Harlow’s Conservative Councillors have agreed the Planning Application for the new Stort river crossing. It’s ironic that politicians in this country will often decry those in other countries for not protecting the environment and yet, when it comes to the same issue here, they take a very different approach.

The creation of the Harlow and Gilston Garden Town in 2017 saw plans to develop Green Belt land on the Northern boundary of Harlow being brought forward. A development of some 10,000 homes in so called 7 villages, schools, shops and leisure facilities will feature on the site, none of it in Harlow or indeed even Essex.

To try and mitigate the huge increase in traffic that this development will bring a new ‘Eastern’ river crossing will be built across the Stort Valley from close to Pye Corner to Riverway. The existing central crossing will see dedicated bus lanes, a cycle track and footpath being built from Harlow to the new development. They will have a huge effect on the peace and tranquility of the area and of course untold damage to the environment and wildlife in and round the river.

The Harlow Alliance Party objected to these proposals, viable alternatives have been put forward, what is really needed is a Northern by-pass for the town, indeed a good case can be made for a Southern by-pass. It should also be noted that there will be no roads heading North from the Development, all the traffic will have to enter and exit from the development via the A414.


The Harlow Alliance Party are the ONLY Party to have been arguing the case to save the towns Green Belt from Development whilst at the same time objecting to greenfield sites in Harlow from being developed.

We expressed our objections to the Planning Inspector looking at the Local Development Plan of Epping Forest DC (EFDC), which if agreed will see thousands of homes built on the Southern and Western borders of Harlow. Both LABOUR AND CONSERVATIVE Parties agreed to the formation of the Harlow and Gilston Garden Town (HGGT) in 2017, without first consulting with residents in Harlow and did little else to consult with residents here when formulating its own Plan. The three Councils involved with the creation of HGGT failed to consult with residents in Harlow despite the proposed development being in some cases just 12 feet from the gardens of homes in Harlow (picture).


Of all the issues members of HAP have been spoken about by residents, the lack of tree maintenance by the Council has been the most common. Trees planted across the town decades ago were often placed to close to homes and are now both intrusive and likely to cause damage to property. For many years the Council had no planned maintenance programme, being re-active when serious incidents had occurred rather than having a pro-active programme of work to ensure that problems did not occur.

This issue was taken up by HAP with Councillors, who in due course recognised that  the problems experienced by residents could no longer be ignored and as a result began work to put together a planned maintenance programme.


Councils are of course always looking to raise cash to fund projects and one way of doing that is to sell some of its assets. The Harlow Alliance Party has helped residents living in many areas across the town to take action to ensure that green spaces near their homes are protected from being sold by the Council to property developers.

Such action involves at least twenty residents coming together and making an application to the Council for what is known as a Community Right to Bid (CRB), which makes the case that if the Council seek to sell land to a property developer, it has to offer the land (valued in its existing state) to residents in the community. Successful applications are then registered by the Council (a list can be found on the Councils website) for future reference.

The sites where the Harlow Alliance Party helped residents to successfully seek a CRB are at Wellesley, Fennells, Deer Park, Pollard Hatch, Church Leys, Hawthorns, St Andrews Meadow, Jocelyns, Radburn Close and Greygoose Park (pictured).


The Harlow Alliance Party was the ONLY Party to object to several greenfield sites being lost to development . We argued the case successfully when we met the Planning Inspector tasked with looking at Harlow Council’s Local Development Plan for the future of town. In December 2020 the Labour controlled Council had to bow to the Planning Inspectors recommendations to remove these sites.

The fields saved from development are at Deer Park, St Andrews Meadow, Jocelyns, Maples, Radburn Close, Barn Mead and Fennells (pictured).