Public views on the regeneration of the north end of Harlow town centre are being sought in a consultation on a draft development brief for the area.
The draft brief sets out several objectives for the north end of the town centre, which will guide redevelopment for the area around Stone Cross Square, Post Office Road and West Gate.
The purpose of the development brief is to inform potential developers and other interested parties of both the constraints and opportunities presented by each area concerned, and the types of development expected or encouraged by local planning policies. It will also be employed as a material consideration in determining any planning applications for the area along with other supporting documents.
The brief’s objectives are based on the principles of the Harlow Town Centre Masterplan Framework Supplementary Planning Document, which was adopted in March 2022, and include:
- Creating an identity: Addressing the current imbalance of shoppers and visitors and bringing the area 'back to life'.
- Improving its appearance: Enhancing the area with public realm amenities, planting, buildings, and tackling unattractive service area and blank frontages.
- Making better use of space: Re-purposing existing land and transforming vacant and under-used spaces for other purposes, particularly in and around Stone Cross Square.
- Protecting important architectural values: Ensuring that features and details of the area as buildings and spaces are redeveloped retain the area's new town heritage.
- Improving pathways for pedestrians and cyclists: Creating safe, accessible and pleasant gateway entrances, removing cars where possible from the area and promoting public and sustainable transport.
- A significantly greener area: Building on existing green space features and creating opportunities for play spaces, community spaces, public art and other forms of green infrastructure.
The draft development brief was approved for consultation by Councillor Michael Hardware, cabinet portfolio holder for regeneration and strategic growth. He said:
"It is so important that we ensure that all areas of the town centre receive the right sort of development in line with our overall masterplan. As we are all aware the north of the town centre is in serious need of regeneration, but it needs to be the right type of regeneration to give the town centre as a whole the balance it is presently lacking. It is an area with a great deal of potential and I was pleased to be able to approve this draft development brief. It will complement the other plans in place for the town centre for which around £40 million in funding has already been secured, such as the Playhouse Quarter and the upcoming bus station redevelopment. This is all about ensuring that all parts of the town centre are regenerated and that the standard is consistent.
“We now need to hear from residents, businesses and other interested parties and are putting the draft brief out for a four-week consultation. Your say will be integral in finalising the brief, to ensure that potential developers know where they stand in terms of the opportunities available in the area and what is acceptable to us.
“The consultation runs from today (15 May) to 9 June and I would encourage as many of you as possible to have your say.”
Information on how you can have your say can be found at www.harlow.gov.uk/your-council/have-your-say/consultations
Following the consultation, the brief will be subject to further discussion at Cabinet before it is finalised.