Harlow bids for £25m funding to regenerate town squares

01 July 2020 | Local News | Source: Epping Forest Guardian

The council has released proposals for two schemes to improve and modernise Market Square, Playhouse Square and College Square.


To fund the proposals, the council has applied for £25m of funding from the government’s Future High Streets Fund which aims to support councils in renewing and reshaping town centres.


Cllr Mark Ingall, leader of Harlow Council, said: “Both these schemes recognise that the town centre is no longer just a place to shop, but a place to live, work, visit and socialise. Revitalising our town centre, providing new uses, encouraging different ways to get to the town centre, supporting key workers with new housing and supporting businesses will be important part of the town’s recovery and that of our town centre following the impact of coronavirus.


“We are committed to securing the long-term future of the town centre and these proposals are just the start.”


One scheme will redevelop Playhouse and College Squares.


The proposals include a series of new buildings developed opposite Harlow Playhouse and on the current Occasio House site providing new spaces for arts, cultural and leisure uses. On the upper floors of these buildings it is proposed to build new homes for key workers at affordable rents.


The second scheme will see Market Square renamed as Stone Cross Square with the aims to create a hub of trading activity and an event location.


The plans include pop-up markets and street trading. The building 21 The Rows will be converted into a new temporary pop-up space for a range of community and commercial uses. Before Market Square was named in the mid to late 1950s, the area was known as Stone Cross, with Stone Cross Hall adjacent to the square.


Cllr Andrew Johnson, leader of the opposition, said: “Councillors from both political parties are committed to securing a better long-term future for the town centre. The council’s bid must be ambitious to secure support from the government’s Future High Streets Fund and my group continues to encourage and support Harlow Council to put forward credible proposals. If you live or work in Harlow then it’s important that you have your say.”


Cllr Ingall added: “I hope we can get the government support and funding needed to bring these plans to life. These schemes on their own are not going to regenerate the town centre, they will improve historical areas of our town centre, put down a marker for our ambitions and act as a catalyst for securing other investment. I encourage residents and businesses to view the proposals and let us know what they think.”


Residents and businesses can find out more and have their say at: https://www.harlow.gov.uk/future-high-streets-fund-proposals-consultation

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