Harlow Council claim new partnership will deliver town’s “once-in-a-lifetime regeneration”
News / Tue 13th Jun 2023 at 04:17pm
A NEW public-private partnership has been launched which will deliver town centre and major housing regeneration in Harlow claims Harlow Council.
Harlow Council and The Hill Group, one of the UK’s leading house builders, have joined forces to deliver a programme of new homes as part of the “ambitious regeneration of the town”.
The Harlow Regeneration Partnership LLP is an equal partnership between the two organisations that will bring forward the development of council-owned, and other sites for regeneration and development, and provide either capital or revenue financial returns against these investments. The partnership is formed on a non-exclusive basis that will also allow Harlow to investigate other options for delivery partnerships where prudent and advantageous to do so.
The partnership will begin work on site later this year. The partnership will also explore options for delivering further town centre regeneration schemes. These will be in addition to government-funded schemes which will deliver a new bus station and Terminus Street, improvements to Broad Walk and the transformation of Playhouse and College Square with a new live performance venue and upgrades to Harlow Playhouse.
Last week Councillor Dan Swords, the Leader of Harlow Council, and Tom Hill, Managing Director of The Hill Group, met to officially launch the ground-breaking partnership for the town, visiting sites in Staple Tye as well as Playhouse Square.
Councillor Dan Swords said that the partnership agreement is part of making Harlow Council’s plans for a once-in-a-lifetime regeneration programme for the town a reality. He said:
“This first partnership will be a major vehicle for delivering Harlow’s once-in-a-lifetime regeneration programme. The deal means that we can say to residents and businesses we are finally getting on with the job of delivering the town centre’s regeneration and building new homes. Harlow Council will be on site this year to start the town centre rebuild and on sites to build high-quality new homes for Harlow families.
“Delivering major regeneration in Harlow that this town needs is not something we can do on our own. This partnership is a game changing moment for the town’s regeneration with private sector expertise and investment, with the council having an equal share. It will be a partnership with capacity to manage multi-million-pound schemes which will regenerate Harlow, create jobs and opportunities for Harlow people and future generations and boost the local economy.
“I am really looking forward to working with The Hill Group who are one of the leading developers in the country. They have an impressive track record of working in partnership with other local councils to successfully deliver major regeneration schemes and address housing shortages by building new council homes and homes for sale. We wish to replicate these successes in Harlow, and we can look ahead positively as we continue transforming our town.”
Tom Hill said: “We are thrilled to have formed this exciting new partnership with Harlow Council and mark the start of a strong and fruitful partnership where together we will develop sustainable new homes, invest in jobs, training opportunities, and increased social value, ensuring Harlow’s residents are at the centre of our plans.
“We are excited to bring the first sites through planning, with construction to begin in the near future. Hill has a strong track record of collaborating with local authorities to deliver large-scale regeneration, and we are committed to replicating these successes in Harlow, delivering high-quality homes, and revitalising the town centre. This collaboration is a significant step forward in Harlow’s journey towards a vibrant and sustainable future, and we are honoured to be a part of it.”
Harlow Council’s cabinet meeting in March 2023 made the decision to form a partnership with The Hill Group. This came after a rigorous evaluation process supported by independent experts Local Partnerships, which began in December 2022 when developers were invited to submit proposals for working with the council.
Why do I feel the need to check who large donors to the conservative party are
Adam, clearly because you have not read the article regarding the complete transparency and objectivity established in the selection process, including some of the Council’s most experienced officers. It will be interesting hear your experience and qualifications in selecting a a credible and competent joint-venture partner for an enterprise of this scale.
James it is so transparent is it public - where do I see it on the council website? I have lead a few hundred million plus projects across the globe and we actually made things and delivered not just messing about in finance. These were much more challenging as once launched no one could touch them for 30 or so years. I know a lot about projects and delivery.
I think what a lot of people in the town would appreciate, certainly with regards to The High, is knowing from the council what they actually consider 'regeneration' meaning. We all know that high street shopping in the UK is having a hard time at the moment (maybe now, forever?) but I suspect that many residents still feel that a regenerated town centre means shops (the market), restaurants and entertainment, not more flats. Many people don't understand what the council can and cannot do. Will the partnership facilitate money for buying up more shop units and buildings only to turn them into accommodation or will they also be trying to encourage more retail? As far as housing goes, it doesn't take a genius to see that many residents are angry at seeing successive councils selling off land that belongs to the town for private developments with the only proviso being a percentage of (what we laughingly call) 'affordable' properties. I'd like to think a partnership will mean a more equal division of private and true 'council housing' but I'd love to know where these sites will be. So, are we looking at a regeneration of the town or just more housing?
Fantastic..... I'm in Bush Fair area which has turned into a shat hole a number of years ago! Parking, garages, rubbish, grass hardly cut, etc. Similarly, I see this when I venture out to other areas. PS. The town centre looks lovely from my viewpoint!
James, I would like to echo Adams's comments and remind you that I asked the same question about the purchase of the Harvey Centre. The fact is the Council believe that the building of hundreds of flats and relying on cafes and restaurants will regenerate the Town Centre. In the meantime with a hospital moving, some 3500 employees and tens of thousands of visitors will not live or visit the Town Centre as they do now. Much of the Town Centre will despite these plans look very similar to how they do now.
Great, maybe the new partnership can call upon your services. There is nothing opaque about this and further information will be announced. Over a year was spent on the process and was very thorough. It will be of lasting benefit to the town, assigning decades of Labour neglect to history.
Nicholas, you are entirely wrong. This is a whole and complete regeneration of every part of the town centre completed in phases. Some phases already announced and others still to come.
Has anyone heard anything recently about the UKHSA (formerly PHE) move to Harlow?
James if it's been over a year was spent on the process and was very thorough, was is this post soo very vague. What's going there. What shops . Is there going to be a week day market.. how many unaffordable housing is going to be built in the town... And how many council.??? How many flats?? How high will theses go.?? Just like a conservative, very vague. Why carnt we see the plans.
Know one in the council Chambers gives a toss what the residents of harlow want or how they feel because its just another under the table shady deal done that fits in their already over stuffed pockets.
Dan, I am not wrong, I just have a different view to you and your Party about the future of the Town Centre. We already know what is earmarked for many parcels of land in the Town Centre which already have Planning Permission, what of the shopping area which includes Primark, the land which includes the tenpin bowling centre, the land occupied by Adams House, the postal sorting office, the land abutting the bus station and Broadwalk, the land occupied by Boots and finally the land occupied in part by the Halifax BS? Are all the owners of these areas on board with redevelopment of their land? And what of other areas which have lain derelict for years? Your announcement today is light on facts and the loss of the hospital from the Town Centre will surely see a further decline in the number of visitors to the Town Centre in years to come. More cafes and restaurants will not compensate for this loss, even assuming that anyone will pay the rent for premises in a new building, just look at what has happened in the Harvey Centre.
You councillors need to get in the real world and take a good long walk around the older original housing estates in harlow in the evenings and see how bad the town has become.
C, you make an interesting observation. The new partnership goes beyond regeneration of the Town Centre and includes estates regeneration as an integral part. Which estates did you have in mind with your comment?
Kim, if you look at the town centre master plan it specifies what we would like to see, and also the High Wych development brief, and the Staple Tye development brief. These documents go into some detail on each piece of land. And C, all your councillors live in Harlow and represent their wards which means they are there every day. The announcement today is the start of a journey which will see regeneration of this town with projects large and small coming forward: this is just the beginning.
That this announcement has been greeted with a certain degree of cynicism is hardly surprising after decades of Labour’s utter neglect and incompetence, allowing most of the town centre to become degraded beyond recognition. This has help to destroy any vision or ambition for many and rendered expectations low. Yet, this administration was elected with a pledge to bring about full regeneration and, as Mike Hardware states “this is just the beginning”.
Answer me one of my questions at least, how many of theses new housing in town centre are council.?? How many of theses new housing for disabled.?? And how many for the elderly, that could free up there own housing for suitable council houses. And how many private. Let's see if you councilors give any thoughts to the people who live here. James let's not start bickering about what labour did or didn't do, that ship has sailed. Your all about regeneration regeneration, while the rest of Harlow falls apart.
Cllr. Leppard, what is the total cost of this so called regeneration to the people of this town. I am sure the Hill group are not involved out of a altruistic advantage to our town: Are they? And of course when will Potter Street be included in these grand plans. Have you pushed for redevelopment and regeneration of this area in your own ward? If so what and when? Cllr. Swords likes the smile and photo approach to his leadership without any form of real unambiguous substance. And of course using political BS only works when it can be shown real unadulterated progress is seen on the ground. Until then leave the nonsense at home until next May!
Gary you are right on one key point, The Hill group are here to make a profit from the sale of homes in Harlow, perhaps "investing" millions of pound to make millions of pounds profit for their shareholders. What this town gets from this once in a lifetime opportunity may well not be what we who already live here want and need. You are right about the cynicism James when we have a council who cannot even maintain the flower boxes along Broadwalk, who fail to paint and repair council houses, who are failing to maintain trees and housing estates where shrub beds and grass cutting is worse than ever, it is no wonder.
Nicholas, I would encourage you to look at the success of the Cambridge Investment Partnership between Cambridge CC and Hill which has delivered significantly for the people of Cambridge.
How dare you Adam, suggesting the Tories are corrupt!
Dan swords,, aw but will it deliver for Harlow people,, Cambridge is a very different kettle of fish, can you not even see this difference.
Public-Private partnership. The usual cover for a sellout. The privateers and tory coffers receive the profits, the Taxpayers and rent payers take all the risk. The private profits usually come from corner cutting, and moving the real costs down the line. Like the new hospital project, always smell a rat.
I have Dan, which just adds to my concern. Cramming more and more people into an area by building upwards, in unattractive blocks with a key objective to "Optimise financial return through enhanced asset value". Your Parties Plan for the Town Centre is designed to do just that for the Hill Group and others. Nick Gunning sums it up.
When is ocasia house been demolished for the arts centre that will never hardly be used instead of been revamped into flats for single people the bus station was badly designed and the new one doesn't look much better it doesn't need a semi open roof where birds can fly in. We all know the town centre needs to change no market no decent places to eat no where for young people to go clubs all closed down
The strikes at HTS have obviously shelved plans to use HTS as a commercial platform to raise revenue for the council by building houses. The Tories can't resist enriching property developers as they have done with changes to legislation since the Land Compensation Act 1961 which gave all uplift in land value arising from planning permission to the landowner/ developer. See https://www.london.gov.uk/who-we-are/what-london-assembly-does/questions-mayor/find-an-answer/land-compensation-act
Actually I can't help laughing at Labour mouthpiece Nick Gunning and his comment. Sums up exactly what Labour did with the NHS and vast numbers of PFI agreements! Nothing quite so funny as hypocrisy! Mark Gough - Reform UK
Clearly no one is asking the real question here. Why is it that a town that is only 70 odd years old need complete regeneration? If you do not address this question you will need complete regeneration again in the next 50-70 years.
I wish that whoever regenerates *new* Harlow would inject some soul, character & sense of community into it. It’s a boring, lacklustre, anti-social place & crap! It’s not walker friendly, especially at night time, & it’s focused on cars and driving everywhere, and it’s about business at best - ie 9-5, Get in, then get out! The car focus doesn’t help with the carbon footprint & reducing emissions, either. At the very least I would hope part of the regen project would include more investment in Old Harlow! That’s a little gem! Apart from that, is it all bad? No - I love the town park, and the lovely Greyhound pub, petting zoo, and cafe in it. We just need more of that - a real connection with the town centre & other attractions that are pedestrian friendly : a benefit? Physical & mental health! This great “garden city” sprawl needs to be tamed with a soul & sense of community not a desert of endless roads .
EJ makes a highly relevant observation. It is this ethos behind the regeneration plan that people voted for in 2021. I would suggest to Kim O’Connor, Nicholas Taylor and other doubters that they visit Bracknell, a new town built the same time as Harlow who have undertaken a full-scale highly attractive and successful town centre using the public-private investment models. Seeing is believing. Would like to know what magic formula these doubters would propose to achieve comparable results.
EJ makes a highly relevant observation. It is this ethos behind the regeneration plan that people voted for in 2021. I would suggest to Kim O’Connor, Nicholas Taylor and other doubters that they visit Bracknell, a new town built the same time as Harlow who have undertaken a full-scale town centre regeneration that is highly attractive and successful using the public-private investment models. Seeing is believing. Would like to know what magic formula these doubters would propose to achieve comparable results.
PPPs have been around for decades and time has clearly demonstrated the advantages to the private sector at an increasing and often crippling cost to the public purse. Spend time researching on projects since the were introduced in increasing numbers, first by the Conservatives and then by Labour: after a short burst of positive effects the outcomes in the medium aren't good.
This is a very confusing situation as the leader has promised that spades would be in the ground at a number of sites months ago. We were told we would see action within weeks at the bus station. They would build without delay council homes. A new town wide cycle way. Told that occasio house would be pulled down in weeks. Not clear why he and the other Tory cabinet members have mis informed everyone including their own party. What they were really doing is negotiating with a private developer. I have no significant concerns about using a developer as we have had previous good outcomes in the past. This is yet another shining example of why people don’t trust politicians. That why some remain sceptical about the new PAH. They have been in power for 2 years and what have they built or even pulled down,nothing. Just hope this new developer will bring back the aspiration that has been lost. Regardless of politics we all want to bring about suitable and sustainable regeneration. 2 years and nothing to show.
What is required to kick start the regeneration is to produce retail units that are let out at a very cheap rate to encourage retail business. With the state of current taxation and business rates it is unlikely that any retail initiative will be successful on its own. And we need this kind of infrastructure to serve the increase in residential, otherwise Harlow is going to become yet another retail ghost town
Does anyone really think that the developers are going to rent out their brand spanking new shops at the bottom of their tower blocks at very cheap rents? I think not. The Tories are relying on cafes, bars and restaurants to regenerate the Town Centre but one only has to look at the four vacant restaurant units in the Harvey Centre to see how well that went. The Town Centre needs a bigger theatre, exhibition space and other cultural and leisure facilities if more people are to be attracted across the whole of Town Centre, particularly in the evenings. I note that neither James, Dan and Michael have still not responded to the three questions I have raised before.
Dan Swords, my comments keep getting deleted. I sent you an email,I have had no answer. I am worried if I send you another one the police will give me another verbal police warning, like I got for sending Councillor Nick Churchill four over several weeks. How are we meant to know if you have seen them or not? Nick Churchill just sent the police to my home,I did not even know he had read them.
No one has replied regarding the example of other councils like Bracknell. I imagine silence deems acceptance of the concept. Thanks. I knew we should get there in the end. If Bracknell can do it, so can we.
James, I looked at the Bracknell site and indeed on google earth, very few high rise blocks of flats, maximum height 7 floors or less in the Town Centre and building hundreds of council homes. Interesting to note that it became a Unitary authority back in 1998, even now the population is only 124,000 in an area of 42 square miles. At the very least you should be pressing to get the whole of the HGGT area within the HDC area. I note you are still avoiding my three questions! I guess you want to avoid agreeing with me on numbers one and two and clearly don't want to admit that your Party lied to the electorate.
Nicholas, I am pleased have finally come around to my oft stated proposition ( which you have constantly dismissed) that Harlow needs to expand it boundaries. Incorporating the whole of HGGT would be a start. However, why not go further and make HDC synonymous with the Harlow constituency? You know I have long argued this point. Indeed, all of our peer group new towns: Basildon, Bracknell, Crawley and Welwyn Hatfield are considerably larger in area; only Stevenage is of a similar size and likewise suffers similar issues of population density. Maybe this will now be a HAP policy.
James , just expand all boarders, and concrete all over Harlow, then you all will be satisfied, and you can all glorifie in your regeneration regeneration. But ask your self's this. AT WHAT COST. In one hand you conservatives talk the the talk on mental health. All we see is you lot taking away the one thing that makes us better, our nature. None of this regeneration is helping the 5,000 on waiting list. None of the boarder housing estates are benifting Harlow, because most of us can not afford them. No infrastructure in place till all regeneration in place. Dear oh dear. Our questions unanswered. It really does not matter what we all think, because as many of us have seen, your go a head any way.
Kim O’Connor did you not read about the new Council housing being built on three sites at Staple Tye by our new partner Hill? More have been announced for Arkwrights and Tye Green. You overlook the important fact that regeneration of the Town Centre - after decades of decline and neglect - was a key manifesto pledge of this administration. We will deliver on it.
Kim O’Connor did you not read about the new Council housing being built on three sites at Staple Tye by our new partner Hill? More have been announced for Arkwrights and Tye Green. You overlook the important fact that regeneration of the Town Centre - after decades of decline and neglect - was a key manifesto pledge of this administration. We will deliver on it. Surely, you can appreciate that Harlow is seriously constrained by its limited area. We have very limited land for new housing or to attract new high level businesses. We all want to preserve our green spaces. Expansion of the district is the only viable long-term solution. New towns such as Basildon, Bracknell and Welwyn Hatfield do not suffer such constraints.
James, we have said from the outset that Harlow's borders should be expanded to include the whole of the HGGT area, indeed the fact that each Council consulted its residents at different times in different ways was a good example of how with just one authority involved things would have been different and this was at the crux of the objections we raised with the Planning Inspector at Epping back in 2019. Such a change could have led to Unitary status. Your Party and Labour of course failed to make any representations to either of the Planning Inspectors which is why we are where we are now. Neither authority on our borders will now agree to this because of the lost income, at some time soon we have to say our town is full.
All very good etc etc. But, have a look around, Harlow is awful. Can't access doctors, dentists. Roads unfit to drive on. Next to no maintenance of what is already here. If they're going to build more homes, are they going to do anything about the infrastructure to go hand in hand to support those who move here? These are the things people care about, not another coffee shop.
James,, I was told 99 council houses, by Mr Hardware, if all are built.. Put that up against thousands upon thousands of unaffordable housing estates... Well if this council think any thing of Harlow s waiting list.. You work the number s out,,, and then next consultation, if one,, it will be reduced, like the Gilston project s..
is this real council homes at the council homes rent formula .or is it a deception of Housing association allocated homes as was decrepitly put by the Gilston consultation. we know this trick I took to Harlow council questions..PS this is used in other national developments to fool local residents. Like the Who song we don't get fooled again. This needs to be direct local labour with real apprentships.Harlow and District trades union council.