Harlow councillor details plans to encourage live music in the town

Entertainment / Thu 4th Mar 2021 at 08:04am

A SENIOR Harlow councillor has answered questions regarding what plans Harlow Council has regarding supporting a music venue.

Councillor Tony Durcan, Harlow Council’s portfolio holder for growth and prosperity, said:

“There are no current commercial ventures for a new music venue in Harlow that we are aware of, but we would welcome a proposal to consider. The council also does not have any active plans at present to provide a live music venue in the town. However, there are venues who have provided music events and opportunities to fill some of the void left by The Square closing in 2017. We hope these events and opportunities will continue to develop in future as we come out of the pandemic. These venues include Harlow Playhouse, local pubs, clubs and Harlow Rugby Club. We hope to see a return of these events later this year and eventually we hope to see the return of music events in the town park like the popular Linkfest organised by Jamie Pring. There are also local organisations such as Livewire and Harlow Rock School which support young people with music and cultural activities and we are hopeful that these groups will continue to flourish.

Opportunity for local music community to have say on live music in Harlow

“As part of the town’s recovery we are looking at how we can support arts and cultural venues and groups in the town. The Cultural Leaders Group would also welcome representation from the local music community and we are looking for people to apply to be part of the Harlow Playhouse Advisory Panel. We would welcome applications from those in the local community that want to see Harlow Playhouse deliver a wider programme of live music in the future. For more information on the Cultural Leaders Group or the Playhouse Advisory Panel contact Rory Davies on email[email protected] or phone 01279 446750

The Square music venue

“We were sad to see The Square permanently close in January 2017 and we know it was a popular and much loved venue with musicians and local residents. We supported and worked closely with the venue for many years including after Essex County Council ceased its funding for the venue in 2008. The Fourth Avenue site and venue building was owned by Circle Housing who later became Clarion Housing. When the future of The Square’s building became uncertain in 2014 we did what we could to try and find alternative premises, but none were suitable. Many press statements from the council were issued about this support at the time and followed after the closure. 

Fourth Avenue site

“We also turned down Clarion’s planning application for the Fourth Avenue site in January 2015 and one of the reasons for this was due to the loss of this iconic music venue and the contribution it made to local culture. Unfortunately in September 2016 a planning inspector overturned our decision on appeal and granted planning permission to Clarion. That planning permission for housing remains in place for the site as it is yet to expire. The land remains in private ownership and we cannot control the actions of third parties or their decision to sell the site. We are saddened that the site remains empty and that the promise of new housing has not yet materialised. As of today our planning team has had no approaches for temporary use of the land. However should the new owner site come forward with development proposals that differ to the current planning permission this would be considered following our usual planning application procedures. 

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