Why do we object to the Local Development Plan of EFDC?
Parts of the Plan will materially affect the residents of Harlow, indeed only the residents of Harlow. Whilst residents living across the whole of the EFDC area were consulted during the creation of the Plan, no attempt was made by either EFDC or HDC to advise let alone consult with residents in Harlow.
We believe that as a prelude to the creation of the Harlow and Gilston Garden Town, Harlow’s boundary should have been changed to reflect this new town so that decisions made about the future of the land around it was in the hands of Harlow residents and our elected representatives and not those in Epping and Hertford
Much of the land is effectively Harlow’s Green Belt. In order to mitigate the effect of building thousands of homes just over it’s border, new methods of transport and new routes criss-crossing the town are being proposed. This will materially affect many of us who already live and work in Harlow if only because many of these new homes will literally be just a few dozen yards from homes in Harlow.
We believe EFDC had a moral duty to consult with the residents of Harlow as part of its work to create it’s Local Development Plan.
What is a Local Development Plan?
Every Council is required to produce a Local Development Plan which sets out where development can take place within its area, during a period usually 10 to 12 years in the future, giving certainty to developers looking to build homes, businesses and other buildings.
The Council will use data from a wide variety of sources to provide evidence to support proposals for future development. It will need to consult with all interested parties including residents. In due course a Planning Inspector appointed by the Government will examine the Plan, hold public Hearings and in due course the Council will adopt the final version of the Plan
Councils are required to work collectively with neighbouring Councils and an agreement to do so was signed several years ago to help create The Harlow and Gilston Garden Town. Despite this agreement, each of the Council’s involved, Harlow (HDC), Epping Forest (EFDC) and East Herts (EH) developed their own Plans, at different times, consulting residents and others in different ways and with different priorities. The EH Plan was adopted in 2018, HDC’s in December 2020 and to date the EFDC Plan has not been finalised.
Why is it important?
The building of 4000 homes just over Harlow’s border will give a huge financial boost to EFDC by way of the New Homes Bonus paid by Government when a Council allows new homes to be built and also by the Council Tax paid by the residents of these new homes. Despite the fact that the creation of The Harlow and Gilston Garden Town is meant in part to regenerate Harlow’s town centre by increasing the number of potential visitors, none of this new income will benefit Harlow Council.
Public services provided to the residents of the Garden Town area will as things stand be provided by three District Councils and two County Council’s, each with their own priorities, methods of providing services and funding streams.
We believe this gives added weight to the creation of just one District Council area, helping to create one inclusive community.
What needs to happen?
Residents in Harlow should take the opportunity to object to the EFDC Plan on the grounds that they should have been formally informed and consulted about it because of the effect it will have on them and where they live. The Plan forms part of the creation of Harlow and Gilston Garden Town, effectively a new expanded community around Harlow.
The Harlow Alliance Party is writing to the Rt. Hon. Robert Jenrick MP, Minister for Housing, Communities and Local Government to appeal against the Plan. You can read the letter here.
By signing this petition you will be joining those of us who object to the way this Plan has been created and seeking to get the Plan withdrawn.
What areas are affected by the EFDC Local Development Plan
The EFDC Local Development Plan earmarks land to the Western, Southern and Eastern borders of Harlow for development as shown in the images below.