Harlow’s major transport plan at risk if contract agreement delayed

News / Sun 12th Nov 2023 at 08:40am

ESSEX County Council has until January 2024 to get an agreement to build its Harlow’s transport system unlocking thousands of homes on third-party land – otherwise, the financial implications and risks could become significant leading to the project becoming undeliverable reports the Local Democracy Reporter.

A meeting next week is scheduled to agree senior officers can award a construction contract to Bouygues (UK) Limited for construction works for the Harlow North to Centre Sustainable Travel Corridor.

The meeting is also set to allow Essex County Council to enter into a conditional agreement with Mantle (Epping) Limited to acquire a sliver of land next to the A414, to enter into an agreement to dedicate land owned by Harlow District Council and Sainsbury’s Supermarkets Ltd and enable construction works to take place on land owned by Greater Anglia.

Essex County Council says the scheme delivery date of March 2026 for the Harlow sustainable transport corridor can only be achieved if the land can be obtained by agreement and the construction contract is awarded by January 2024.

The draft heads of terms with landowners have now been agreed in principle but it added: “If either of these scenarios cannot be achieved, then the financial implications and risks could become significant leading to the project becoming undeliverable.”

Harlow is set to “lead to the way” towards revolutionising how people travel in the UK– thanks to £170 million of Government funding to transform the town’s transport infrastructure.

Essex County Council’s (ECC) cabinet has approved an agreement with Hertfordshire County Council to unlock more than £170 million of Government funding to transform Harlow’s transport infrastructure and enable major housing developments.

The highway improvements linking the proposed 8,500-home development at Gilston to Harlow town centre and the railway station – including a redesigned junction at Burnt Mill roundabout through £42 million funding.

That is part of a wider £170m government grant to support 24,000 homes across East Herts, Epping Forest and Harlow district councils.

A statement as part of Essex County Council cabinet papers said there was a risk if the contract for the north to centre route was delayed.

It said: “If the contract award is delayed, there is a significant risk of cost escalation, further to that outlined above, pushing the overall project cost above the approved budget and funding envelope.

“This is a significant risk as inflation is an increasing concern with respect to major infrastructure projects. Contingency assumptions have been accounted for within the above project costs, and there remains a risk that these will be insufficient.

“Any cost increases will be mitigated through further de-scoping of Harlow STC project which may require approval via the back-to-back agreement and original funding agreement between HCC and Homes England.

The back-to-back agreement between Essex County Council and Hertfordshire County Council originally required the entirety of the HIG funding to be spent by March 30 2024.

This was subsequently extended to March 30 2025. Homes England have now confirmed that a one-year extension has been provided in respect of the delivery of Harlow STC which takes the funding spend deadline to 30 March 2026.

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6 Comments for Harlow’s major transport plan at risk if contract agreement delayed:

2023-11-12 17:39:46

What is a sustainable transport corridor ? Can we just have roads for cars please and remove any of the silly chicanes like on London road. The car is king no one ever aspires to travel by bike or bus.

Fed up resident
2023-11-12 18:39:31

Just scrap the whole HGGT concept in its entirety and do us all a favour

Kim Oconnor
2023-11-12 19:38:24

Fed up resident.. Well said.

Stephen James
2023-11-13 01:40:00

The county council propose to spend £170 million pounds on a corridor from Gilston to Harlow town centre. While most of the rest of Harlow suffer a poor bus service. Bloody typical !

2023-11-13 08:25:23

Is this the same Bouygues UK who built Phase 1 of the Gascoigne Estate Regeneration just FOUR years ago, where a balcony collapse over the weekend has declared all 414 property's balconies as unsafe? I hope due diligence is done when awarding any contracts.

Keith Elliot
2023-11-13 09:30:11

Only done to get170 million off taxpayers money and more to Tory contractor mates before next election why they what it done and dusted January next year. But saying that something needs doing as just to many cars now known mattter how many roads you build.

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