Harlow is a town in the South East of England in the County of Essex.
The town is about 25 miles from the centre of London and 10 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 is twinned with two towns; Havířov(Czech Republic) Velizy-Villacoublay (France)
Harlow has all of the amenities you would expect of a modern town.
Sports are well catered for, a new athletics track ,plus a new wet and dry centre Leisure Zone replacing the existing swimming pool and sportcentre.
See over 100 Harlow Sporting Links
Industry is diverse, many firms taking advantage of the M11 and the nearby A10 linking Harlow with London, Cambridge, Stansted Airport and the M25.
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" is celebrating it's 70th birthday.
Harlow's current population is around 85,000 but the immediate local area population would be well over 100,000.
In the 1950's the majority of the new town settlers came from North London, around 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 Abellio Greater Anglia
HarlowRide links to all the bus time tables and routes around Harlow.
Metro Cars ABC 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, 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.
The hospital, Princess Alexandra is the main accident and emergency hospital for the area.
As more and more hospitals and A & E services close in North East London and Hertfordshire the point will come when Princess Alexandra has no more room, the bed spaces will all be taken, patients might find they spend hours being shunted from one hospital to the next in search of a hospital that will take them.
Princess Alexandra has been forced to cope with more and more patients without significant investment from government.
Care Quality Commission report on Princess Alexandra Hospital
You might be wondering why they are important, what has it got to do with Harlow?
Most of the services provided in Essex are run from Colchester, with its political wing based in Chelmsford, both are many miles away.
Essex County Council is responsible for; schools, care for the elderly and care for the young, public transport, libraries, infrastructure, roads, pavements, plus "future improvements to roads"
They are also responsible for street lighting and potholes, plus pavements.
Harlow had four councillors representing Harlow at Essex County Council, three Labour and one Conservative.
In Harlow you might have noticed in April 2017 a sudden rush of civil engineers erecting lighting and new signs, even the Old Harlow roundabout potholes have been resurfaced after months of inertness from E.C.C.
Around Harlow lamp posts have been erected but the lights are missing, are they statues?
After all Harlow is a statue town.
If they are to remain statues E.C.C. needs to name the statues and the artist to comply with Harlow Council rules on statues.
I thought perhaps the man who fits the new lights might have been on holiday, now I believe the E.C.C. managers are on "garden leave."
I can just imagine the subcontractors working for E.C.C. stating:
"It ain't on the job sheet so the lamp post don't get a light".
I suppose we will have to wait until the next County Council elections to get the lighting.
As Essex County Council is run by Conservatives, before the 2017 election I wondered what our Conservative councillor Edward C Johnson was responsible for and had a look on the E.C.C.website,
What a shock, he's Cabinet Member for Highways and Transport, responsible for:
Maintenance of highways, potholes
Public rights of way (bridle ways, footpaths and byways)
Highways schemes (other than those within the infrastructure Portfolio)
Conservative Councillor Edward C Johnson must be proud of the little country roads that have been completely resurfaced in villages around Harlow, but he represents potholed Harlow at Essex County Council.
Harlow has been paying extra for Street lights that are supposed to be on all night, I know of over 50 lights that haven't worked for months on end, some even years.
Is HARLOW entitled to a refund in taxes from Essex County Council?
Potholes that are everywhere, even the pothole "repairs" have potholes in them.
The worst I witnessed was at Bush Fair where a metre-high traffic cone was used to warn drivers of a pothole, the metre-high traffic cone was half submerged in the pothole.
Then there are the pedestrian junction crossing lamps, these have been removed, well, the tops have been cut off, leaving just the small keep left lights that always break down, or even worse they have been replaced by yellow "targets" that are supposed to reflect car lights, unfortunately they get dirty and fail to reflect anything, making them targets to be flattened.
Many of the removed lights are on crossing points and junctions where pedestrians have been killed or injured in the past.
Removing the central lights at pedestrian crossing points saves money but might create more work for the hard pressed emergency services ......that's OK it is on someone else’s budget.
I feel sure Councillor Edward C Johnson will be re-elected by the residents of New Hall, Church Langley, Potter Street and Harlow Common .
Might I suggest that the most potholed road or roundabout be named after Councillor Edward C Johnson, then it might always be repaired quickly.
The Conservatives won all four seats ousting all three Labour Councillors.
Harlow have voted for more of the same, decreasing services and school funding, more potholed roads, potholed pavements & potholed cycle tracks, things can only get worse.
*MP Robert Halfon Voted for setting the main central government grant to local government for;
2015-16 at a level 25% lower than it was set for 2014-15.
2016-17 at a level 24.6% lower than it was set for 2015-16.
2017-18 at a level 44% lower than it was set for 2016-17.*
This is on top of previous cuts to funding
At a time when the elderly population is increasing MP Robert Halfon's Conservatives voted to additionally cut the budget by 44%.
It is not "rocket science" what the outcome would be.
It means the hospital gets jammed up, not enough safe care provision for the elderly, either at home, or in homes for the elderly.
Stressed Social workers needed to implement care provision might be in decline, or off sick with stress, adding to the problem of finding safe care.
Care providers are having their budgets cut, those that remain care providers will struggle to provide adequate safe care for the money provided.
As the social workers are based so far away there is little scrutiny of the companies employed by E.C.C. as I found when my relatives needed care.
Youth Workers, Essex County Council have stopped funding them to save money, they now have to rely on charity.
That's OK, nationally Conservatives are building new bigger prisons, rather than help solve youth problems before they escalate.
It looks as though the Conservative education aim is to create more factory / warehouse fodder, just look at the cuts that will hit Harlow Schools,
Over £400 per pupil will be cut.
Stewards and Passmores schools will take a massive hit, well over one million pounds each!
Other schools are facing thousands of pounds of cuts, i.e. the loss of at least two teachers, in most secondary schools the teacher losses are well into double figures.
Children will have to walk a fine line,extroverted enough to be noticed but not excluded, or just be a tick on the register.
Check it out http://www.schoolcuts.org.uk
The cuts mean bigger class sizes to cope with the cuts, dropping some subjects, this is already happening.
Art, music and media are already being dropped from secondary schools.
Art, music and media is an industry that Britain excelled at in the past, generating billions for the country.
Successive Secretaries of State for Business and Secretaries of State for Culture, Media and Sport have done nothing to stop the closure of music venues,
their policies have just aided rich developers.
Harlow voted for more roads like this Harlow road shown above.
Conservative run Essex County Council are very happy to oblige, they are working tirelessly towards this aim!
Harlow New Town was planned from scratch back in the 1940's by a Labour government with the promise of a major road to the West and North of Harlow
this is why all the major industrial estates are located near the proposed road.
Unfortunately the Conservative government in the 60's decided to put the M11 to the East of Harlow and junction 7 to the South.
After planning and living in Harlow for decades, master planner Sir Frederick Gibberd upon hearing where the M11 would go is quoted as saying, "It's like planning a sea side town, then someone moved the sea!"
A History of the M11 by Motorway archive
The article tells the story of the M11 passing through the Lea Valley which would have put the M11 where it was planned in relation to Harlow, but the Conservative government at the time (1960's) chose to save £10 million pounds and put the M11 in the Roding Valley, on the opposite side to Harlow.
This is why all of today's money is being spent on infrastructure clearing up a mess by someone in a Conservative government decades ago to save money.
In 2010 Conservative MP Robert Halfon was elected with his local Harlow mandate to reduce congestion with a bypass.
In 2016 it was announced by Essex County Council that Harlow was to get a new junction on the M11, junction 7a.
This junction would increase traffic on the Eastern side of Harlow.
The "School run" might have an added impact on traffic levels for any additional traffic generated by junction 7a.
To reach the town centre or possibly Harlow Town station the route from the 7a junction will have to pass 7 Primary schools and two Secondary schools.
In today's world parents have a choice where to send their children, they might choose a school kilometers away.
Often grandparents are left to deliver and pick up the children from school while the parents go out to work, they may not live near the school.
8,600 new homes were given planning permission in the spring of 2017 by East Herts Council on land to the North East of Harlow, many more homes to follow.
To enable the new homes in East Hertfordshire to reach the M11, a new bridge crossing over the river Stort and railway will be built, entering Harlow at the Riverway road in the Templefields industrial estate on Harlow Town Park land.
Traffic from the new crossing will have to filter on to one of the busiest roads in Harlow, Edinburgh Way.
So it does not look as though Harlow will ever get a bypass, as Essex County Council has gone for the cheaper option.
Run all the traffic through Harlow not around it.
It's quite a bizarre interpretation of a bypass but what of Conservative MP Robert Halfon is he in favour of the plan is this his idea of a cheaper bypass?
Is this plan storing up problems for the future ?
In years to come will there be yet another mess to clear up without a bypass.
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