Work under way to transform Market Square as Harlow council secures government backing

News / Fri 15th Dec 2023 at 09:55am

HARLOW Council has received the backing of government to regenerate Market Square in Harlow town centre as part of the council’s priorities to rebuild our town and restore pride in Harlow. 

After many years sitting derelict, work has started on the demolition of 21 The Rows in Market Square.

The demolition of this building marks an important step in plans to transform Market Square and tackle crime and anti-social behaviour in this part of the town centre. With the building and bridge in such a poor state of repair and acting as a barrier to neighbouring shops, demolition is the best option, with its removal opening the area up, providing natural surveillance and wider footpaths at The Rows.

Councillor Dan Swords, the Leader of Harlow Council, and Councillor Michael Hardware, cabinet portfolio holder for economic development visited the site to kickstart the demolition work.

The government has approved the use of money to fund the redevelopment from the £23.7m towns fund which the council secured in June 2021. This funding will support other regeneration projects to put the heart back into Harlow town centre including improvements to Terminus Street and Broad Walk which the transformation of Market Square will complement. 

Plans for Market Square and updated plans for Broad Walk and Terminus Street will be published, along with a public consultation, early in the New Year.

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39 Comments for Work under way to transform Market Square as Harlow council secures government backing:

Bruce Downey
2023-12-15 10:50:13

Government backing? how much? or where is this money coming from? the money allocated from levelling up funds is for the bus station, broad walk and playhouse square.. or is it to rob Peter to pay paul?

2023-12-15 11:23:43

Knock it down and build flats

Nicholas Taylor
2023-12-15 11:30:05

The demolition of this building is long overdue. However the Council has already spent over a £250,000 on resurfacing the area a few years ago and then hundreds of thousands more on resurfacing the area between the former Advice Centre and Adams House. Despite this the area still looks very run down, the shrub beds created only months ago are not being looked after and of course in the meantime Market House has lain derelict for many years, the developer having gained permission to convert it to flats. Far better to have created a Cultural Square here, a much larger theatre, exhibition centre and live music venue, bringing life back in to this part of the town and giving a reason other than shopping for people to visit the town centre in the evening. The Square itself could of course be used for outdoor events, positioned as it is just yards away for the new bus terminus. Lack of vision from both Labour and the Conservatives, bearing in mind the local population is likely to increase from 93,000 to 150,000 in the next decade or so. Nicholas Taylor, Leader of the Harlow Alliance Party.

Anthony Watkins
2023-12-15 11:44:39

Everytime I see Councillor Dan Swords on Your Harlow he's got a hard hat and a bulldozer with him. Knocking buildings down is the easy part. I've seen nothing being rebuilt so far. The area by the odeon looks like it was carpet bombed years ago. Lots of talk about re-development, anything concrete on when it's actually going to happen rather than moving on to the next demolition?

2023-12-15 12:01:50

Dan Swords you really dont have a clue. To restore pride in Harlow you need to sort out what is broken in this town. The state of the pavement and roads and overgrown bushes and cars parking absolutely everywhere and anywhere and churning up all the green spaces that they park on and breaking all the pavements etc... on tuesday whilst bringing my elderly dog home from the vets and walking along Howard way just past the traffic lights,we had to walk across a flooded are of paving full of sludge mud leaves and water which was also in the road,me and my poor dog got absolutely soaked because some stupid selfish driver found it to much trouble to avoid the flood,which was possible but instead soaked me and my poor dog. Fuming is an understatement. This has also happened to my 79 year old mother at the Hides in Harlow. Sort out the bloody pavements before anything else. What a joke this town is. Cleaning the bloody sign posts dont matter,sort the pavements and fix what is broken.

2023-12-15 12:08:19

Regeneration of Market Square version 8.6, will this one last longer than this years regeneration and are the Red plant pots making a return :)

Crazyhorse 74
2023-12-15 12:25:36

Bring back the market miss that

Kim Oconnor
2023-12-15 12:47:25

Crazy horse, if they had any sense they would bring back a regular week day market. Nothing draws people in, than a market. All this demolition, left right and centre, yet to see anything actually built.. And what ever this is going to be, will they maintain it. Maintenance is not there strong point... As all of us have seen.

2023-12-15 12:53:14

Come on Dan Swords,what are you going to do abput the horrendpus pavements in Harlow? Yes pedestrians do exist and my 79 year old mother should be able to walk on the pavements and certainly not get absolutely soaked and so should myself and my poor dog be ableto walk on the pavements without getting bloody soaked. What a absolute disgrace. Restore pride,dont make me laugh.I wont be leaving this,fuming is a massive understatement.

Wil Overton
2023-12-15 13:10:07

It sounds like the old Bonanza Bar really did need removing and I tend to agree with Nicholas that the new 'cultural' space would probably be better off here rather than right outside the Playhouse. Without any kind of reason to go to that end of the town centre, no amount of 'regeneration' will really make things better and as the council can only affect the square, The Rows and any public pathways I can't see much in the way of 'destinations' or retail businesses opening (apart from the ground floor strip of units that will apparently come as part of the Strawberry Star flats, whenever they arrive). Wasn't there a plan afoot at one point to convert the block that had the electricity board shop (showing my age, there) into flats? Still, I guess they are doing something rather than letting it all just sit there and rot.

2023-12-15 13:13:39

Oh wow yet another uplift for market square in the town with stupid flower pots etc...waste of time waste of PUBLIC money.....where is the imagination of Harlow to make it a hit. I really don't think Dan Swords has any idea what he's doing...let's face it he's barely out of school so he hasn't had any experience of years behind him & obviously a new young face isn't going to cut it. All he does is reinact he's little boy image of hardhat & dumper truck. Who ever put him there!!? I think Town should be the thoughts & images of the people that live here as between us I'm sure we could do better.

Alderman Durcan
2023-12-15 14:14:02

In the past the council has looked for different options to restore this building. From art centre to community hub. We even looked at making it a stage/outdoor music venue,with the audience using the market square with seating and small pop up stalls. Indoor outdoor specialist market. Both the college and several charities have also expressed interest but sadly the building was not fit for purpose. It’s always very sad to see a land mark building being destroyed and the space will add to the growing empty space in the town centre. The easy bit is knocking things down. The challenge is to bring renewal rejuvenation and regeneration that brings back a sense of belonging and pride. Something lacking at the moment.

2023-12-15 14:24:11

resurface all the broken roads in harlow and i would be a happy boy

Mr Grumpy
2023-12-15 15:09:45

Many years ago, we used to had a thriving market in Market Square. Always busy. Then HC sold it off to the greedy private sector who, in turn increased site rents and imposed un-reasonable new rules on the traders. This caused traders not to renew their contracts and leave. The market's death was then complete. And what did those in authority blame instead? North Weald Market that was open 1 day per week. Sorry to sound so negative but I knew many of the traders who told me their reasons for packing up and it was certainly not North Weald. This all happened during the time when HC was selling off the family silver.

Clare Harrison McCartney
2023-12-15 15:22:39

The odeon does look like it’s been carpet bombed 😂. Sadly that’s privately owned so there is nothing the council can do with it. Such a shame because it would make a wicked night club. The cultural area of Harlow should be down this end as nobody goes here anymore and it will bring new life into that part of town. Harlow looks ok up the other end and the lights look beautiful this year. I’ve said it for years now, Harlow has got so much potential, yet nobody invests any money into it. Hopefully Dan swords can change this. Give the bloke a chance. Good things take time.

2023-12-15 16:17:11

Please stop immediately planing to build flats, the leaseholder rent them to families with children. Children brought up in flats is horrible, no garden no safe place to play. There is more children suffering with mental health since more flats are built. Come on Harlow politicians we need a new article to stop building flats

2023-12-15 16:36:26

Turn market square back to a market and then put a roof over it. This town needs a market. Harlow council , why do you think they called it market square for. North weald market is rubbish.

2023-12-15 17:12:22

so one small building is being demolished but the remaining run down, dirty and derelict buildings will remain. Hardly a transformation, will it be replaced by flower pots or tennis tables? The whole area needs to be flattened and turned into a community area, with culture events. This could be a great area for charities such as Mind etc to have centres along with old style cafes and tearooms. Attract people back into this area so that it's no longer overrun with drunks and antisocial behaviour. Just cleaning the place would be a good start, boarding up the empty shops with decorating hoarding would also be good, local schools and colleges could get involved. The rot has set in and no corner of this area is untouched. I'd hardly call this demolition of a semi-permanent building a win or something to be proud of. We're not stupid. The plans for housing should be blocked. This will just be another empty footprint while developers sit on their hands,

2023-12-15 20:28:42

Sort out the pavements. And put lighting from East Walk to the bus station - one part is really dark. Put lighting also from Poundland Staple Tye down the ramp to service bays. Pitch black at this time of year.

2023-12-15 20:54:26

Compulsory Purchase the area back and put the heart back by restoring the Market as an essential development. It's what residents have been demanding for decades. Any idiot can demolish a building and allow future slums in the form of 16 story flats but it's not going to put the heart back into Harlow it just puts money into the pockets of Tory donors; the property developers.

2023-12-15 21:08:22

I agree with Christopher. Stop building flats because children bought up in them suffer. We’ve got two kids in these flats above me. Four people living in a one bed flat. The child screams all the time and keeps everyone in this block awake. The sound is horrific. They are on the top floor, the child must be traumatised living up there. More houses for families please and bungalows for the older Harlow people like myself who can’t deal with noise and get up and down the stairs. Thank you.

David morton
2023-12-15 22:00:49

What a complete waste of money, Dan swords why don't you get with the program, you've been wasting money on the market square for years, table tennis tables that never get used for instance not to mention other things, why not give the people what they want like the once thriving market, for gods sake invest in the people not what makes you look good.

Old Market boy
2023-12-15 22:58:47

Bring back a market stools selling fruit and veg pet food and so many different things lived in harlow 68 years worked on the market when I was 14 years old the town centre now is a bloody disgrace.

Matt Cartmell
2023-12-15 23:11:34

This once great town which gave me employment, housing & a great future, where have you gone ,? Market the heart beat & soul of the town gone replaced by concrete tennis table & chairs. Do right by Harlow honesty people, genuine people, Sorry I forgot we now live in a WOKE society. Let's be honest everyone wants to live in a brand new Terminus, don't you. Harlow is a crap hole but I am proud to say it was my home for nearly 50 years. The council killed this town . Will always love Harlow & genuine Harlow people.

james nicholson
2023-12-16 00:06:00

The way dan swords is constantly in the news and leader of the council at such a young age makes me think Danny boy here is in the innings to replace old randy robert

2023-12-16 00:33:11

What does Dan swords actually know about our once thriving town, he's not been out of school long, do your homework Dan or speak to your peers, you've got your head in the clouds, step aside and let someone else take the Raynes.

2023-12-16 01:49:27

If you really want to see life in that part of the town, then remove the previous councils follies of concrete table tennis tables, concrete benches for non existent chess players and concrete benches for the drunks and druggies to sleep on. Then allocate, however many it will allow, market stalls for £100 for a 12 month pitch. The market comes back, it is affordable and the people will return. An added bonus that doesn't cost a penny, is that with the market back and flourishing, there will be so many people about that crime in that area would drop substantially.

2023-12-16 09:54:40

Why bother? The only people hanging about in the market square area are the druggies and drunks. The appalling bus station needs refurbishing with adequate lighting.

James Gamble
2023-12-16 11:21:01

What again? The Council have regenerated Market Square more times than some people have had hot dinners. Tell me why is it still called Market Square, there hasn't been a Market there for many years. Stop tinkering and build something the residents of Harlow can be proud of. The town centre is practically a ghost town what with Internet shopping and super stores. Extend the Harvey center and surround it with leisure facilities, perhaps a small leisure park. They could also be room left for an indoor Market.

2023-12-16 11:33:29

I went on a tour of the town recently where we were told about the future plans. The Council DO plan to re-introduce a market, possibly a Farmers Market and they actually have some other good ideas about how to use the area on non-market days. Give it a chance & then comment if it doesn't meet your expectations.

Jamie W
2023-12-16 11:45:56

No giant plant pots PLEASE.

Linda Lawrence
2023-12-16 12:12:01

Harlow Council has been small minded for years. How much have they wasted on this so called 'market area'?? Waste of tax payers money.!! This whole area has been a blight on the town for a number of years. Having lived here for 70 years I have witnessed the destruction 🙃 by Harlow Council of this once great shopping centre. Even the Water Gardens seems to be very slowly on the decline. I think the old adage 'watch this space' seems to fit.

Steven Harknett
2023-12-16 12:26:56

The glory days have gone. The so called organic vision has been revealed for what it was. Nice try Sir Fred no cigar even the school bearing your name is crumbling. 55 years ago for rhose that remember was a time of hope now however, the ravages of time, progress and societal change has impacted this town centre to such a degree that it no longer fit for purpose. Put it out of its misery and spare as further platitudes and promises.

2023-12-16 12:33:00

I prefer to see my Councillors doing stuff, knocking down buildings or whatever, rather than standing round the obelisk on a Saturday selling copies of the Socialist Worker. And a market would need to be viable - If the residents of Harlow prefer to queue in their cars to visit Lidl or B&M Bargains, then a market just isn’t sustainable.

2023-12-16 13:21:43

I have to agree with @Mr Grumpy. We had a thriving market and we got to know some of the stallholders personally. They said the constant increasing of rents with no reason as to what the increases were for was making it difficult to trade. Many of them said they were packing up and it had nothing to do with North Weald Market as they were only on Saturdays and Bank Holidays. That end of town died when they built the Water Garden end and it's a crying shame. The building being knocked down now has so much history to it. As teenagers in the 60s that was a cafe and coffee house and have great memories of there. Why are we still calling it Market Square anymore, it is a barren waste except for the drunks from the Clock tower and the druggies plying their trade at various cement tables. How many times are they going to regenerate Market Square and Terminus Street. They should have left the whole lot alone back in the 90s when it was all still thriving.

2023-12-16 13:48:32

That's great isn't it. We have a new secondary school that needs knocking down and rebuilding ad well as new housing developments that need the new school built and the shops, but let's start another project so the whole town becomes a building site..

2023-12-16 15:09:46

All you seem to do is knock buildings down in that Town Centre but nothing gets built , No progress on this Arts complex next to The Playhouse. Little walk and next to the derelict cinema . Its embarrassing

Tommy Rootsey
2023-12-17 03:37:26

Look ,forget about the market.that was 40 years ago.we need to get life in the town.no bars, no nightclubs, nothing.margate has dreamland.why don't we have one?brings in money, life,fun...harlow Council, you need a serious punch in the face.claire Harrison is fit.

Keith Elliot
2023-12-17 12:33:13

Harlow next bomb site good knocking down is about it finished any yet little walk sq site back ok stow and the so called public heath England bomb site that they said be moving in next year not even started .madness

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