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   Earlier news stories

March 2005 on
More recent stories

December 2004
Wildspace! Newsletter and Events Programme 2004/05
East of England Plan out for Consultation

July 2004
New Harlow Local Nature Reserves declared
Essex Wildlife Trust Local Group for Harlow

March 2004
Wildspace! Community Liaison Officer in post
Developments at Parndon Wood
HCV Publicity leaflet
Harlow draft Deposit Local Plan - update
Stansted Airport Expansion - update

October 2003
Wildspace! Community Liaison Officer funding approved
Stansted/M11 Corridor Development Options Study

July 2003
Parndon Wood Warden and New Opening Times
Harlow Options Study

News - December 2004

Wildspace! Newsletter and Events Programme 2004/05

The first issue of the Harlow Wildspace! newsletter is out now covering news and activities at Parndon Wood and the other nature reserves and wildlife sites across Harlow. Download a PDF version here:

Wildspace! Newsletter
(813kbyte – ~3min 18sec with a 56k modem @ typical 33.6kbit/s;
~13sec with Broadband @ 512kbit/s)

Helen Abel, Wildspace! officer, says, "If you could print out a copy and have anywhere that you can leave a copy for others to read, please do so. If you would like more paper copies, please get in touch".

The programme of events can also be found on the Wildspace! website Events page.

East of England Plan out for Consultation

The draft new Regional Spatial Strategy (RSS) for the East of England called the East of England Plan is now out for consultation until 16th March 2005.

The strategy's purpose is to guide planning and development in the East of England (government) Region in the period 2001-2021. (It will impose requirements for county and district level plans.) At some 300 pages! it covers a whole range of aspects: economic development, housing, environment, transport, waste management, culture, sport, recreation, and mineral extraction.

The key point for Harlow is that, together with parts of neighbouring districts, it is identified as a major growth area. A total of 20,700 new dwellings are planned: 8,000 within and to the east of current Harlow up to the M11, 10,000 to the north in East Herts, and the rest to the south and west in Epping Forest district (this is separate from the 6000 on North Weald airfield, as well as further allocations for East Herts). As a result there will be a review of the current green belt status of the areas involved. However, a strategic green wedge to the west of Harlow is recommended, and there is support for the green wedges within towns, like currently in Harlow. The 10,000 dwellings for "Harlow North" is well short of the maximum of 25,000 envisaged by Ropemaker on behalf of the BP pension fund.

A new bypass road is proposed to go north of current Harlow from the A414 Eastwick roundabout to a new junction with the M11 with an "environmentally sensitive linkage across the Stort valley" to be built in the period 2006-2010. (This is instead of the earlier proposal of a southern bypass.)

Interestingly the document only acknowleges rather than supports the government position of an additional runway at Stansted Airport, advocating only expanding the capacity beyond the current planning limit of 25 million passengers per annum to the maximum possible of 35 million with the current single runway.

See the East of England Regional Assembly website www.eera.gov.uk - plan consultation page.

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News - July 2004

New Harlow Local Nature Reserves declared

Harlow Council has declared new and enlarged Local Nature Reserves (LNR), in line with the new Harlow Local Plan, as follows:

  • Parndon Woods and Common: Parndon Wood LNR extended to include Fennel's Field and Hospital and Risdens Woods (already an SSSI)
  • Harlow Marsh: Maymeads Marsh added to existing Marshgate Spring and Parndon Mill Marsh LNRs
  • Hawkenbury Meadow

This brings the total LNR area in Harlow up to approx. 65 hectares which is still somewhat short of the government target of 1 ha per 1000 population.

The declaration is being celebrated at a launch event on Saturday 17th July — see programme page.

Essex Wildlife Trust Local Group for Harlow

Harlow is the only district in Essex for which Essex Wildlife Trust (EWT) does not currently have a local group. With an increase in members in the area recently, they hope to establish such a group this Autumn. It is understood they would like to find a particular wildlife area as a focus for practical conservation work parties; this does not appear to conflict with HCV, working as we do on many different sites.

EWT will have a significant presence at the Harlow Show in September, followed by a launch meeting on Tuesday 19th October — see programme page.

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News - March 2004

Wildspace! Community Liaison Officer in post

Harlow council's new Wildspace! Officer has started work. She is Helen Abel and is based at Parndon Wood. The post is for 3 years and is partially funded by English Nature.

Helen will work with volunteers and community groups on nature reserves and other wildlife areas and biodiversity projects around the district. She is concentrating initially on work with schools. She has previously worked for BTCV and has done similar work in Hackney and Brixton. We hope to see her on some of our tasks in Harlow.

Check out the new Harlow Wildspace! Project website.

Developments at Parndon Wood

Several large-scale capital projects are completed or well under way at Parndon Wood.

  • A deer proof fence has been erected to permanently protect coppice regrowth in the lower two-thirds of the wood. The upper hide has been moved to stand in the fence line, with a good view over where deer often congregate. The upper part of the wood will be left to mature subject to deer browsing.
  • A new large pond has been excavated in the north-west corner of the reserve not far from the Conservation Centre. A dipping platform, hide, and wheelchair access boardwalk are due to go in very soon.

HCV Publicity leaflet

If you know of somewhere you could put out a few publicity leaflets or perhaps put up one as a poster, it is now finally available in electronic form from the Resource page to download and print out.

Harlow draft Deposit Local Plan - update

The second draft of the new deposit local plan for Harlow has been published. This sets out the policies and permitted land use for Harlow district within which all planning decisions should be made up till 2011. It is intended to come into effect formally replacing the old plan in 2005. However, it is already in use, having been adopted for development control purposes on 7 November 2003 (subject to the outcome of the public enquiry process).

The public enquiry is scheduled to commence 15 June 2004, with a pre-inquiry meeting on Friday 26 March.

A lot of new housing and industrial development has had to be included by central government order. However, their are some welcome elements for nature conservation: Maymeads Marsh in the Town Park is to get Local Nature Reserve status by joining Marshgate Spring and Parndon Mill Marsh in the new Stort Valley LNR — all sites on which HCV has worked; Hawkenbury Meadow and Hospital and Risdens Woods (already an SSSI) also now get LNR status; and the current road safety training ground along Edinburgh Way next to Marshgate Spring will not now become an industrial site but will be used for a new skate park.

Stansted Airport Expansion - update

HCV has worked for a number of years at East End Wood just outside the current perimeter of Stansted Airport. The wood is semi-natural ancient woodland and an SSSI (Site of Special Scientific Interest).

Following the publication of the Government's white paper on "The Future of Air Transport" on 16th December 2003, BAA has announced the proposed boundary of the expanded airport with the single extra runway and in their press release of 27th Janaury 2004 (about compensation for owners of homes which would be demolished) "...confirmed today that the proposed boundary of the expanded airport is the same as that published in December by the Government in the White Paper...".

From the map in the white paper the near airport boundary would follow the southern edge of the wood. However, in BAA's published map the boundary has been simplified and would slice through the southern corner of the wood! How this would affect the wood is unclear. BAA state that they will see if it is possible to reduce the size of area required.

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News - October 2003

Wildspace! Community Liaison Officer funding approved

English Nature approved funding in August from its "Wildspace!" scheme for a Community Liaison Officer for Harlow. The purpose of the post is to work with volunteers and community groups on nature reserves and other wildlife areas and biodiversity projects around the district. The new officer is expected to be appointed soon, hopefully before Christmas.

Stansted/M11 Corridor Development Options Study

This is a similar but separate study to the Harlow Options Study mentioned below. It concentrates on the implications of the various options for the growth of Stansted Airport and additionally considers the period from 2021-2036. The airport growth options range from the current planning consent of 25 million passengers per annum through the maximum theoretical single runway capacity of 40Mppa to the 2, 3, and 4 runway options with 82Mppa, 102Mppa, and 129Mppa respectively.

The preferred development strategy is to focus development up to 2021 on Harlow with 11,800 extra homes, rising to a maximum of 24,800 homes by 2036 with the 4 runway option (this compares with just over 30,000 homes currently). There would be additional growth of a similar order in other areas around the airport. As in the Harlow Options Study there would be a southern Harlow bypass. There is also proposed an Epping-Harlow-Stansted bus-way and Personal Rapid Transit system for Harlow.

The timetable for finalising the Regional Planning Guidance (RPG14) is:

  • Nov 2003 - Stakeholder event
  • Feb 2004 - Draft RPG14 published
  • Spring 2004 - Public objection period
  • Late 2004 - Public Examination
  • Mid 2005 - Final RPG14

See the East of England Local Government Conference website www.eelgc.gov.uk - Planning & Transport studies page for:

for more information.

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News - July 2003

Parndon Wood Warden and New Opening Times

Colin Lincoln has been appointed to the new permanent post of part-time warden at Parndon Wood Nature Reserve. It is intended there will also be a Community Liaison Officer if the grant application to English Nature is successful, hopefully by the end of September. The new opening times of Parndon Wood are:

April - September

Saturday 9am - 6pm
Sunday 9am - 6pm
Tuesday 7pm - 9pm
Bank holidays 9am - 6pm

October - March

Saturday 11am - 4pm
Sunday 11am - 4pm
New Year's Day 11am - 4pm
Closed: Xmas Day & Boxing Day

Harlow Options Study

This is a study commissioned by government and local authorities in the context the government's recent announcement of growth areas in SE England including the London-Stansted-Cambridge corridor. The final document will feed into the Regional Planning Guidance for East of England which will govern development, in particular the requirements for the Harlow Local plan, for the next 20 years.

There are several options for extra housing in and around Harlow ranging from 20,000 to 48000 new homes. There are various transport options, but common to all is a bypass for the A414 from the M11 Roundabout to the south and then west of Harlow to join with the existing dual carriageway somewhere between Harlow and Roydon. The exact alignment is not clear but there must be concern for a whole range of wildlife sites: Latton Bushes, Parndon Wood, Hospital and Risdens Wood, Epping Long Green, Hunsdon Mead.

There is a consultation process by Essex County Council with a date for all reponses by 1st August 2003. The Harlow 2020 Partnership were requesting views to contribute to their response, but their date of 7th July has now passed. However, they already have a preference amonst the main options in the draft document - presumably in line with their 2020 vision.
See Harloweb or the East of England Local Government Conference site for more details.


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