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Harlow New Town

Volume 885: debated on Wednesday 5 February 1975

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asked the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will make a statement on the expansion of Harlow New Town.

I am considering the development corporation's recommendations. If I decide to proceed, I shall consult the local authorities before making a draft order extending the designated area of the town.

Will my right hon. Friend, whose recent visit to Harlow was much appreciated, bear in mind that the expansion of Harlow has been under serious consideration for about 10 years and that it is vital to second-generation applicants, both sides of industry, all the authorities concerned and the population as a whole that a decision should be reached at an early stage? Can he say anything about the time scale for bringing the matter to a conclusion? There is considerable impatience in the area over the whole business and the delay we suffered before my right hon. Friend took over responsibility.

If I were to proceed to make a draft order, my expectation would be that the process would be completed within 12 months from now. I understand that I would probably be sent to the Tower if I discussed the merits of the case at this stage.

What representations has the right hon. Gentleman received so far from neighbouring authorities, interests and individuals? What attention is being paid to such representations?

I do not think that I would be acting properly if at this stage I were to make the matter public. I have said that it is a question which I must consider in a quasi-judicial capacity.