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Councillors wonder if they are being “taken for a ride” over funding for Harlow Town railway station.

News / Sun 5th Mar 2023 at 09:37am

EAST Herts Councillors have questioned whether they are being “taken for a ride” over funding for Harlow Town railway station.

As part of plans for six new villages featuring 8,500 homes on the Herts and Essex border, East Herts District Council has told a developer it must contribute £442,000 towards a “feasibility study” for a new station entrance.

The funding would only need to be paid if Network Rail agrees to upgrade Harlow Town – which lies on the line between London Liverpool Street and Cambridge.

Network Rail has raised fears the Grade II-listed station – protected for its “powerful spatial qualities” and “flagship” status as part of the Harlow New Town – will struggle to cope with increased demand.

In addition to the £442,000 feasibility study, the developer will be asked to pay a maximum £4.38million towards the final scheme, which would facilitate a northern entrance to the station.

Planning permission for the six villages was secured at a meeting on Tuesday, February 28.

A second developer which is planning a seventh village will also be asked to contribute to Harlow Town upgrades, bringing the total contributions to a maximum of £5.2m.

Ware St Mary’s councillor Ian Kemp (Con), who sits on the East Herts District Council planning committee, said he was “a bit surprised at the price tag”.

“It’s £5.2m for what is essentially the extension of a footbridge, a gate, maybe some cycle racks and some sort of cycle racks,” he said.

“It’s [a combined] £520,000 for a feasibility study.

“I’ve got to ask the question: is Network Rail taking us for a ride?”

Planning officer Jenny Pierce said: “In terms of the station access, it’s a ‘towards’ figure.

“This one is not the totality and it’s not this application alone which would benefit from changes to the station, so it’s a contribution towards that piece of work.”

Ms Pierce added the feasibility study is needed to work out what changes are needed at Harlow Town, and that any changes would be complex owing to the listed buildings and overhead electric lines.

Network Rail was consulted as part of the application process.

The organisation set out its position in a letter to the council.

“Network Rail System Operator and Station Capacity teams have concerns regarding capacity of Harlow Town station,” it reads.

“There appears to be a lack of information regarding rail demand forecasts and does not highlight a significant uplift as a result of this proposal.”

Network Rail added the station benefits from express trains to Tottenham Hale and London Liverpool Street, so it is likely that Harlow Town will be an attractive option for existing and future commuters.

The seven new villages – comprising 10,000 homes – are part of the wider Harlow and Gilston Garden Town project.

The 2018 vision document sets out 60 per cent of journeys should be made using “sustainable active travel modes”.

According to the latest Office of Road and Rail data, an estimated 1.31m passengers began or ended their journeys between April 2021 and March 2022.

ENDS

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11 Comments for Councillors wonder if they are being “taken for a ride” over funding for Harlow Town railway station.:

Nicholas Taylor
2023-03-05 10:51:10

Well who do they expect to pay for work to increase capacity and access to the station then? At the heart of the plan to develop Harlow North is the need to keep new residents out of their cars when making a journey and quite clearly most new residents will be commuters simply because there will be so few jobs created on site. We should remind Councillors at East Herts DC and Herts CC that they they will get huge sums in Council tax payments and New Homes bonus, they will have to dig deep in their pockets to pay for these station improvements.

Theman
2023-03-05 11:01:09

The trains are packed already, so I don’t see how improving the station will help. The entire network needs an upgrade. Even Stansted airport has complained about the poor service of this line.

James
2023-03-05 12:51:04

Simple solution. Just make the entire HGGT designated area a single district. Then it will all be one. It was done before when Harlow expanded eastwards to the M11. Other new towns have had their boundaries increased like Bracknell, Basildon and Welwyn/Hatfield. Why not Harlow? What is the difference?

Nostradamus
2023-03-05 16:01:06

Harlow Council have been taken for a ride over the whole hggt pfp project so this is no different.

Luke Burton
2023-03-05 22:25:40

"protected for its “powerful spatial qualities” and “flagship” status as part of the Harlow New Town" - what a load of old nonsense. Tear the station down and build a proper flagship station that we can all be proud of.

Luke Burton
2023-03-05 22:26:21

...and I agree with the others. The line is already at capacity. It's time this country actually started to build new rail lines instead of piecemeal upgrades.

Bill Baker
2023-03-06 09:54:50

Can anyone explain why there are plans to build on a flood plane North of Harlow Town StationBill

Michael Hardware
2023-03-06 18:37:09

Nostradamas, please stop referring to HGGT and PfP as being one and the same, they are not. HGGT is the Harlow and Gilston Garden Town which is a partnership of the five councils, and PfP is Places for People which is one of the developers of Gilston Villages. They are not linked in any way and it is misleading for you to continue to join them.

Seamus
2023-03-06 18:56:27

The honesty of this whole travesty has yet shown another blatantly obvious reason why this proposed development should not go ahead. The road infrastructure cannot cope now, the health services cannot cope now and the train infrastructure cannot cope now. How many more times will greedy councils not see the mess that will follow when developers move on? Quality not quantity and the councillors approving this should fix Harlow first before increasing the chaos that is Harlow's poor planning and promotion. Local councillor elections are only a few months away, think on.

Nohta Kluë
2023-03-06 20:01:12

This website needs to remove comments, or stop the same shit responses from predictably, boring idiots.

Turkey
2023-03-07 07:39:37

Nohta. We all pay our council tax , and everybody is entitled to their views. If you do t like it , don't read it

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