Planning permission approved for multi-million pound creative studios and homes next to Harlow Playhouse

News / Thu 11th Apr 2024 at 10:16am

PLANNING permission has been approved for a multi-million pound major development next to the Harlow Playhouse.

The Harlow Council planning committee voted unanimously to support it on Wednesday night.

The proposal will now see new cultural facilities including a 350 “seater” music venue as well as 47 new homes.

The film of the agenda item including full discussion can be seen below.

Proposal approved: Redevelopment of land to the west of Harlow Playhouse,
including Occasio House, to provide a 2 no. storey detached
extension to Harlow Playhouse to provide creative studios and
performing arts space, music school and recording studio, cafe,
changing rooms and booking office (Sui Generis); and an
additional part 6 no. and part 5 no. storey building to provide
flexible commercial and community floorspace at ground floor
level (Use Class E and Use Class F.1/F.2) with residential flats
above (Use Class C); together with landscaping, public realm
improvements, improvement works to the Haydens Road subway,
re-direction of College Gate and re-location of the taxi rank; and
associated access and parking provision.

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11 Comments for Planning permission approved for multi-million pound creative studios and homes next to Harlow Playhouse:

2024-04-11 14:34:24

That's nice- don't worry about the students+staff at SFG waiting for a new school, patients+staff waiting for a new hospital, potholes in roads needing repairs, in fact the whole town needing bringing out of the pits, as long as the Playhouse area gets a makeover. The priorities in this town are unbelievable.

2024-04-11 16:11:32

Unfortunately Jean, SFG, the hospital and roads are not within Harlow Council’s control. As much as I would like to blame everything on the Council there are many things out of their control. The real villains are the government for SFG and the hospital, and Essex Council for the potholes.

2024-04-11 20:52:02

Yes, it is important to distinguish what Harlow council has control about and what they don't. It does show that Harlow can try all it likes to improve but is at the mercy of ECC. It seems to be that these differences have been hilighted quite a bit the last few months and is really starting to show who is letting the town down!

Bruce Downey
2024-04-12 05:25:22

He’s Misstra Know-It-All- N Taylor, bleating on about this is wrong, that is wrong lol. One of his so-called facts about the music venue, wrong again! the new music venue has a bigger Not smaller capacity than the square.. are you going to apologise for misleading statements?

Nick Gunning
2024-04-12 06:55:42

Part of the problem is the original plan of the town and the 'add-ons' required to try and make a stupid design work. All those bleak soviet style squares, exceptionally ugly buildings conforming to Gibberds public toilet style architecture, and a Theatre that isn't in a main thoroughfare! A wasteful design that competent ignores people's actual habits. Move the theatre into the Woolworths building and move the bus station to the site opposite the church (it has won awards for its dreadfulness). Artistic quarters work when they're integrated in communities, but separate modules in a crude design! Perhaps changing some of the storage units posing as flats into real houses would be an idea. Imagine the artist needs some plugs for her studio lighting and has to go half a mile away to a shopping park to get them, then half a mile in the opposite direction to get food for her opening exhibition, then finds many of the shops with interesting and varied stock have been driven away by excessive rents, so they have to go to towns miles away. You can't build communities with a diagram; the Gibberd experience should have taught the council that!

2024-04-12 07:20:00

Totally agree Chad , I am getting fed up that people keep making this mistake. Perhaps that's why they call themselves local.

2024-04-12 08:29:56

Very happy with these plans and glad they've got through planning. On a related note - the obvious solution to the theatre-size problem for me is it could be relocated into the council owned, old BHS building in the Harvey Centre (council can reject the Poundland application). It'd be a more central position in the town / covered entrance through the shopping centre / bigger footprint than the current Playhouse / service yard is already there - close the walkway and entrance there to make it safe / take the first floor out to make it double height and get more seating in / moves further away from nearby residents / can keep the current playhouse for a second theatre income. Obviously needs a more detailed look at feasibility but I'd say it's worth exploring. (If it was feasible then we could all finally stop hearing the negativity from professional moaner Nicholas Taylor)

2024-04-12 09:58:12

I thought the same Matthew. The playhouse backs on to the old BHS building, if they need to expand, why not expand backwards into that building.

Nicholas Taylor
2024-04-12 11:43:00

Bruce, I understand the Square had a capacity of 250 people and the new venue holds 200. At Wednesday nights meeting however it was suggested that the latter will hold 300. I am happy to acknowledge my error, but have to say that whichever is the case, HAP believe this is a wasted opportunity when spending £20 million. The population of Harlow has risen by 50% in the last two decades and is set to increase by another 50% to about 140,000 in the next two. Much research has already been undertaken in the past and reported in these pages recently about the fact that the theatre is not big enough to attract big acts and a music venue for just 300 will never be able to attract such acts either. You clearly do not agree with the views of HAP, that's no problem for the dozens of HAP members, but sticking with your view and that of the Council, the proposals will do little to significantly increase footfall to the Town Centre. They should have looked to the Cliffs Pavilion at Southend for inspiration.

Bruce Downey
2024-04-12 14:53:47

🙄 N Taylor, You just pluck numbers out of thin air..It clearly states a 350 “seater” 👓

2024-04-13 11:38:55

I enjoy reading comments on issues like this and i umderstand a very small % of residents will be happy with large projects costing a lot of money but do provide the services to the majority. A recent consultation by council on allotments claimed that the residents of harlow where consulted. I know through research how that was done. It did not for example ask the residents on the allotment waiting list if they where in favour of the councils proposals. I have lived here for 65 years and to date the council has never approached me for my views. If their consultation around new area for arts was as minimilistic as the allotment consultation then It is highly likly that the majority of residents were unaware of any project before council came out with its news. We are having an election locally and nationally. I have yet to see a party that represents ALL residents. The left, right or centre or just plain daft no one has convinced me they are good for harlow. I know council get grants to spend on specifics shame its not on services to ALL residents. Ask the council how many jobs are vacant and what services those jobs provide then if thise jobs were filled we may have money spent on the good of ALL not just the few. If Harlow news reads its comments how about some challenging of council like how many posts that look after specific areas are not filled. These posts provide a service and council not employing them to cut back.

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