Letter to Editor: Council sits back while Gilston developers leave locals 1700 affordable homes short

News / Sun 19th Nov 2023 at 08:58am

Dear Editor,

TO read* that local people have been denied 1700 affordable homes due to a decision by East Herts Council to approve a planning application which does not meet local affordable housing policy is one thing. 

To find that the Gilston developer will pocket £130m extra by not building these affordable homes adds insult to injury.

To learn that more precious Green Belt will now have to be lost to build affordable housing in the future, is the nail in the coffin.

Now that the council has been presented with an independent report, it must rectify the situation.

Residents should be put first, not developer profits. All councils, including East Herts, must do their job to scrutinise developer planning applications thoroughly to ensure the best outcome for their residents and to avoid situations like this occurring.  Government must close the viability loophole that allows developers to make and break promises.

Yours faithfully

Rosie Pearson

Chairman, Community Planning Alliance

*Gilston developers set for huge windfall by scrapping plans to build 1,700 affordable homes claim property consultants – Your Harlow

Website: https://www.communityplanningalliance.org/

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13 Comments for Letter to Editor: Council sits back while Gilston developers leave locals 1700 affordable homes short:

2023-11-19 09:57:40

Well said Rosie. Not only is this project so off the rails as far as affordable housing is concerned (Harlow gets no benefit) Harlow gets more pollution, more congestion, more overload and to add insult to injury our natural nature reserve, the Stort River Valley will be ecological damaged and our hospital is being moved out of town into neighbouring Epping district. Nationally it's time to bring back Council housing and begin a programme of building new garden towns as was done after ww2.

Kim Oconnor
2023-11-19 10:21:32

Rosie, This is exactly what I said yesterday.. And what I've been saying for a long time.. Developers should not have the last say,, if they don't get there own way, there chuck it back to government where its approved...It's not right and its not just. Greed should never come before needs, never.. This is happening all over the place... Time for a judicial review.. All so if councils listened to public opinions and not ignore us, which they all did.... All theses councils s signed and sealed this, knowing this could happen... If you all carry on like this ,and let this happen time and time again.. I'm not religious, but god help us,for future generations... stop this greed. Stop theses big fat greedy Developers getting there own way. Harlow gains nothing from this, nothing, only destruction and disruption..

Nicholas Taylor
2023-11-19 10:47:03

Any comment from our Councillors here in Harlow? The silence is deafening. A huge amount of work was done by Councils to identify housing need in their area (which in reality is just bringing more people to an area), part of which identified the number of affordable housing needed. The developers have ripped up the number of such homes to be built, reducing the number by almost half. But it does not stop there of course, Harlow Councillors have allowed developers in Harlow to do the same, indeed in some instances given Planning Permission without any affordable housing. A quick look at Rightmove shows over 400 homes are for sale in the area, less than 40 for rent. So where is the real housing need?

2023-11-19 11:12:52

This should be a legal requirement and developments should be prohibited if they fail to meet their obligations . It just shows that they really don't give a toss about those literally struggling to get by. Add to that the plan to get rid of band 4 on the housing list because people on it apparently 'have a preference for social housing rather than renting privately'. Well at least all those well to do people who have the audacity to wait for 10s of years on the housing list can use all that free money, they currently prefer not to spend on housing, on one of these. Sigh

Michael Hardware
2023-11-19 12:23:57

Despairing, in Harlow, developers are held to account: only last month we applied for an injunction against Barratt, Persimmon and Taylor Wimpey for failure to deliver their obligations on Gilden Park, an unprecedented step, possibly the first time such action has been taken. Although Gilston is in East Herts, we will be pressing them to hold developers to their obligations there. Especially as most of the benefits come to Harlow!

2023-11-19 15:42:04

Michael what you see as benefits for Harlow aren't what most of us who have lived here for a very long time see as an accelerated part of the decline in quality of life and services that started about 35 years ago. How can overloading the town with traffic, 16 story clusters of hi rise flats, killing the tranquil ecology of the Stort River Valley, increasing the flood / sewage flood risks, not securing the hundreds of affordable homes for Harlow and moving PAH out of town into Epping be benefits?

2023-11-19 15:50:52

Michael have they started to honour their obligations ? Are they involved in any other developments around the town ? What is going to be done to prevent residents of all these developments that aren't under Harlow using Harlow healthcare facilities where there are no plans to provide their own?

Kim Oconnor
2023-11-19 17:29:39

Michael Hardware, I would like you to tell us all, what benifts come to Harlow.... who the hell does this benift... please do tell us all.

2023-11-19 20:58:58

Talking about Road congestion in Harlow just look at Howard Way, it's a total mess, especially at the weekend Endless traffic jams as housing developers profit from building unaffordable housing, and the underdeveloped road infrastructure is unable to support increased traffic flow, the system is corrupt. the politician should be made accountable for their decision, central and local.

2023-11-19 21:21:29

These houses will all be sold off at 15% more that the existing house prices in the area as they always are more expensive than the older houses in the area and it will be a case of the expense house will sit on the top of hill for the development where they will least be effected by the bad weather and the cheapest ones will be seated at the bottom absorbing all the flooding. The roads in the area will be far worse off for logistics as we already know that the infrastructure isn't there and never will be. What makes me laugh Harlow council the can name change road to Zelensky Avenue but still can't repair the pot holes down Elizabeth way Brunt mill towards the Football stadium. The development should never have been allowed too begin with too many brown envelopes.Harlow is a dilapidated area that needs a huge investment for re developing to it's existing properties, shopping precinct and the railway station needs a major facelift. If you're thinking of building houses you get your transportation sorted 1st...train lines for network rail and TFL should have been a priority.

2023-11-20 00:36:46

Darren is absolutely right, we simply can't continue to build homes without upgrading the basic infrastructure, those new homes need Schools, Healthcare, sports and social facilities, the roads and transport in Harlow are in an appalling state of disrepair, and gridlocked traffic is a regular occurrence, Maybe we need to start electing politicians who actually listen to the views of those who elect them.

Kim Oconnor
2023-11-20 08:49:34

Michael Hardware gone quite, funny that. 😂

Kim Oconnor
2023-11-23 09:18:34

OK Michael Hardware, I except that you avoided this question.. Because you know none of this, on our boarders benift Harlow...

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