Future meetings on Harlow and Gilston Garden Town to be held in public

News / Sun 10th Sep 2023 at 06:45am

FUTURE decision-making around the development of the Harlow and Gilston Garden suburb will be made in public described as a “massively welcomed step” reports the Local Democracy Reporter.

A cross-boundary joint committee (JC) between Essex County Council, Hertfordshire County Council and well as the three districts of Epping Forest, East Herts and Harlow is being formed to lead and coordinate the 16,000-home project.

The committee will provide programme oversight and formalise effective audit functions and risk-sharing equally between all the partners, whilst at the same time ensuring all decisions are democratically accountable and transparent, Harlow Council said at a meeting agreeing to enter a joint committee.

Up to now meetings between the five partners have been being closed doors but that is set to change as the delivery phase of the project begins.

The establishment of a joint committee does not include decision-making related to either planning or statutory highway authority functions, which will remain with these authorities.

Harlow and Gilston Garden Town includes a series of new communities around Harlow it encompasses all of existing Harlow with its green wedges and fingers, along with new strategic sites to the north (Gilston villages), east (known as East Harlow), south (known as Latton Priory) and west (known as the Water Lane area) of Harlow, along with new open spaces and green wedges linking to those that already exist in Harlow. Around 16,000 new homes are set to be delivered by 2033, with a further 7,000 planned afterwards.

Leader of Harlow Council, Councillor Dan Swords said at cabinet on Thursday, September 8: “This is a massively welcomed step and one that anyone can recognise it will move the partnership forward.

The public accountability thing is enormous. To date, all the board meetings have been private behind closed doors. And that is not the way to run future developments for the growth of the town. And that is why these steps are being taken.

“Harlow is in the driving seat. This is about the growth of Harlow. While not the geographical area of Harlow it is generally about the growth of Harlow and increase the economy of Harlow – with increased footfall, increase revenue.”

A statement as part of the decision papers said: “It is considered that the establishment of a cross-boundary Joint Committee (JC) for the HGGT will help deliver locally led leadership and coordination of the project to provide programme oversight and to formalise effective audit functions and risk-sharing equally between all the partners, whilst at the same time ensuring all decisions are democratically accountable and transparent.

“These arrangements will not, however, extend to decision-making related to either Planning Authority development management determinations or to statutory Highway Authority functions, which will remain with the respective district and county councils.”


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9 Comments for Future meetings on Harlow and Gilston Garden Town to be held in public:

Kim Oconnor
2023-09-10 09:11:46

This isn't about growth of Harlow, this is about Greed.. you councils have no foresight to what's happening on your own door step... This destruction will ruin Harlow.. it will ruin our river stort valley... you were told of alternative s, but you did not want to know. Heartford was handed in 6,000 signatures against these monstrosity s. 1,000 from Aliance, all from Harlow. Consultation s, green party was not allowed in at last one. Against.. frends of Latton lsland..Aliance party.. green party ..stop Harlow north... surrounding villages... But it all got sighed and sealed any way..All this has happened behind closed doors... Despite the amount of people against, and we are still finding people who don't know what truly is happening.... This destruction is on Labour and conservatives, who sealed the deals. You councils care not for public options, your go a head anyway... And it will be your down fall. You will not get transparency,when HGGT have all ready said at last meeting all houses will be built first, facilities second, and we all know what that means, facilities will not be built..affordable housing has all ready shrunk, to 23%when the promise was 48%. . The bottom line is , no one wants green wedges, we want to keep our natural nature... we don't want man made. This destruction to our environment, to our ecco systems is in abundance, shame on you all..And its on your hands.. Then you can all sit back and watch us flood.

2023-09-10 17:00:14

Harlow isn't in the driving seat. It's being ridden rough shod over by developers keen to line their purses. Harlow will become a more and more deprived dumping ground that is neglected while commuter housing on the surrounding greenbelt get the funding . Classic doughnut effect

James Leppard
2023-09-11 06:44:10

For the HGGT project to make sense from an administrative and planning perspective, the entire area must become a single authority. Being split between three district authorities is wholly impractical. Even if it means crossing a county boundary, so be it. There are a number of precedents where this has happened in the past.

2023-09-11 08:23:40

Harlow councils through the years and from both parties, have been poor when it comes to standing up to developers and the people of Harlow suffer everytime. Developers when they apply to build huge estates, quote they will giver a certain percentage of those house as social housing. If they then fail to do so they get a fine but a fine so small that they ignore the agreed amount of social housing they agreed too. On EVERY development, they leave the social houses till last and it NEVER matches the amount promised when they applied for planning. To the current council members, You know this is bad for Harlow, will destroy decent green spaces and will just send yet another signal to developers that Harlow Council values developers more than it's own people.

Kim Oconnor
2023-09-11 08:57:54

All three councils voted in favour for all this destruction around our boarders. DESTROYING OUR RIVER STORT VALLEY in abundance.. MAKE NO MISTAKE, THAT HARLOW COUNCIL DID NOT STAND UP FOR THE PROTECTION OF THE RIVER STORT VALLEY.. This huge stain will never go unnoticed. You keep on letting the people down, when we most need you.. . Once it's gone it's gone forever. . YOU HARLOW COUNCIL DID NOT STAND UP FOR OUR RIVER STORT VALLEY. We are passed careing what you think James Leppard, to little to late, you all sighed and sealed these monsters.. Destruction of wildlife. Destruction of one of the best ecco systems...Destruction of thousands upon thousands of old tress... The list goes on. I say shame on you all.

Ron Atkinson
2023-09-11 10:04:11

Where will the Council Tax from all (these houses outside Harlow ) be paid into?

Michael Hardware
2023-09-11 15:20:34

Seamus, Harlow Council only last month took out an injunction against Taylor Wimpey, Persimmon and Barratt for failure to deliver its S106 commitments on Gilden Park - a very radical step. Last Friday, we had the managing directors of all three to meet with the leader, chief exec and cabinet member at the Civic Centre to hear our views on their performance in no uncertain terms. This administration will not let developers get away with it. Of course, we have only been in power for two years.

Nicholas Taylor
2023-09-11 15:41:26

Paragraph five is the most telling. This proposal is nothing more than a tick box. Will members of the public be able to ask questions?

2023-09-11 22:18:47

Michael, thanks for the reply. I saw the S106 when it was highly mentioned but have not seen any mention or updates since, would you happen to have any? They would be greatly appreciated. When you look at Church Langley you could see the benchmark of more than one council involved and multiple developers. Trying to find out who is responsible for this and that should have been the set in stone benchmark of how not to create a development. Sadly only a few lessons were learned towards the development that followed and continues to be built, Newhall.The S106 is a bold step as you say although it would have been clear as day at the planning stage that multiple councils and multiple developers was again raising it's ugly head. Harlow is on the downslide and is becoming a cesspit of Essex. Councillors of all parties over the decades have been blinkered in seeking more houses mean more council tax but not a better Harlow. The people of Harlow want to see quality over quantity, councils want to see quantity. Perhaps it's a sign of modern politics in that politicians of all kind have grown detached from the people they represent and now tell voters what to do rather than listen to it's people and work together.

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