Harlow Civic Society

Harlow Civic Society was founded in 1999 to appreciate, encourage and conserve Harlow as a balanced community with a unique architectural design and heritage. We seek to uphold the ideals that went into the building of the town and to keep these ideals at the forefront of all new developments.

In the days of the Development Corporation design matters were in the hands of their planners and architects with Sir Frederick Gibberd as consultant. Today, with design now the responsibility of many developers, we strive to ensure that the principles of Gibberd’s master plan are safeguarded.

Membership is open to anyone who agrees with the aims of the society, which can be found below. To join, please complete the joining form here.

Our Aims and Objectives:

  • To encourage the best in new development
  • To appreciate and conserve heritage
  • To care for and about the natural and built environments of the town and surrounding areas
  • To provide an open forum for discussion
  • To act as a pressure group and co-ordinating body with other organisations
  • To promote civic values by informing public opinion
  • To provide young people in education with learning tools
  • To protect the interests of local people and resist the loss of public assets, amenities and open spaces

We aim to achieve this by:

  • Commenting on significant planning applications
  • Seeking to influence the Council and developers to aim for the highest possible quality in new developments, for example, through our annual Architectural Design Award
  • Proactively making proposals where renewal or change is necessary
  • Promoting the town and its unique qualities wherever we can
  • Playing an active part in the planning process at all levels
  • Organising regular talks and events.
Unveiling the plaque for Sir Frederick Gibberd
The plaque for Dame Sylvia Crowe

Sir Charles Kao Plaque
Walk in Parndon Wood
Sir Winston Churchill Plaque

Activities that we have been involved with include:

  • Making submissions on local planning applications and appearing at planning enquiries and examinations
  • Production of a regular members newsletter. Download or view recent ones here.
  • Organising talks and events such as walks to appreciate the sites, architecture and landscaping of an area
  • Organising and supporting local campaigns
  • Organising the annual Harlow Architectural Design Awards (HADA) to encourage excellence in the design of new developments and to promote public participation and understanding. Click here for the HADA website.
  • Fundraising and installation of plaques to commemorate the work of  local people:
    • Sir Frederick Gibberd
    • Dame Sylvia Crowe, landscape planner and designer of our Town Park
    • Sir Charles Kao, inventor of fibre optic communication
    • Alec Reeves CBE, inventor of pulse code modulation
    • Rene Morris, community activist and Labour Councillor
    • Sir Winston Churchill, statesman and former MP before the New Town
    • Sam Deards, inventor of the cricket scoreboard
    • Douglas Hayter, pioneer of the rotary lawnmower.
  • Fundraising and organisation of the refurbishment of local historian Canon Fisher’s grave
  • Giving talks on the development and history of the town to local schools
  • Organising a major symposium with the Council to mark the 60thanniversary of the designation of the new town
  • Production of a travelling exhibition promoting the town. Locations for this included the Houses of Parliament, County Hall at Chelmsford as well as local schools and other venues.
  • Organisation of Heritage Open days covering both Harlow’s historic and new town buildings
Orchard Croft
The Lawn

Alec Reeves Plaque
Walk around the Newhall area
Douglas Hayter Plaque