You may have seen some fluorescent yellow planning notices appearing outside.
After long discussions with the council, developers Places for People have finally made revisions to their major planning applications: an outline application for 8,500 new homes, and full applications for two roads (a Central Stort Crossing and Eastern Stort Crossing).
3/19/1045/OUT (127 new documents)
3/19/1046/FUL (95 new documents)
3/19/1051/FUL (109 new Documents)
There are some big, big changes from the original applications, and they’ll affect us all.
Despite the lack of door-to-door notice from the council or developers, the current consultation period has already started and will run for just four weeks, ending at 5pm on Monday, December 21, 2020.
With COVID-19 restrictions still in place, there are plans for two Q&A sessions via Zoom: on Wednesday, December 2 at 6pm-9pm and Saturday, December 5 at 10am-1pm.
To gain access to those sessions you’ll have to email email@example.com at least 24 hours in advance.
Four weeks during a lockdown in the run-up to Christmas is much too short a time for residents to have a fair chance to comment, especially given the months-long delay in finally getting these changes together.
Here at your Neighbourhood Plan Group we will be formally making that point on behalf of the community and seeking an extension.
We also encourage you to let the council know that it would be fairer for us all to have more time to look over these significant changes before commenting, so drop them a quick email to say as much.
What’s more, the landowner for “Village 7” (around 1,500 new homes) is planning to submit its own amended application in December, and is apparently also planning a four-week consultation running over Christmas and New Year.
It isn’t acceptable, and we need to let the council know that.
Your Neighbourhood Plan
At the same time as all of the above, your Neighbourhood Plan has been undergoing independent examination.
We had an eight hour Zoom meeting with the Examiner this week. He wants us to make some changes and refinements, and we need to get them completed in the next four weeks.
Planning law encourages communities to make a Neighbourhood Plan and we know it’s a vital step for the protection of our community.
All the volunteers in your Neighbourhood Plan Group will be pulling out all the stops to get those changes made to make sure your Plan is passed and up for referendum next Spring.
As if four major planning applications and Neighbourhood Plan examination weren’t enough, there are four more consultations that have been snuck out relating to transport, sustainability and healthy living for the new Harlow and Gilston Garden Town.
All of these need responses in the next few weeks and with limited resources and funding it’s a lot for our small group to be getting on with.
I want to thank all of the members of the Neighbourhood Plan Group – and all of you – for your hard work and support on all these matters to help protect and improve our community.
Anthony Bickmore, Chair Neighbourhood Plan Group
21st November 2020