New highway and rail crossings between Essex and Hertfordshire for 10,000 homes have been approved by the last of two councils – meaning it will go ahead.

At a meeting on February 23, Harlow Council’s development management committee voted in favour of plans to create an eastern crossing and to improve an existing central crossing over the River Stort.

The plans, by developers Places for People Ltd, will unlock land for 10,000 new homes as part of the Harlow and Gilston Garden Town development.

But residents fear the plans could “destroy” local green spaces and the environment.

Read more: East Herts Council backs plans for new River Stort crossing near Harlow

Concerns were also raised about flooding from the Stort and the encouragement of crime as a result of the infrastructure.

This comes after East Herts District Council gave its approval for the same plans on February 22.

According to footage obtained by Your Harlow, Yazmin Gregory, of the Friends of Latton Island group, gave an emotional address to the committee, “begging” councillors not to accept the proposals.

She said: “The Friends of Latton Island are concerned any building works will disturb and destroy the tranquillity of the River Stort.”

Read more: Harlow protest to save the River Stort

Later she said: “It’s going to be devastation that we’ve just not seen, and for what?”

Ms Gregory also claimed the crossing would also increase crime and antisocial behaviour, in the manner of the town’s notorious underpasses.

Yuved Bheenick, development director at Places for People, said connectivity over the River Stort needed to be improved and the crossing will create safer routes for pedestrians and cyclists between the town centre, stations and leisure facilities.

He said: “Enhancements to the existing Fifth Avenue crossing and the creation of a new Stort Valley crossing play a critical role in facilitating this vision and providing a more sustainable future.”

A diagram showing the River Stort crossing and Gilston garden village. Image LDRS

A diagram showing the River Stort crossing and Gilston garden village. Image LDRS

The works will widen and enhance the central crossing on Fifth Avenue over the River Stort, build a new eastern crossing for cars, cyclists and pedestrians and replace an existing railway bridge, according to the application.

Harlow and Gilston Garden Town is a 23,000-home development spanning multiple council districts.

The 10,000 home “Village Seven” development is being proposed in a separate application by Briggens Estate Ltd.

Places for People are also applying for another 8,500-homes in addition to the crossing, dividing into six villages.