ESSEX County Council (ECC) is set to invest £5m in a new fund to help regenerate Harlow town centre. ECC agreed to the investment in the Harlow Investment Fund (HIF) at Cabinet last week.
The HIF is designed to help unlock key sites in the town centre to facilitate wider regeneration. Other investors are expected to be Homes England, Places for People (the developer of Gilston Villages) and Harlow District Council, to create a fund of up to £50million.
Cllr Michael Hardware, county councillor for Harlow West and deputy cabinet member for economic development, said: “This is a huge step forward for the future of our town centre. Potentially, it will enable the council to link together all the current planned projects and move forward in a more joined-up way.”
The HIF will be in addition to several other Government grants extended to Harlow or bid for this year. These have included the Future High Streets for regeneration of Playhouse Square and the Market Square, the Towns Fund which will fund several projects including the regeneration of the bus station, and the Getting Building Fund to refurbish the town library and provide new facilities at Harlow College.
These are in addition to the £171million Housing Infrastructure Grant. This will fund the enhancement of the existing River Stort crossing, the construction of a new crossing further east coming into River Way and ultimately the Sustainable Transport Corridors which will cross-cross Harlow through the town centre.
Cllr Hardware continued: “The pieces of the jigsaw are being put in place by the Government, ECC and other agencies to regenerate our town. A new hospital, the Enterprise Zone, Public Health England and the new junction 7a on the M11, all add up to a huge investment in our town and its future.
“We now look forward to Harlow District Council confirming its investment in the HIF so that planning work can commence.”
The ECC HIF investment will go before ECC Full Council on 8th December.