Harlow Local Plan

Harlow Local Development Plan

The Harlow Local Development Plan was adopted on 10 December 2020 at the full Council meeting. It is the framework for the consideration and determination of all planning applications.

It has a positive vision for the development of our town which we support and this is given below.

The plan sets out the strategic growth strategy and objectives for the Harlow area with the development of the Harlow and Gilston Garden Town.

We welcome the statement that ‘The Local Plan has been informed by the guiding principles of Sir Frederick Gibberd’s original master plan for Harlow as a planned New Town. These principles have shaped Harlow’s distinctive urban form and landscape character and will help underpin the development and delivery of Garden Communities across the Harlow and Gilston Garden Town.’ We will be aiming to help ensure that this happens in practice.

The Garden Town includes housing in four areas, with the following numbers of dwellings planned to 2033:

South of Harlow (Latton Priory) – approximately 1,050 dwellings (within the Epping Forest district);

West of Harlow (Water Lane Area) – approximately 2,100 dwellings (within the Epping Forest district);

East of Harlow – delivering approximately 3,350 dwellings (750 within Epping Forest District and 2,600 within the Harlow district);

Gilston Area (including seven villages) – approximately 3,000 dwellings to 2033 with a further 7,000 dwellings after this (within the East Hertfordshire district).

Within Harlow there are a number of smaller sites identified. These are listed here below.

You can view or download the full Local plan and the Policies map from here.

You can find out more about the Local Plan process and other planning documents on the Council website here.

You can read more about the vision and plans for the Garden Town on their website here.

Local Plan Vision

By 2033, Harlow will have: 

  • regained its reputation as a place of aspiration, innovation and prosperity; 
  • secured its role as a key urban centre that has benefited from growth, regeneration and sustained investment in infrastructure, services and facilities; 
  • provided sufficient new homes to meet local needs, providing opportunities to those unable to purchase open market housing, through a significant increase in the provision of affordable homes; 
  • a reputation as a location for high tech industries, research and development, advanced manufacturing and information technology, and the disparity between the skills and qualifications of Harlow residents compared to visitors will be significantly reduced; 
  • excellent education facilities, which the varied, vibrant and aspiring communities will be taking advantage of; and 
  • become famous for its quality and quantity of public art, building on its status as a sculpture town. 

Harlow’s residents will be more active, taking advantage of Harlow’s excellent sporting, leisure and cultural facilities.

The perception of Harlow as a declining economic centre will have been reversed through the success of the Enterprise Zone sites and securing the status of the district as a prime business location and retail destination. 

The district’s economy will be diversified and there will be a wide range of employment opportunities across Harlow, fit for a modern and dynamic economy. 

New development will have revitalised key areas. A programme of urban renewal will have replaced poorer housing stock with modern and sustainable buildings; this will have been complemented by a programme of selective development in locations across the district as part of a holistic programme of regeneration and redevelopment.

Major progress will have been made to address Harlow’s health and wealth inequalities as well as addressing localised deprivation across the district’s deprived neighbourhoods.

The amount of vacant and underused land in the district will have been minimised. Urban expansion of Harlow will be complete and residents will see the benefits of the growth through better infrastructure and other facilities and services across the district. The Town Centre, Neighbourhood Centres and Hatches will be thriving mixed- use areas benefiting from an improved public realm and increased activity. 

Harlow will have retained a network of Green Wedges, supplemented by a number of Green Fingers. The district’s Green Infrastructure, including green and open spaces, will be of consistently high quality and better connected to residential areas, providing multifunctional opportunities for residents and wildlife. Residents will also benefit from improved access to the countryside surrounding Harlow. 

The land use and transport policies will be co-ordinated to ensure the maximum possible increase in passenger transport, walking and cycling. Major investment will be underway to address a number of specific transport capacity issues which are currently restricting growth and investment. This investment will include a new junction on the M11 (Junction 7a); substantial improvements to the internal road network, including support for a northern bypass beyond the Local Plan period; and the provision of an improved railway network through Crossrail 2 and/or four-tracking of the West Anglia mainline. 

New development will minimise the use of global resources, support the development of good waste management and mitigate and adapt to the effects of climate change. Development will be innovative in design and construction and new buildings will be energy efficient and use as much energy from renewable sources as possible. 

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Housing Sites within Harlow

The local plan identifies the following sites for housing within the Harlow District. These are shown on the policies map.

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