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Harlow Council vows never to sell land to help Epping with housing

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Harlow Borough Council has pledged never to sell land for huge developments amounting to thousands of homes targeted by neighbouring Epping Forest District Council.

Harlow will submit a formal objection to Epping Forest Council’s local development plan after councillors voted unanimously for a motion setting outs its concerns on Thursday.

Epping’s proposals for the Water Lane sites on the eastern boundary of Harlow would provide around 2,100 new homes, and another 1,050 homes are being allocated on the Latton Priory site to the south.

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The plan is currently being examined by the Planning Inspectorate, which will decide whether it is deliverable.

The motion, proposed by Cllr Russell Perrin, who is responsible for finance and governance, said: “This council recognises the huge concerns many residents have about the proposed developments around Harlow, including Sumners West, Katherines West, Latton Priory and to the east of Harlow.

“There are worries that these developments will overwhelm the existing town transport infrastructure, services and amenities.

“In particular, these concerns surround transport links in west and south Harlow, the lack of capacity on Southern Way, Water Lane, Broadley Road and the B181 Epping Road, and the potential impact on local medical and education services.

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“The proposed strategic housing site to the east of Harlow, and those developments already taking place on Gilden Way and the new M11 junction, will add additional impact upon the residents of Old Harlow who understandably continue to raise objections about the proposals for further new housing.”

The council motion adds that “it will not sell or lease any land or rights of way which it possesses that may assist in the development of Sumners West or any other developments to the south or west of Harlow”.

Cllr Perrin said at the meeting: “I want to be utterly clear that this administration is not against building new homes.

“Building new homes is vital. There is a housing shortage in this country and its important for anyone who wants to get on the housing ladder – be it if they want to own their own home or rent their own home.

“There needs to be housing and we recognise there is a shortage and that is why this group has always proposed development to the north and much as I would prefer it didn’t have to be that way personally that seems to be the most sensible place because it has the infrastructure there and has the space to be able to accommodate the level of housing we need.

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“But in building homes we shouldn’t forget residents who already lived there and it shouldn’t be race to the bottom and not a numbers game.”

Cllr Nigel Bedford, deputy leader and responsible for planning and sustainability at Epping Forest District Council said the council would not be commenting.

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