Harlow Labour leaders questions Tories over Sumners West development
News / Sat 10th Jun 2023 at 10:19am
THE LEADER of Harlow Labour has questioned the local Tories campaign regarding a new housing development on the border of Sumners.
Councillor Chris Vince said: “According to the leaflet received from the Conservative Party ahead of this year’s local elections a vote for the Conservative Party candidate, would be the only way to ‘stop this over development’ of Sumners West.
Perhaps the local Conservative’s would like to clarify this?
Surely their election material isn’t intended to be misleading?
Could it be that they have little or no control over this development as it is outside the jurisdiction of Harlow Council?
The development is controlled by Epping Forest District Council because it is on their land. Harlow has no control over it and Harlow Conservatives know that.
They are being deliberately disingenuous on this matter.
The only thing that Harlow Council can do is negotiate with EFDC to get the best possible option from a bad situation, that is exactly what the Labour administration did.
If Harlow Tories have a plan to stop the development they should publish it in full now or apologise and stop their deceitful rhetoric immediately.
Nice to see that Labour has fallen in step with the Harlow Alliance Party. which was the only Party to object to these proposals when it really mattered, that is back in 2018/19. Lets not forget however that it was Labour who signed up to the Harlow and Gilston Town formation back in 2017 and Labour who pushed through Harlow's own Local Plan in December 2020. Lets be clear, Labour did not get the best possible option for the residents of Harlow, we are all going to suffer the consequences of building thousands of unaffordable homes on Harlow's borders. This question is in fact on our list of questions to the Leader of the Council at the next Cabinet meeting on 13 July, it will be interesting to see how he responds. Perhaps he will take a leaf our of Boris' book of how to dodge the truth. Nicholas Taylor, Leader of the Harlow Alliance Party.
Nicholas, come on, it is you who is late to this: Stop Sumners West started its campaign opposing this development back in 2012 from recollection. And it was 2017 when the crucial decision was made: Harlow Labour council reversing its opposition and supporting the developments allowing Epping’s local plan to progress. Where were you when that debate was happening? The Conservatives opposed to it and always have been.
What a question from Labour, the party that signed us all up to the Garden Town and then reversed the council’s cross-party opposition to this development, actively supporting it. Is Labour saying it is now opposing such development? Or that it was the better choice at the election to stop this development? Labour does seem to chop and change with the wind!
Michael, The Harlow Alliance Party was only formed in January 2018. 1) I will ask again, Did your Party submit comments or objections in 2018 to the Planning Inspector, Ms Louise Philips who was tasked to look at the Local Plan of EFDC and did your Party participate in the public examination hearings in 2019? 2) Did you Party submit comments or objections in 2018 to David Reed the Planning Inspector tasked with looking at the Local Plan of HDC and did your Party participate in the public examination hearings in 2019? 3) How is it that only your Party can stop the development to the south west of Harlow? Readers should be aware that comments made in the Council chamber in Harlow and meetings with residents as far back as 2012 would have no affect on the outcome without then having made the representations I refer to. I look forward to the answers. A yes or no will do for 1 and 2.
I recall Labour councillor and regeneration portfolio holder Tony Durcan being ever so keen to sell 'ransom strips' to enable the Sumners West development to go ahead. Clearly, there are short memories in the Labour Group.
Let us not forget that it was the previous Harlow Labour administration that signed up for the entire HGGT project in 2017 and confirmed it irrevocably in their Harlow Development Plan in 2020. Somewhat disingenuous not to say incredulous to deny their authorship now.
The issues here go deeper. Harlow is very strategically located on the London -Cambridge corridor with excellent connectivity and close to Stansted airport. However, as a very small district, we have scant land available for new businesses or new homes for their employees. The entire HGGT project would be far more palatable if the area fell within expanded boundaries of Harlow, enabling better planning, greater Council tax receipts from more Band D + properties and allocations of affordable homes. However, having been committed to this project by the previous Harlow Labour administration in 2017, we are assigned to a far less advantageous role in terms of control and influence. Harlow’s boundaries must be expanded at least to reflect the Essex parts of HGGT or the even greater Harlow Parliamentary constituency.
James, the issue raised in this article is the claim by your Party that only a vote for them can stop this development, which you fail to address. The issues you raise are entirely separate. Perhaps in the absence of a reply from Cllr Hardware you can provide readers with answers to my three questions. The answers to questions 1 and 2 are in fact no, so your Party failed to make any representations on the subject you are raising with the Planning Inspector at Epping or Harlow. In respect of the latter, only one Conservative and one Labour councillor turned up to the Examination Hearings and that was of course only as a spectator. I know, because I was there representing HAP, saving six green areas earmarked from being developed. Your Party are trying to re-write history whilst crying crocodile tears.
Nicholas you are correct. Mr Michael Hardware, and James. YOU CAN PASS THE BUCK ,BACK AND FORTH AS MUCH AS YOU LIKE, THE FACT REMAINS, YOU COULD OF STOPPED THESES MONSTROSITY S. JAMES HOW MANY AFFORDABLE??? HOW MANY WERE PROMISED?? AND HOW MANY ARE WE GETTING. MR HARDWARE, YOU STOOD OUT SIDE WITH US FRENDS OF LATTON LSLAND TO STOP THE DESTRUCTION OF OUR RIVER STORT VALLEY, ONLY TO VOTE AGAINST US. LABOUR AND CONSERVATIVES, YOU BOTH HAVE THIS DESTRUCTION ON YOUR HANDS. NO MATTER HOW YOU DRESS THIS UP.
As said elsewhere: stop the bickering: Harlow will be overwhelmed and overloaded by all these developments. Work together: stop new road routes into town like the Eastern Crossing, the misnamed Sustainable Routes and the ones proposed from other directions. Only allow new cycle tracks and bus only along existing roads and introduce park and ride. Otherwise the town will frequently get gridlocked, pollution increased and the quality life much degraded.
Readers will note that Michael and James have not responded to my questions, they have had ample time to do so.
Cllr Vince states: “The only thing that Harlow Council can do is negotiate with EFDC to get the best possible option from a bad situation, that is exactly what the Labour administration did”. Really? Having signed up for this in 2017, what exactly has Harlow Labour done to get a better outcome?
James, still not been bold enough to answer my three questions!