Old Harlow councillors campaign against plan for thousands of homes east of Harlow

Church Langley and Newhall / Sun 3rd Sep 2023 at 07:19am

THE three District Councillors representing Old Harlow have submitted a detailed consultation response opposing the direction of the ‘East of Harlow Masterplanning Guidance Draft Supplementary Planning Document’.

They believe the document sets out a flawed vision for the East of Harlow that could result in thousands of new homes being built without properly understanding the potentially serious consequences for existing residents in Old Harlow. Their concerns focus on four key areas:


Vision for housing 

Lack of a clear strategic plan to put in place all the infrastructure required before housing can be built, causing an unsustainable impact on existing schools, GP surgeries and other local public services.

Impact on the environment

A loss of agricultural land and the potential increased risk of flooding requiring a reassessment of the proposed green infrastructure plan. 

Traffic, the new hospital site and public transport

No full assessment of the pressure that could be caused by the proposed three main vehicular access points on the local road network, a need for more of a focus on the new hospital site and a realistic plan for dealing with short- and medium-term public transport concerns. 

Future of the M11 corridor

Inadequate consideration of the ‘Innovation Corridor’ status granted to the M11 between London and Cambridge, and the need for more employment land to create jobs.

All three Old Harlow Councillors are calling for the current consultation to be paused, because they want a more considered plan to be put forward. Their recommendations, for example, call for the traveller site to be abandoned, a more pro-enterprise approach and a scrapping of the anti-car sustainable transport scheme. 

Six recommendations in total have been put forward for consideration. 

Old Harlow Ward Councillors, Joel Charles, Mike Garnett and Sue Livings, have pledged to keep up the pressure against the housing plan to the east of the town:

“The truth is that 3,350 new homes will impact key parts of Old Harlow the most. Increased traffic movements, a loss of agricultural land and concerns about a heightened flood risk are unacceptable. We continue to oppose the housing plan.

“It is our view that the whole purpose of the East of Harlow strategic site needs a rethink. Focus more on delivering the new hospital at the preferred site, establish additional employment land on a smaller footprint to create jobs and invest in credible public transport schemes that are proven to work. 

“Attempts to achieve a modal shift could be as damaging and anti-car as the ULEZ expansion taken forward in London. There must be a better balance between rightly protecting the environment and allowing residents to still get from A to B by car.

“The Harlow and Gilston Garden Town executive team launched a fundamentally flawed consultation, which must be immediately paused, so that the challenges faced by existing settled communities in Old Harlow can be better understood. A relaunched consultation, that provides the full facts and includes an extended period to respond, is the best way forward. 

“We hope that the recommendations in our response are taken seriously and a major change in direction follows.”

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14 Comments for Old Harlow councillors campaign against plan for thousands of homes east of Harlow:

2023-09-03 07:41:35

Backing the move of PAH out of Harlow into Epping district and placing it at the remote NE edge of the development away from bus and rail stations Harlow town centre where a large proportion of the work force live and was the first major blunder by the Conservatives. This development along with all other Epping and East Herts housing projects at Latton, Gilston and elsewhere will overload the town and cause major congestion and pollution. It's all car centric and unsustainable in the words of Robert Halfon MP about the raised road eastern crossing (a key part of the hggt pfp project) they "need to go back to the drawing board " Action to protect the interests and quality of life of Harlow residents by these Councillors should have come when hggt pfp was proposed and then again when instead of blithely voting through the Eastern crossing they should have blocked it and let East Herts Council deal with the consequences, same with the central crossing that's going to reduce the flood plain and the culverted barrier between Pye Corner and River Way bisecting the River Valley whilst out Harlow homes at greater risk of flooding with sewage laiden flood waters.

2023-09-03 07:44:13

#putting Harlow homes at greater risk of flooding with sewage laiden flood waters.

Nicholas Taylor
2023-09-03 07:58:08

The sheer hypocrisy of these three Councillors clearly knows no bounds and this statement is being made with an eye on the elections both nationally and locally. These plans have been on the cards since at least 2018. Local Tories did not make any objections known to Louise Phillips the Planning Officer tasked with looking at the Local Development Plan of Epping Forest in 2018 or to David Reed the Planning Officer tasked with looking at the Local Development Plan of Harlow District Council. Conservative Councillors have been asked on numerous occasions about their non appearance at the many public hearings back in 2019 but ignore the questions because they simply made no representations. In the meantime of course both Labour and Conservative Councillors together with Harlow Council have been major players in the HGGT group of Councils. Unless Harlow Council withdraws their part of the plan to allow building in the Old Harlow area, then these really are crocodile tears. Nicholas Taylor, Leader of Harlow Alliance.

2023-09-03 09:10:09

Giving people alternative ways to get around other than by car is not being anti car. Laughable.

Richard Adams
2023-09-03 09:39:40

I thought Harlow Council was in full support of HGGT? Seems not. All the arguments put up against the Old Harlow development stand equally for the south and west developments outside of Harlow's boundaries. The western development could easily be designed so no additional vehicle movements would be generated through Harlow and I have made this point to the developers many times. It seems the only consistent voice against these developments, as they are, has been Nich Taylor's Alliance Party which I hope the electorate will remember at next May's local elections, particularly as the we will be stuck with who we elect for the next 3 years, if the proposal to go ahead with full council elections happens.

2023-09-03 14:29:39

Yeah, I am pretty sure all these councillors are concerned about is their property values... More houses is always merrier.

gary roberts
2023-09-03 15:29:14

Many years ago when junction 7a was but a mere suggestion I and the residents' of Potter Street raised these concerns because it could affect our area. Traffic congestion was highlighted and we raised this concern with the council and county council. I don't remember Old Harlow councillors' back then having those same concerns. However, the most vocal opposition to these plans is now a Harlow council Conservative councillor: Ms. Colleen Morrison. What does she think now?

2023-09-03 18:15:52

Same old, same old let’s make a noise when its far to late…..🙄

Kim Oconnor
2023-09-03 18:26:01

Spot on ,Mark.

David Forman
2023-09-04 10:08:32

Apparently, our Conservative government says we need to trash EU environment rules to get more houses built. However, as economist Liam Halligan pointed out in his 2019 book Home Truths, developers are taking at leadt 4 years to build out their permissions. Halligan says: "Between 2010 and 2017, in fact, 1,943,125 new planning permissions were granted in England. Of these, some 932,335 homes - or 48 per cent of permissions awarded - were NOT built." Plus, we have NIMBY Conservative councillors trying to grab a few headlines in time for the election whilst their national party takes a fortune in donations from property developers. See page 84 of Home Truths or paragraph 4 on page 3 of https://committees.parliament.uk/writtenevidence/2743/pdf/

David Forman
2023-09-04 10:50:29

As for local infrastructure, the Conservatives completely reversed the1945 Labour government's approach to land valuation for development, including compulsory purchase, with their Land Compensation Act 1961. Instead of land owners getting their existing use value, as under the 1945 Labour government, the Conservatives gave landowners/developers 100% of the value of land as valued when residential housing planning permission is awarded. Under the 1945 government land was cheap and council's could afford to provide infrastructure, but now land is 70% of the cost of a new-build home. The Conservative's Section 106 agreements and Community Infrastructure Levy arrangements are routinely undermined by 'viability' assessments introduced in 2012 by the Conservative led Coalition government. In 2017 the housing charity Shelter examined 11 council's (including 9 English cities) Section 106 agreements to see the outcomes. Shelter said: "the land price takes up more of the value of the development, and the developer’s profit [set at 20% by Conservative's NPPF in 2012 ] is effectively guaranteed by the viability loophole, there is less value left to support community benefits like infrastructure and affordable homes. So, the existence of the viability loophole permanently reduces the amount of affordable housing [and infrastructure] that the system can provide." Where viability assessments were used, new housing sites delivered just 7% of affordable housing, whereas the local authorities Section 106 agreements on those sites required on average 28% affordable homes. See Shelter report at https://england.shelter.org.uk/professional_resources/policy_and_research/policy_library/report_slipping_through_the_loophole_how_viability_assessments_are_reducing_affordable_housing_supply_in_england

2023-09-05 06:26:10

🤣😂🤣😂 Typical Tories pledging to build more housing but not on our doorstep thank you very much, be gone with you T/B’S 😂🤣😂🤣😂🤣

Kim Oconnor
2023-09-05 10:29:06

Richard Adams, Frends of Latton lsland, stop Harlow north , green party, surrounding villages, 6,000 signatures collected by frends of Latton lsland, 1,000 from Aliance party.. So trust me Aliance, is by no means only ones speaking up for theses monstrosity s,.. this destruction on our river stort valley, which was labour's plans, and Harlow, epping heartford, signed and sealed despite public options.. infact public opions means nothing today, and will surely be there down fall..

Kim Oconnor
2023-09-05 10:41:59

And just to add...This government, theses councils have all this destruction on there hands..Labour and conservatives. THERE HANDS ONLY.. where was Joel Charles, and crew, when we were fighting this..

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