Tory-run Harlow Council set to approve £32 million investment which they claim will “improve council facilities and services”

News / Wed 14th Feb 2024 at 08:26am

HARLOW Council is set to invest millions of pounds to “improve local services and facilities” as part of its budget proposals for 2024 to 2025.

A press release issued by the council claims that this is a budget which protects all council services from cuts, there will also be major investments in much-loved community services such as Pets’ Corner, Harlow Playhouse, Harlow Museum, paddling pools and splash parks.  

Photograph by Brian Thomas Photography

The proposed £32.8 million programme of improvements include:

  • £660,000 investment to upgrade Harlow Museum
  • £350,000 investment to upgrade facilities at the Playhouse
  • £35,000 project to upgrade the central island of Pets’ Corner to enhance visitor experience
  • Investment into further upgrade of the much-loved paddling pools and splash parks

The council is also proposing to:

  • Invest £1.2 million to upgrade council-owned assets such as shopping hatches and neighbourhood shopping centres and there’s a new Neighbourhood Renewal Fund to deliver targeted neighbourhood renewal projects across the town
  • Invest £830,000 into enhancing the Latton Bush Centre to support local small and medium businesses, charities and community organisations
  • Invest £200,00 in measures to install protective barriers around the town’s green spaces to stop unauthorised traveller encampments
  • Significantly invest in a further roll out of CCTV to crack down on anti-social behaviour and crime
  • Significantly invest into infrastructure for which Harlow council is responsible including unadopted highways and roads, drainage clearance, flood alleviation and council-owned car parks

The programme overall will support the council’s new priorities to renew our neighbourhoods, rebuild our town, protect our communities, and deliver high-performing council services. 

Commenting on the proposals, the Cabinet Portfolio Holder for Finance and Governance, Councillor James Leppard, said: “We know how much local residents enjoy our fantastic community facilities and services and that’s why not only are we investing more in the day-to-day running of the services, but also investing significantly to further enhance and improve our facilities.

“Whether it’s upgrading the Museum, Playhouse, Pets’ Corner or our splash parks, to enhancing the Latton Bush Centre, to installing more CCTV and barriers to stop unauthorised traveller encampments, we are investing significantly in Harlow residents’ priorities whilst freezing our share of council tax.”

The council’s budget proposals will be discussed at this Thursday’s (15 February) Cabinet meeting and debated at the Full Council meeting on 22 February 2024.

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17 Comments for Tory-run Harlow Council set to approve £32 million investment which they claim will “improve council facilities and services”:

2024-02-14 08:41:27

Bring back the playbarns for the kids. Stop wasting money on shit no one cares about. Do something for the kids for crying out loud. They’ve literally got nothing in this once great town!

2024-02-14 08:46:53

With this investment can we now see public toilets open at our local shopping centres and especially at the paddling pools.

2024-02-14 09:15:36

They get into power then seem to do what they like. 600k in to the museum !!! That money could be better spent elsewhere. Yes like others say why not a centre where young people can go ect. Why not ask the public of Harlow where to spend our money?

2024-02-14 09:49:02

And for how many years has this been coming? Strange it should appear now, us gullible voters can't think why?

2024-02-14 10:39:32

The Playhouse is already too small for the over 90,000 people living here. It was built for the 60,000 people who lived here, with 404 seats. Taking out the seats needed for the sound person, 4 to 6 seats, leaves 398 seats to sell. As the seats go away from the stage, the seats get closer. The higher you are, the less legroom you get. Anyone who is six feet tall struggles to sit through a performance. The price per seat remains the same throughout the theatre. I’ve noticed with emails sent by The Playhouse telling me of the fantastic shows it is hosting the only the available seats are the ones with the less leg room. Under the future Gilston – Harlow proposal, there will be around 250,000 people within the Harlow town area, with just 398 seats to sell. What should have happened with the Conservative-run Harlow council when it embarked on spending £20m of government funding of taxpayer's money on a new leisure facility around the Playhouse is to build a much new bigger Playhouse in line with future projected population. Market Square is in need of a massive investment: a new Playhouse for 2,000 to 2,500 people should have been built, enabling much larger productions to be attracted to the town. Don't waste anymore money on the Playhouse.

Paul C
2024-02-14 12:51:49

Hilarious to think the Conservative council are investing to help small businesses when Sunak and Hunt are trying to destroy them; IR35, lack of support during Covid, new Companies Act requirements that won't "level the playing field" (per the Companies Registrar). And the list goes on.

2024-02-14 14:32:30

If only we could see the accounts, and where money has gone to after selling off the Sports centre etc.

2024-02-14 17:29:21


2024-02-15 07:31:02

We need youth services for our kids, somewhere safe to go, off the streets, people they can turn to. Youth workers are valuable. Play schemes need to come back, investing in kids means investing in the future.

2024-02-15 07:35:12

What's The Other £29 Million Going On !

2024-02-15 13:31:10

How about instead of investing in all these projects which don't really impact daily life for most you invest this money on bringing your mouldy council properties up to a decent standard! (For the record I am a homeowner and won't benefit from you sorting out your council properties I am just sick to death of hearing about people who are stuck in the trap of needing to rely on council houses and being left in buildings which are not fit for purpose and causing respiratory illness in kids and adults who have no choice but to live there) pull your finger out Harlow Council and start looking after your tenants instead of wasting our tax money!

2024-02-15 18:14:32

I have just watched the 6pm news on BBC1. 15/2. Showing the town centre. I am totally embarrassed to say I live in Harlow. The town is disgusting . For gods sakes pump the money into building a new town centre. The news programmes are making a habit of showing Harlow as a complete dump, the worsed thing about it , is they are right.

2024-02-15 20:04:49

When the term 'significantly invest' is used, how much is this significant investment in sterling?

2024-02-15 20:40:42

No plans to finally force the sale of the derelict cinema in the town that is encouraging the feral pigeons to breed and grow and it looks horrendous? Someone needs the challenge this and force the sale a demolished asap

2024-02-16 04:16:57

What about creating more parking in neighbourhoods by demolishing unused garage blocks, so drivers have somewhere decent to park, rather than clogging up roads/pavements making it impossible to drive/walk safely in some areas of Harlow. Invest money in providing something decent for teenagers to engage in, making them feel part of a community from a younger age means they are less likely to look towards gangs to be their community, and for God sake repair the roads, and not just the main roads.

Tony gardiner
2024-02-17 02:31:26

The council did demolish garages between Arkwrights and Long Ley and provided parking then promptly decided to put houses on it thus making parking a a joke in the area. Then they want to put aparking place on the only green space in the area,hopefully this has been defeated. This Tory council is joke and will waste money on projects to make themselves look good instead of providing what is needed

Martin Herglotz
2024-02-18 07:18:46

Harlow is a worker reservation near the outskirts of London. So, we can assume that most people who live there are working class. Who the hell is voting for Conservatives in the council or the MP, Conservatives have absolutely no interest in the great unwashed. They only ever do anything only of they personally benefit financially from the contracts. Look at the MP voting record in par, he votes EVERY TIME against the benefit of Harlow residents, lower school budgets, less help for disabled, bearing in mind he gets additional benefits for being a disabled MP, bedroom tax for pensioners, every single vote he made was to screw people of Harlow. 'They work for yoy' website will confirm this. Vote the despicable tory types out, for Christ's sake people of Harlow, wake up.

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