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Welcome to Roy's Harlow 

Harlow is a town in the South East of England in the County of Essex.
The town is about 26 miles from the centre of London and 12 miles from Stansted airport.
Harlow is on the borders of the county of Essex and the county of Hertfordshire, so close that while standing in Harlow you can have a foot in both counties.
Harlow has all of the amenities you would expect of a modern town.
Sports are well catered for,it has a Athletics track ,plus a new wet and dry centre Leisure Zone replacing the former swimming pool and sportcentre.
Industry is diverse, many firms taking advantage of the M11 and the nearby A10 linking Harlow with London, Cambridge, Stansted Airport and the M25 & A14.
Harlow now has two enterprise zones.

Harlow was one of the first new towns constructed since the Second World War.
In 2017 Harlow "new town" celebrated it's 70th birthday.

Harlow's current population is around 93,000 but the immediate local area population would be well over 100,000.
Harlow's population is increasing daily, with over 25,000 new homes built or planned in the area but not the infrastructure to cope with any additional traffic.

In the 1950's the majority of the new town settlers came from North London, around Tottenham, Edmonton and Walthamstow, consequently there are a lot of Tottenham Hotspurs fans within the town.
With so many Spurs fans in Harlow there is a Spurs shop in the Harvey Centre, Spurs Store location map.
When it comes to retail there are two main shopping areas, The High, (town centre) Map and Temple Fields Industrial Estate Map where the larger "out of town" warehouse type shops are.

Harlow Public transport links:

Harlow is served by two stations, Harlow Town and Harlow Mill linking to London and Cambridge, neither station is in the town centre.
In London the train terminates at Liverpool Street and Stratford Stations, the trains are operated by Greater Anglia
HarlowRide links to all the bus time tables and routes around Harlow.
Metro Cars   offer a licensed Private Hire mini cab service. Harlow Black Taxis

Harlow is the main town in the area for the emergency services, the fire and rescue , police and the East of England Paramedic Service all use it for their main local base.
The Police have the Western divisional headquarters in Harlow, covering the areas of Epping, Brentwood, Ongar and as far South as Chigwell.
The Police station is closed of a night time, the best place to find a police officer is the A & E department at the hospital where it seems there is always one or two cars parked up.

Princess Alexandra Hospital 

The hospital, Princess Alexandra is the main accident and emergency hospital for the area.
Care Quality Commission report on Princess Alexandra Hospital 

At the Conservative Party conference September 19th 2019 it was announced Princess Alexandra Hospital Trust will get the funding to build a new hospital next to M11 junction 7a to the East of Harlow, in Sheering, which is part of Epping Rural District Council.
This means Epping will now have two hospitals, with all of the benefits, Harlow just gets the traffic.
Looking at the prospect of a new hospital to the East of Harlow I will welcome the drop in noise pollution, I will not have sirens that exceed 90 decibels passing my front door all the time, though I think the residents of Old Harlow, Gilden Park, New Hall,Felmongers etc will soon tire of the noise.
Thursday 25th May 2023, Conservative government promised to build a new hospital,this time by 2030, “fully-funded” new hospital with construction to start in 2025.
Princess Alexandra Hospital Trust spent money with a new Princess Alexandra Hospital website long before any updated announcement.
I do hope there is enough parking spaces for staff and public on the new site.
I hope they build enough car parking spaces for the staff who are not local and do not have a direct public transport link to Harlow; currently, the hospital has around 600 spaces for staff and has around 3,000 staff.
The public also face a problem, currently PAH are dealing with patients from 25 miles away without a direct public transport link to Harlow.

The new hospital will be of modular construction, allowing more modulars to be added at a later date, well that is the theory.
The proposed site was flooded in January 2024, global warming will make flooding worse.

I do hope the modular construction and the oversight of its building will be better than the new Sir Frederick Gibbard College.
The build was overseen by The Conservative Education Department.
It was forced to close the building in September 2023 because of bad building practices by Caledonian Modular, the original architect walked away because of this.
The Sir Frederick Gibbard College is now only operating in temporary classrooms.

The Conservative government Education Department chose to demolish the existing but mothballed 1960's built secondary school, Passmores, which was named after the nearby (grade one) Passmores House.
The Conservative Government find themselves having to spend more taxpayers money to demolish a second school on the site; their new school, Sir Frederick Gibbard College.
The Conservative Government hope to have rebuilt the new School/ College by 2027.
, I hope they change the College name, I think Sir Frederick Gibbard would not want his name attatched to such a mess.
*note:The former Brays Grove Secondary School was rebuilt and renamed Passmores, which is miles away from Passmores House.*

Harlow's Future

The Conservative Party decided to free up even more green belt land for housing
to the North, South, West and East of Harlow.
It is a developers dream, just build the 23,000 homes around Harlow
Then raise the population to around 220,000.
Harlow taxpayers will have to provide services and facilities.

Harlow & Gilston Town has nothing to do with Harlow

To call a Conservative-run East Hertfordshire council new development, Harlow seems to me to be an insult to Harlow residents.
It is just using the same name, Harlow, as a previous East Hertfordshire proposed failed development project with 20,000 houses, called "Harlow North" in another East Hertfordshire village of Hunsdon.
Conservative-run East Hertfordshire council and the developers, Places for People together with builders Taylor Wimpey have taken the name Harlow and made it their own.
There is a significant difference between Harlow New Town and Gilston Town.
Harlow New Town was built for a population of 60,000 by the Labour party using council houses,it was built on the same principles as Ebenezer Howard’s garden towns, using zoning of areas.
There will not be any council housing in Gilston Garden Town, just some social housing owned by Places for People.
Now that planning has been given, Gilston Town has some diminishing "affordable housing" totals amongst its 10,000 homes.

A representative of Gilston Town stated there will be another bridge at the Burnt Mill roundabout, linking together with the Eastwick roundabout.
Both roundabouts will have traffic lights on them, giving priority to buses, Mini Cabs,Taxis, Motorcyclists, cyclists and pedestrians.

The proposed road is a single-lane road from Harlow Town Centre to Eastwick roundabout in Hertfordshire.
There will be a second lane for Mini Cabs,Taxis,Buses and Motorcyclists.

It doesn't look good for Harlow's Sainsbury's store, as customers will have to battle through all of the Strategic transport corridor traffic lights and the bus lanes to reach it, then struggle to leave Sainsbury's as the road is blocked by traffic.

The representative stated There will be a bus every six minutes from Gilston Town to Harlow Station and Harlow Town Centre.
Comment: It looks great for Gilston but there was no mention of Harlow getting the same kind of bus service.
The representative went on to say there will be a 40 mph speed limit on the A414 next to the village of Eastwick, with traffic lights for a pedestrian crossing. 

A posible civil servant dream job 

This plan has been in the background for over a decade it is a Conservative Government plan.
If this project ever gets built, there will be Five Councils and Three Members of Parliament.

All presiding over the electorate, to date they are nearly all Conservative, only the East Hertfordshire Council changed to the Green party in 2023 local elections.

Comment: I thought we left the European Union to "take back control", this just looks like another bureaucratic "bun fest" with loads of meetings about meetings with lots of taxpayers money lost to time.
With such a large collection of politicians and civil servants, holding the Harlow local elections seem pointless to me, it is a " fait accompli".
The outcome for Harlow has already been decided, and in my opinion it is a bad outcome.

Comment:Heads up!
The Constituency boundaries have changed; it is a massive change in favour of the Conservatives.
It does not show up using the "Members of Parliament Constituencies" which seems to use most of the old Constituency boundaries, but now using Ordinance Survey Map of General Elections it makes the Harlow Constituency area massive.
Harlow Constituency now extends from near Broxbourne station to beyond Great Canfield, just outside Great Dunmow.
Industrial Harlow Constituency is more rural than ever, taking in both Hatfield Heath and Hatfield Broad Oak, and White Roding.
To the North, it reaches Junction 8 on the M11, and to the South, Lower Nazeing.

See Ordinance Survey Map of General Elections (In use at the next General Election)

I cannot link directly to the Constituency boundaries but I have used pub postal codes so that you can.
Just click on the box that says “Future Westminster Constituencies" (In use at the next General Election) put in the Harlow post code and use the slider to scroll out.
Harlow is:CM20 1DG ;  Epping is:CM16 4AQ:  Hertford & Stortford is:SG14 1PS.

Reliable Labour Party members have told me that the former Labour-run Harlow Council went along with the Conservative Government plan to have some kind of say in the outcome, none the less two Labour councillors voted against the Eastern Crossing – Latton Island and were criticised by the Conservative councillors.

At no point did any political party put these plans for Harlow's future in their manifesto.
Nothing was explained in layman's terms to the voters of Harlow.
Concentrating on what, on the face of it, were little items such as litter.
Nothing about the Conservative government's future plans for Harlow and the surrounding area.

There was no local referendum.

Comment:This project is backed by the Conservative Government, which might explain why all the Conservative councillors seem to be supporting this Conservative-run East Hertfordshire project.
It does not explain why Harlow and Essex Conservative councillors help other Conservative-run councils to make money in council taxes at the expense of Harlow.
None of the Council tax money will go to the poor Harlow Council.
Conservative-run Epping council will get the Southern and Eastern taxes, and Conservative-run East Herts council will get the Gilston Northern taxes.
All Harlow will get is the disruption and extra traffic with all of the Conservative projects, North, South, West and East developments.
This, to me, it poses a question, why do the Conservative party hate Harlow?
Many years ago, the Conservative party changed the planned Harlow New Town to save money, by building the M11 in the exact opposite position to the one that was promised to the master planner Sir Frederick Gibberd, this meant all of his plans for Harlow New Town were destroyed.
All traffic going to the two zoned industrial estates, Pinnacles and Templefields, now have to go all the way through Harlow to reach the industrial estates, rather than the promised routes.
It didn't kill off Harlow New Town, although many original companies have moved away.
In my opinion, blocking roads with Strategic Transport Corridors almost certainly will encourage the remaining companies to move away.
Time is money. An HGV stuck behind a traffic queue coming in and out of Harlow waiting for the numerous sets of traffic lights placed on roundabouts on the main roads to the M11 might make companies think about relocating.  

All of the nightlife in the town centre has taken a beating, to ensure it remains so the Conservatives, together with the property company Strawberry Star Group and Places for People, are planning to turn the town centre into a massive housing estate, "a dead zone" with all of the early closing restrictions.
Even the new replacement for Harlow’s famous LIVE MUSIC venue, THE SQUARE, which the Conservative-run Essex County Council sold to property developers, is restricted to closing at midnight.
THE SQUARE and all of the former nightclubs never closed that early.

Public Consultation 

Eventually, after years of planning and after the planning has been agreed upon (I am told it cannot be reversed), some kind of public consultation has taken place, all of it has previously been online with pages and pages of information that most people do not have time or want to spend their evenings wading through.
Nowadays the consultation is held in the old BHS store every Thursday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., which means only the unemployed and the elderly can attend, not anyone who works for a living.
I have canvassed some of the elderly attending the consultation, and some elderly people I know.
The overwhelming opinion is: "I hope I'm dead before this happens to Harlow."
Out of twenty elderly people canvassed, only one thought it was a good idea; he then told me he was moving to Spain.

This is the view Conservative Hertfordshire & Conservative Essex County Councils want to destroy

The view of the river Stort

To the left is Hertfordshire, and to the right is Harlow Town Park.
Many of the trees will be cut down when Hertfordshire builds its four-lane highway access road across the floodplain.
Running all traffic through Harlow increasing noise and the air pollution in Harlow
Enabling Hertfordshire A414 traffic plus traffic from the new “Gilston Town” to reach the M11.  
Photo taken at Maymead bridge.

The Eastern Crossing - Latton Island

The Conservative-run East Hertfordshire Council required access to the M11 for its Gilston Garden Town residents.
However, it didn't seem to want to run an access road through Hertfordshire, which would have finished the original Northern Orbital Road, linking the A414 directly to the M11 and providing Western Hertfordshire with another route West—East, a project that started in the 1930s.
The A414's original destination was the Dartford Tunnel, now the QEII Bridge Dartford Crossing. Previous plans put the A414 directly to the South of Harlow, linking up with the M11 at junction 7, but that would have taken away land needed for the Southern new housing development of Latton Priory.
Unfortunately, the Conservative-run Essex County Council, backed by Harlow's Conservative MP Robert Halfon, stepped up and decided to run all the traffic through Harlow, increasing Harlow's noise and air pollution.
The plan is to use a massive road structure to cross the river Stort within the floodplain with two large roundabouts and a four lane carriageway over the River Stort and Latton Island onto Riverway road within Templefields industrial estate, Harlow's main shopping centre with all of the extra traffic problems adding to the commerce problems of shops and industry.
To do this, many trees will have to be removed, and the area will be scared because the massive roads and culvert will not just be airlifted into place; any biodiversity will be removed.

Air Quality
The Essex Air Quality Consortium identifies that traffic emissions are the most significant source of pollution in Harlow.
The main roads in the District are the M11 which is to the east of the TCAAP area, and the A414 which runs to the north.
In addition, there are a number of industrial processes which contribute significantly to pollution levels in Harlow; the majority of these are located in the two main industrial areas of the District, detached from the TCAAP area (Templefields to the north, and Pinnacles to the west).
Air pollution in Harlow is considered to be generally low, and monitoring of local Air Quality has measured no exceedances of air quality objective at relevant exposure 27.
The Essex Air QualityConsortium state that the review and assessments to date have not identified any areas of concern or an Air Quality Management Area (AQMA).
The trend across all monitored sites indicates that air quality is improving throughout Harlow. 

HGGT states on its website which was part of the planning application for the "Eastern Crossing—Latton Island.”
"Air quality assessments have been undertaken and submitted with the application.
The assessment indicates negligible changes to air quality as a result of the development of the Crossings.
Idling and stationary traffic is the most common cause of traffic-related pollution
The scheme will allow for the distribution of vehicle movements that would otherwise route along Edinburgh Way (A414), which already suffers congestion".  

Comment: This must mean the traffic from Hertfordshire and Gilston using the Latton Island crossing will magically disappear when it reaches Edinburgh Way (A414).
And assumes no one from Hertfordshire will shop at any of the Templefields Shopping Centres.

One of the leading causes of congestion is the traffic lights at Harlow Retail Park.
Traffic backs up to Burnt Mill roundabout in the West, and to the East, it passes the roundabout junction with Riverway where the traffic from Latton Island crossing will emerge.
I wonder who designed and permitted the traffic lights at Harlow Retail Park, causing traffic-related pollution.
Could it be Essex Highways?
As to the statement, “Idling and stationary traffic is the most common cause of traffic-related pollution”.
If this statement is true, the series of Strategic Transport Corridors throughout Harlow will increase air pollution as traffic sits and waits for the roundabout traffic lights to change.

Please look at the Friends of Latton Island website; they explain what is proposed much better than I can with their video.
Friends of Latton Island also put forward an alternative route to the M11 motorway which is less damaging to trees, wildlife and biodiversity and less expensive.

Strategic Transport Corridors

Strategic Transport Corridors is a bit of a mouthful; in any official document, they call them S.T.C.
What is an S.T.C?
It's a bus lane designed to get buses to their destinations quicker; at least, that's the theory.
To do this, the S.T.Cs will have traffic lights on roundabouts, stopping all other traffic and enabling Minicabs and Taxis with buses,to travel quickly.
The roundabouts will also have pedestrian crossings controlled by traffic lights, and Minicabs and Taxis and motorbikes will also use the bus lanes.  

Comment: If only buses were using the bus lane, the traffic lights would be triggered less, but with so many Minicabs and Taxis using the bus lanes, it will bring future Harlow to a halt, drive industry away, but then, the Harlow area will have lots of houses.
Taxis and minicabs using the bus lane are not only Harlow-licensed but can be from anywhere, they might not even be working but use them because they can.

Years ago, there were traffic lights on the Burnt Mill roundabout the main route to Hertfordshire.
They were removed because the traffic lights jammed all of the traffic around the town centre and the Pinnacles Industrial estate.
At the Pinnacles, there are four main road options away from the Pinnacles, and all of them suffered greatly.
Elizabeth Way A1169 was at a standstill, and Fourth Avenue was jammed up at the town centre roundabout, blocking access to the hospital.
Other routes out were Third Avenue A1025 or Second Avenue A1025, all of which are now subject to the proposed new Strategic Transport Corridor.
The only other possible route out of Harlow is Southern Way A1169 towards junction 7 of the M11, and we all know how busy that can be.
It also had a major impact on the A414 Edinburgh Way, Templefields Industrial estate, which is now Harlow’s main shopping centre.
Anyone who lived in Hertfordshire but worked in the Pinnacles struggled to find a way home.
Villages and towns to the West of Harlow had an increase in traffic as everyone tried to find another route to Hertfordshire or the A10, those affected were Roydon, Roydon Hamlet, Hoddesdon, Stanstead Abbots, Nazeing, Waltham Abbey, Broxbourne.
All of these events happened decades ago, and traffic levels have increased in Harlow in line with the increase of the population.
All of the examples were presented to the representative of Gilston Town, who dismissed them, stating that traffic light technology had greatly improved since then.
When asked which road will have priority at the Burnt Mill roundabout?
A414 Edinburgh Way, or A1169 Elizabeth Way, or Fifth Avenue A1019? He declined to comment.

How will it affect the people of Harlow? 

If you travel by bus, you might get a quicker journey depending on the design of the S.T.C. and regular traffic.
But if you travel by car, van or lorry, you will have your journey time lengthened by the series of S.T.Cs planned by Conservative-run Essex County Council Highways; you might even find walking quicker. See Roy's Maps section

Because of all of the new housing developments around Harlow and the more than doubling of the local area population,
Conservative authorities decided to build the S.T.Cs all meeting at Harlow Town Centre. SEE New Project MAP

The problem is all of the East-West traffic coming and going from M11 junction 7 and now 7a.See Roy's Maps section

Conservative-run Essex County Council Highways leads this plan, and the man responsible for it is Mr David Sprunt.
He aims to encourage people to travel by public transport, cycle, or walk.
The problem is that Conservative-run Essex County Council has not maintained cycle tracks or pavements to an acceptable level for decades; most surfaces and pavements are over 70 years old, leaving cycle tracks with potholes and pavements with trip hazards and potholed or flooded.
All of which are on top of the now normal potholed roads, where Conservative-run Essex County Council Highways have had a bodge and bodge again policy to road surfaces rather than relay them.

Mr David Sprunt doesn’t have the money to fix the many defects in Harlow, so he concentrates on new work and has new money for the Strategic Transport Corridors.
It is quite a bit of “Blue Sky” thinking, Mr David Sprunt and his Conservative-run Essex County Council Highways department admits they are looking at the year 2030 before there are any new buses. Could this be six years away?
Meanwhile, German-owned Arriva Buses struggle to keep their old buses on the road.

Conservative Harlow Councillor Michael Hardware, Harlow Council portfolio holder for economic development, states
“This scheme isn’t just about the future as it will benefit our existing residents too, helping to make the town a safer, greener, healthier, and more sustainable place to live and work.”
Comment: He seems to forget that all of the A414 and Gilston Town traffic will be running through Harlow on its way to the M11 because Hertfordshire Council didn’t want a direct link to the M11. It can hardly be called healthy.
As you wait in your car in a traffic jam for five or six years, I urge you to recall his statement and question the benefits Michael Hardware supposedly provides.

In January 2023 there was a big announcement from HGGT that work would start on Fifth Avenue, the central Harlow road to Hertfordshire or as Conservative-run Essex County Council Highways department likes to call it the A1019 which runs from Harlow Watergardens/ Police Station roundabout to the Eastwick roundabout in Hertfordshire.
Trees were cut down, traffic light positioning was relocated or made ready and eventually some of the potholes were repaired, although the existing temperamental traffic lights remain, they do not seem to work when its too cold or too hot.
January 2024 there was another big announcement from HGGT that work would start on Fifth Avenue, this time some signs were erected telling the residents that work would start.
On April the 5th during the Easter school holidays cones appeared blocking one lane access to the roundabouts and jamming the roads.

This road becomes very busy when there is a crash or holdup on the M11 or M25.
To avoid any holdups, out-of-town travellers switch to the A10 to reach Stansted Airport.
The problem is the town of Harlow, and the A1019 is in the way.

The A1019

The A1019 traffic lights Strategic Transport Corridor

Above is a basic map where I am trying to show where the A1019 and this Strategic Transport Corridor will be, the black blobs are roundabouts and the red cog roundabouts are where the traffic lights on the roundabout will be.
It will have a great impact on East-West and West-East traffic not only at the Burnt Mill crossing but also at the town centre at Velizy Avenue (Central Avenue).
Its traffic lights are on three major junctions, affecting Second Avenue, Forth Avenue, First Avenue, Elizabeth Way, and the A414 Edinburgh Way.
It seems Mr David Sprunt and his Essex County Council Highways department has gone all out, "go big or go home" approach.
It is a major test before adding the many more Strategic Transport Corridors blocking every primary East-West direction with traffic lights.

Comment: Everyone needs to remember the new hospital in Sheering is not estimated to open until 2030 if at all, the traffic flows will remain the same for years.
No new bridge has being built, either the additinal bridge at Burnt Mill roundbaout or the massive East Crossing of Latton Island.
All of this disruption to Harlow and not a spade in the ground in Gilston Town.
There are no new buses in Harlow or Gilston or any additional routes and timetables; I have been told by a rummer that there is no money for new buses, and even if there were, it would be around 2030.
It is a trickle approach; try it without any new Harlow buses and Harlow bus routes.

2030-2032 it seems it will be exciting years for everyone who hasn’t moved away from Harlow or died waiting for everything promised to come to pass.
A new hospital in Sheering might be open, and Harlow might have new buses with new bus routes running at speeds of one every six minutes to places people want to go to other than the town centre.
Harlow Town Centre might have stopped looking like a building site, as it has been under both Labour and Conservative Councils for decades.
But will anyone have a job to go to with all of the traffic lights blocking industry in Harlow?

I think it might be time to get a minicab plate, so I can ride the Bus lanes as well.

The S.T.C.s will not be finished until after the local and general elections, so the wrong politician might have to take the blame,or pass the buck, either way Harlow and the taxpayer will pay.

I have always thought that Essex County Council takes a bodge-it-and-leg-it approach to anything they do within Harlow.
I often wonder if there is a university degree in bodge-it-and-leg-it and if all Essex County Council managers have degrees in this subject.
The managers seem to know how a job should be done but nearly always find a way to bodge it.
I don't know if budgetary constraints or bureaucratic rules and restrictions cause them to lose their common sense, bodge a project, and leave it either half done or worse than when they started. 

I do hope there will be constant monitoring this time so that mistakes can be rectified quickly.
Unlike Harlow’s first attempt at a Strategic Transport Corridor, The Church Langley Express, this failed to be a success, it was blocked because of the design and volume of traffic from M11 junction 7 and two sets of traffic lights.
On the A414 by the housing estate of Church Langley, there are still redundant remnants of infrastructure from the Church Langley Express.
The Church Langley Express STC was designed with two sets of traffic lights on Second Avenue, one for pedestrians going to the Leisure Zone and the other for the Bus Lane; they operated independently of each other.
One traffic light would say stop; the other would say go, the distance between the traffic lights was four cars or one HGV.
It took years before a friend of mine managed to speak to anyone from Essex County Council Highways at a meeting in Sheering where the shortcomings of the two sets of traffic lights were pointed out; subsequently, the bus lane traffic lights were removed.

Please note: A member of the public managed to point this out, and none of the elected Essex County Councillors bothered.
These are Mike Garnett - - Andrew Johnson - - Michael Hardware - - Clive Souter - all members of the Harlow Conservative Party, they are all entitled to expenses of a minimum £1,078.42p per month.

It was not the frequency of the buses that caused the problem.
It was the use of the bus lane by the many Minicabs and Taxis triggering the traffic lights, blocking all other traffic.

There is still the option of providing a bridge to the Leisure Zone, if you are fit enough to swim or go to the gym a bridge will be no problem.
They propose to put the traffic lights back when the new A1019 S.T.C. roundabout is built.

Conservative-run Essex County Council Highways Mr. David Sprunt and his team has failed to hold any meetings in Harlow.

©Roys Harlow 2024