Community Right to Bid – November Update

At the beginning of October residents supported by The Harlow Alliance Party submitted a CRB in respect of land which is part of Parndon Wood Nature Reserve, opposite 144 to 154 Fennells.

We are pleased to report that this Bid has been accepted and will be placed on Harlow Council’s Register of applications so that if they decide to ever sell this land they will have to give the community 6 months in which to accept such an offer.

A further two applications have been submitted for other sites in the town, four others are in the planning stage.

Community Right To Bid – Update

Following Harlow Council’s acceptance of the Community Right to Bid (CRB) made by residents living near Water Lane Playing Field (adjacent to Deer Park) a further three applications have now been submitted to the Council, these are in respect of land at Hawthorns, Jocelyns and Fennells.

The Council will have to respond to these requests by Christmas. In the meantime an additional four bids are being put together, all of which will be submitted in the near future. These are in respect of land at Pollard Hatch, Barn Mead, Radburn Close and St Andrews Meadow.

Community Right to Bid – Land adjacent to Deer Park

Back in July, with the support of 21 residents, Party Leader Nicholas Taylor made a Community Right to Bid to Harlow Council in respect of land known as Water Lane Playing Field, which lies adjacent to Deer Park. The Council had a deadline of eight weeks in which to respond and almost at the end of this period they have written back to say this application has been agreed and will be put on the Council’s register of such requests.

So what does this mean? Well if the Council ever decided to sell this land they MUST give the community the chance to buy or lease the land, which in effect means that it would never be built on.

This is only the second piece of land which has been entered onto the Council’s register since such applications could be made in 2011,

The Harlow Alliance Party believe the Council will never have the resources to build hundreds of council homes in the space of two or three years unless they sell off some of the sites identified in their Local Plan, hence the action the Party is taking now.

With the help of the Harlow Alliance Party another seven applications will be made in the coming weeks on behalf of residents living near Fennells, Jocelyns, Radburn Close, St Andrews Meadow, Barn Mead, Pollard Hatch and Hawthorns.

The Harlow Alliance Party, a Party for LOCAL people not POLITICIANS wedded to Westminster

Epping Forest District Council’s Local Plan update

Ms Louise Phillips MA MSc MRTPI the Government appointed independent Inspector of the Epping Forest District Council’s Local Plan published an interim report on 2 August.

The document runs to 21 pages in which she makes numerous observations and suggested changes which included what are known as “main modifications” to make the plan legally sound and the removal of sites which have been identified by the Council as ones on which new homes will be built in the next decade or so. The former will require consultation with residents and others before they can be finalised.

Whilst there is specific reference to the site to the East of Harlow and Latton Priory, both of which remain in the Plan, there is no mention of the plans for West Sumners and Katherines.

The full report can be found here, points 10 and 11 are of particular note:

Point 10 says “The Council’s modifications are again late and are controversial”. 

Point 11, The first sentence notes the lack of consultation and concerns about the infrastructure requirements.

Plans to expand Stansted Airport delayed by Uttlesford District Council

The decision made by Uttlesford District Council (UDC) on 28 June clearly demonstrates that a Political Party formed by local residents to represent the views of local residents really can make a difference.

Back in late 2018 Councillors at UDC decided to accept the recommendation of it’s officers and agree that the airport could significantly increase the number of passenger using the airport. A vote was taken when 5 Councillors agreed to the proposal and 5 objected, the final decision to proceed was made by the chairperson of the committee.

In May’s Local Elections, the Residents for you Party (R4U) swept the board, replacing the Conservative Councillors on the committee. With fresh evidence and a mandate from local residents the R4U Party reversed the earlier decision and undertook to consider new material evidence including the UK Carbon Net Zero 2050 Legislation.

The issue of airport capacity has been well documented in the national and local press for at least 3 decades. Despite quieter and cleaner aircraft, the inescapable fact is that aircraft are a major contributor of pollution and will never be anything but when compared to other forms of transport. The issue has been a political hot potatoe during this whole time, governments obsessed with growth in the economy have continued to ignore the airports damaging effect on the countryside, the loss of farm land and the health and well being of residents under or near flight paths.

R4U is just one of a growing number of examples where new local Parties are making a difference. The Harlow Alliance Party is working hard to ensure that residents in Harlow are given a choice as to how the town is managed in the future.

ON YOUR BIKE OR HARLOW’S ROADS GET GRIDLOCKED!

A Public Enquiry was held by a Planning Inspector at the Latton Bush Centre on Tuesday 11 June. HAP and one Conservative Councillor attended the enquiry in the public gallery along with just 15 people, testament to the failure of Essex County Council’s e publicity in attracting residents to this important event. The Planning Inspector will we feel sure have noted this poor turnout.

The Harlow Alliance Party learnt that the new roads that feed into the new Junction 7a of the M11 from Harlow will not be able to cope with traffic from all the proposed new developments in and around Harlow and Gilston Garden Town unless 60% of residents, who now live or will occupy the new dwellings. use sustainable transport. If this percentage of change in transportation is not reached it is likely our roads will become gridlocked. So residents will be expected to abandon their cars and cycle, walk or use Rapid Transport Buses to avoid gridlock on our roads. The sustainable transport policy is an aspiration of Essex County Council whose officers put forward the case for such a scheme to the Planning Inspector

The new junction which it was suggested will be completed by 2022 was designed to ease congestion in Harlow as well as permit further planning consent for developments in the Enterprise Zone thus hopefully creating more jobs. It has secured funded for the construction of the junction from contributions by Highways England (£41.7M), South East Local Enterprise Partnership (£10.5M), with the remainder coming from Essex County Council and 106 agreements from planning applications to the Local Authorities.

The new and improved roads to be constructed are to accommodate traffic from the A414 in both directions and from proposed new developments, using a new road crossing the River Stort and railway into Riverway and then on to Edinburgh Way and Gilden Way which then feeds into the new M11 junction.

HAP is very disappointed that funding has not been found for a Northern By-Pass which many agree would be a much better option, serving motorists or lorries who are not looking to enter Harlow and Gilston Garden Town but to by-pass it to reach locations outside of the town.

The Planning Inspector will now put his findings in respect the Plan’s legality and viability to The Minister of Transport for final decision.

Latton Priory, West of Sumners and West Of Katherines …

The Harlow Alliance Party has been attending the Epping Forest District Council Local Plan (EFLP) Examination.

The EFLP Examination commenced on 12 February and is due to finish on 12 June. Another week of evidence was presented to the inspector this week. On Thursday 23rd participants spent much of the day talking about the infrastructure requirements needed to ensure that the proposed Plan was legally sound.

In view of information obtained whilst attending the Harlow District Council Local Plan Hearing the Leader and Deputy Leader of HAP made a late request to the Inspector of the Epping Plan to be allowed to participate on 23 May and this was granted just a few days before the hearing took place.

Most of the discussion were about the Plans proposal to provide new and improved sustainable transport (buses, cycling and walking) options in order to reduce the need for both existing and new residents to use their cars to get around the area. These proposals include the huge amount of work being proposed to create new electrified bus and tramways through Harlow.

Figures within documents supporting the Plan clearly show that despite attempts to reduce car journeys during the Plan period (the next 13 years or so), many roads and junctions which are already close to or are at capacity will become even more congested in the future leading to tailbacks measured in kilometres. Numerous speakers including representatives from Essex County Council, The Epping Society and The City of London Conservators all expressed concerns that the Plan was not sound (it did not provide sufficient plans to mitigate this problem).

I as leader of The Harlow Alliance Party made the point that residents in Harlow were already expressing concerns about the congestion on Harlow’s roads, the difficulty in getting doctors appointments, the long wait to be seen at A&E at PAH and schools being at bursting point. The Plan for Harlow already notes that in excess of 1600 new homes are planned in addition to those required by the Government and that unless even more infrastructure is put in place (to accommodate these extra numbers) then by the end of the term period (2031) things will be even worse than they are now.

It should be noted that the Harlow and Gilston Garden Town proposals have been costed at £1.7 billion. Of this, there is a funding shortfall of £141 million. Although this is apparently not unusual with such large schemes, concern was expressed by many of the participants at the Examination that much of the infrastructure proposals may end up being just wishful thinking.

Finally, it beggars belief that HAP and The Loughton Residents Association were the only Political Parties attending these meetings, perhaps members of the Conservative and Labour Parties had other things on their mind!

Off street parking

Complaints about the lack of parking spaces on housing estates across Harlow was a very common one heard by members of HAP when out and about talking to residents before the recent Council elections.

The Council recently announced that it was to commence a programme of providing new off street parking and would invite residents to contact them with suggestions as to where such parking spaces could be constructed.

HAP welcomes this initiative and would encourage our readers to contact the Council if they have any such suggestions to make. There will obviously be some areas where residents might object to the proposals or where for physical reasons it is not possible to provide such spaces, however any scheme that is successful in making it both easier and safer to park must be most welcome.

Trees in Market Square

Having spent more that £250,000 last year on work to improve Market Square, the Labour Group at Harlow Council recently agreed to spend another £50,000 on planting trees in and around the square.

Many residents will remember the outcry that took place some years ago when the Council purchased at great expense a number of red ‘tubs’ which were placed in the square, into which trees were planted. Due to a lack of care these trees soon perished.

Residents whose homes suffer from damage caused by tree roots will be well aware that the outcome of planting trees in Market Square will be damage to surrounding paving. Surely such planting should have taken place before any new surfaces were laid, taking care that the design ensured that enough space was left so that damage in the future did not occur?

And £50,000 …… really?

2019 Local Elections

The Party made significant gains in the number of votes it received in the four Wards which it contested at yesterday’s Local Elections.

Party leader Nicholas Taylor reflected on the hard work undertaken by Party members and volunteers in the last month. He said that whilst the Party did not win any seats this time, the increase in the number of votes and the reaction of the other Parties to our campaign clearly indicated that the campaign was a success and lessons will be learnt from 2019 which will be taken forward into 2020.


He went on to say that the total of 1333 votes across the four Wards showed that the Party’s message was resonating with many residents across the town and he thanked them for their support.

The results are as follows:

Great Parndon
Harlow Alliance 416
Conservative 681
Labour 388

Sumners and Kingsmoor
Harlow Alliance 405
Conservative 578
Labour 429

Old Harlow
Harlow Alliance 311
Conservative 969
Labour 569

Harlow Common
Harlow Alliance 201
Conservative 381
Labour 647
UKIP 294