The Harlow and Gilston Garden Town will connect Harlow’s communities with four new garden neighbourhoods, each of which will bring forward new, well-designed and affordable homes to the local area.
The Gilston Garden Town will be made up of seven new garden villages delivering 10,000 new homes with supporting community infrastructure, travel and mobility infrastructure and set within a sensitively landscaped environment.
The villages will be connected to Harlow Town Centre by a new sustainable travel network comprising of dedicated bus, walking and cycling links, which is planned to commence alongside the development of the first villages.
These are called Sustainable Transport Corridors, or STCs for short.
We aim to fully integrate the STCs with a network of public and active travel routes with an overall objective of achieving 60% of journeys from the new villages being made by walking, cycling or public transport rather than by private vehicles. For the whole Garden Town area the target is 50% of journeys to be made by walking, cycling or public transport in the longer term.
The Gilston Garden Villages will respect the natural assets of the River Stort and its floodplain as a green corridor, preserving its current flora and fauna and providing an opportunity to enhance the biodiversity of the river and its flood plain habitats by supporting a sustainable and well managed future.
There are two proposed River Stort Crossings which are identified in Development Plans as being critical to provide the public transport, walking and cycling infrastructure required to connect the seven Gilston Garden Villages with the Harlow Town Centre. The first of the Crossings will expand the current inadequate A414 bridge with an enhanced crossing (the Central Stort Crossing).
The second new crossing is proposed to the East of the A414 crossing and will connect Pye Corner with Eastwick Road (the Eastern Stort Crossing).
The construction and engineering activities will be designed to avoid disturbing the river and its bank habitats. Should planning permissions be granted for the Crossings, it is anticipated that conditions will be applied to both projects to ensure the environment is protected.
To mitigate the loss of floodplain used in widening the existing A414 bridge crossing, it is proposed that new areas of wetland and floodplain habitat will be created by converting two areas of land from grassland to wetland.
This will be created by lowering ground levels and planting with species more suitable to the wetland environment.
The new Eastern Stort Crossing has been designed to work with the floodplain by being located on land between waterbodies but raised on elevated structures (large culverts and an open span bridge). As proposed the bridge then spans over the Stort Navigation.
The initial funding for the crossings will come from a government grant and this will forward fund the infrastructure work that is required to enable the housing growth and the active and sustainable travel initiative. The local authority partners will then collect planning contribution money from developers to forward fund the next round of infrastructure and complete the STC network. The money collected will create a Rolling Fund that will be available to benefit the residents of the Harlow area for years to come.
It is important that residents submit any comments they have to make about the potential impact of the Crossings with the Planning teams at East Herts and Harlow Councils. This is so the Planners can ensure that appropriate conditions, commitments and mitigation can be clearly set out, as part of any permissions, to ensure that the River Stort and its flood plain are not only protected but enhanced where possible, if it is determined that planning permission can be granted for the developments.
East Herts and Harlow Councils will comprehensively assess the planning applications for the Crossings against adopted planning policy and comments raised by the local community, in order to make an informed recommendation on the proposals for the Crossings and to enable democratic and objective decision making by their planning committees.
Although the formal consultation stage ended in January you can still make a comment on the Stort Crossings via the East Herts Council planning portal:
Use the following reference numbers 3/19/1046/FUL – expanded A414 crossing (also known as the Central Stort Crossing) and 3/19/1051/FUL – new crossing (also known as the Eastern Stort Crossing).
All comments are read, recorded and published.