Campaigners will take to Harlow streets tomorrow to save the River Stort from a huge crossing which could cause flooding and endanger wildlife. 

Plans for a road to run from Pye Corner on Eastwick Road to Edinburgh Way, crossing the river, fields and wetlands, to connect proposed 8,500-home development at Gilston Garden Town with Harlow have come under scrutiny with nature activist group who “heavily oppose the plans.” 

Friends of Latton Island, a group of volunteers that work to protect the River Stort are heading up the protest due to fears it will damage the local wildlife and environment.

Epping Forest Guardian: The River Stort. Credit: Julie TaylorThe River Stort. Credit: Julie Taylor

A member of Friends of Latton Island and Harlow resident for 50 years, Julie Taylor said: “Nobody wants this crossing, its vandalism. 

“The habitat of the wildlife in the area will be damaged beyond repair.  The impact of the crossing combined with the surface water and sewage systems from the new development will have an increased risk of flooding in Harlow.

"In addition, the historical importance of this site has not been considered in these plans, nor has the lack of public transport or the visual impact of the project. 

“Everybody uses this river; we have wild water swimming and lots of biodiversity. It would be an awful shame if we had these huge bridges in place.” 

“I am heavily opposed to these plans and feel they are just not justified. We will not give up. I am hoping for a big turnout at the protest tomorrow.” 

The protest will start at Wetherspoons in Harlow Town Centre and make it’s way through the town to The Water Gardens. They encourage people of all ages to attend the protest and bring a long a homemade banner. 

A spokesperson for Places with People who manage the development said: “The Eastern Stort Crossing will accommodate all travellers, with wide pavements for walkers and cyclists, and bus route to employment areas within Harlow.  

“The crossing will draw vehicular movements away from Harlow town centre and provide more direct connectivity to Junction 7A of the M11. In turn, it will create more space for public transport, cycleways and pedestrians.”