

Maureen, what you describe is social cleansing. So all the poorer people have to move somewhere else? Who then is left behind to do the lesser paid jobs? People are not on the Councils waiting list because they want to be, they simply cannot afford to live elsewhere. Renting in the private sector only means claiming housing benefit, far better to build a publicly owned asset such as a council house. The simple fact is, with some 16100 homes due to be built in and around Harlow there will never be enough jobs created locally so thousands of those new residents will be commuters paying taxes to our neighbouring councils and no doubt using their councils facilities such as the sports centre being built in Epping. Building thousands of homes around Harlow (no doubt at a premium because they have an Epping or Hertford address) will do nothing to help those of us who already live here. The same things were said when Church Langley was on the drawing board, the development did nothing for Harlow except 30 years later all we have are heavily congested roads. These developments are all about greed, not need.

2023-03-01 12:31:59

I don’t agree. Places change, look how run down areas in London and Glasgow have been improved, e.g. docklands, Islington, Hackney, etc. They were run down, now they are thriving with great shops, bars, restaurants, etc. We need the same. People are constantly moving. Where did people living in Islington go? They obviously went somewhere. If I couldn’t afford to live here, I would go somewhere cheaper. I know several people who have sold their homes in Harlow and moved to Norfolk and Yorkshire. What is wrong with that? Think how the locals perceived Harlow and other new towns when they were built and the impact on the environment. The fact remains that Harlow is a prime location and comparatively cheap. There is really little if any space to build in the District only outside. Kim O’Connor, I do love in Harlow. We are now in a nice house in Newhall, moving from near Staple Tye. Many purchases in Newhall are by Harlow residents, seeking newer neighbourhoods. If you actually read the Gilston article it clearly states that their will be a number of new schools, shops and community facilities so they won’t be using Harlow services. You are just scaremongering.

2023-03-01 12:35:50

Nicholas, Why is Church Langley different from any other neighbourhood. You say it has contributed nothing to Harlow. Well residents pay Council Tax. What has Netteswell, Mark Hall or Katherines contributed that is different. I fail to see the logic of your argument.

Kim Oconnor
2023-03-01 13:56:40

Harlow won't receive council tax from the Gilston project s, theses huge unaffordable housing estates, contributing nothing to Harlow. Oh wait a minute, it is contributing 20,000 more cars with no infrastructure. It is not contributing for affordable housing, a mere 23% , when it should of been40%. Oh and not let's forget the deverstating destruction that will be caused to the green belt, and the destruction of the river stort valley.

Nicholas Taylor
2023-03-01 15:08:20

What I meant James was that when the village of Church Langley was being 'sold' by the developers it was said that bringing in thousands of more affluent and skilled workers almost all of whom would be home owners would lead to the regeneration and wealth to the town. It clearly did not. The areas you mention were built almost exclusively as Corporation (public) housing, as it so happens just what we need now. The HUGE difference now of course is that these new villages are not in Harlow or even Essex so the residents will not be contributing anything by way of Council Tax to help regenerate and maintain services in Harlow. I repeat as I have said many times before, the Harlow boundary should have been changed to include the whole of the HGGT so that decisions about the future of OUR Green Belt were made in the Civic Offices in Harlow and not in Epping and Hertford.

2023-03-01 17:28:00

Nicholas, I agree that boundaries need to expand. They did to make space for what is now Church Langley and Newhall. Incorporating the HGGT area is not enough. We need to be about 40 sq miles to put is on par with the more successful new towns built around the same time. We have only around 11sq miles, the second smallest after Stevenage and the second highest density and worst in terms of educational achievement and qualifications, higher crime and drug levels. We have no space for new builds of any scale nor to attract high tech companies offering well paid, high skilled jobs. It is our low cost of land that ironically makes its most difficult to produce affordable housing and means that we attract large warehouse type operators that generate low skilled jobs. Many of our problems are a legacy of years of poor administration and no real strategic town plan, but our limited territory is increasingly a major impediment.

Nicholas Taylor
2023-03-01 18:30:51

Well James we will have to agree to disagree about the need for an area of 40 square miles. Looking at Epping Forest DC (130 square miles, population 134,900) and East Herts (183 square miles, population 137, 687), do you really think either of them will be willing to give up the New Homes Bonus and Council Tax and Business Rates to allow the expansion of Harlow? The developments to the North and South of Harlow represent the biggest developments in both the EFDC and EHDC area, they would fight tooth and nail to ensure they continued to receive the financial benefits of these developments. Building thousands of homes does not improve educational achievement and qualifications for those of us already living here or reduce crime or drug taking.

2023-03-01 22:05:27

Nicholas the average size of the London overspill new towns is 26.6 sq. miles ( more than twice Harlow’s area. The two largest have close 50sq miles, whilst Hemel Hempstead is in the much larger Dacorum district. Look at Basildon with Billericay, nearly 4x the size of Harlow. We are out on a limb on the fringes of Essex. We have much closer ties with East Herts towns like Stortford, Sawbridgeworth, Ware and Hertford than with most Essex towns other than Epping. That is our natural region. Harlow is too small to build further. We have no space left.

2023-03-01 22:14:13

Money, Money, Money that's all it is about. I am glad I am the age I am because my grandchildren have no future in this town, or Country😠😠 Money, Money, Money😠😠

Nicholas Taylor
2023-03-02 00:17:13

Well James I can only say again, do you really think anyone at East Herts would agree with you? And that is before residents have been asked. It is never going to happen. Church Langley and Newhall, Katherines and Sumners were just open fields, any boundary change affected no-one.

2023-03-02 01:51:07

Nicholas, Harlow’s precept for the equivalence of Band D properties is only about 28,800. This very low because most of our properties are Band C and below. We actually lose the equivalent of around 4,700!Band D properties owing to high number of people in receipt of Council Tax support benefits. We desperately need more Band D + properties to increase our very modest Council Tax base, which comes nowhere covering our operating costs. However, we have nowhere to build such properties, or almost any properties for that matter. The most successful New Towns are Bracknell and Welwyn /Hatfield which cover much greater areas. This has enabled them to attract more high end businesses and for people working in them to remain living within the authority. As a result the ABC1 levels in both these districts is well over 56% whereas Harlow by contrast is on 38%. We do not have this ability within our tiny 11 sq miles. We are crammed full with little chance of improvement to become a prosperous town regardless of who is in administration. Only expanding our borders significantly will put Harlow in a position to address this.

Nicholas Taylor
2023-03-02 10:38:58

So James, how and when will these changes be made? What is the process? Has it even been started? East Herts are never going to give up such a huge slice of their District for the very reasons you allude to for the need to expand Harlow. What you fail to mention is the huge amount of land already being lost to development which basically is mostly for houses and parkland but very little space for the highly skilled jobs you allude to, exactly the problem you say we have now in Harlow.

2023-03-02 10:51:26

The only objection I have to these developments are the poor planning. Large developments like this require major infrastructure change. Simply saying they have made provisions for infrastructure does not mean they will build that infrastructure. We do need these developments to grow our community, but they need to be better planned to accommodate the obvious problems that can come with large developments.

2023-03-02 11:13:33

Nicholas, an alternative could be to adjust Harlow’s boundaries to HGGT and its Parliamentary constituency area. That would lead to more than doubling its territory and would be a good start. Also the logic is pretty overwhelming. Without such changes I do not see how Harlow can progress. We have no space left to build anything without destroying our green areas, making life intolerable. We cannot increase our population density, which already far too high.

2023-03-02 17:01:25

Nicholas, Harlow residents have lower than peer group educational attainment and lower salaries, although worker salaries are higher than several other new towns or neighbouring towns, which means that many of the higher income group live outside Harlow, but work here. These are precisely the people we need here. Likewise, Harlow sends plenty of young people to higher education, but most leave the town. In my own case, I know of none of my school friends who went to University who remained here. I myself left to go to University and returned only 4 years ago, having lived and worked my entire career abroad or elsewhere in the UK This means we are constantly losing our most valued and qualified people who find better opportunities elsewhere. It is an issue with no easy solution and we have no strategic vision to address this.

Nicholas Taylor
2023-03-02 20:02:48

James, so how does the building of thousands of homes around Harlow, or indeed hundreds of flats by the train station occupied by commuters to London change the educational attainment and increase salaries of those of us who already live in the town? We have by most standards modern homes, modern schools, good further education facilities and lots of first class sporting and cultural facilities all within a couple of miles of each other. The Governments levelling up agenda sought schemes such as those in Harlow, an improved Playhouse, a music venue, new paving, hundreds of trees etc, so called regeneration. That is all well and good for those that can afford to go to the Playhouse or use other facilities for recreation and cultural activities but what about all those who cannot afford to take advantage of such facilities? Another generation gets left behind, just as I saw families grow during my 40 year career in the housing department, most of those that started poor stayed poor. The answer, give every child from 5 to 16 free coaching or instruction at sport, leisure and cultural facilities, whether it be rugby, football, Rock School, Brenda Taylor School of Dance, the leisurezone, the Scouts etc, giving young people a sense of purpose, raising horizons and aspirations and creating a sense of belonging in the community.

2023-03-02 22:12:34

Nicholas, when I was a kid/youth here we had plenty of school sports and options. Harlow had so many sport and arts options, clubs associations, music ( all types), drama. There was so much choice at very economical prices that many were occupied in healthy activities, physical and cerebral. I was overseas when it changed. Not sure where it all went wrong.

Kim Oconnor
2023-03-05 11:18:08

James it went wrong through all the cuts, and shutting down, that theses party's did. And still today, short staffed, low wages, that your party to this day have done.

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