We send all our members and supporters very best wishes for Christmas and the New Year.

We hope you found the emails we have sent out during 2023 both interesting and informative and that walkers enjoyed the walks led by John Curry.

For 2024, we are planning to increase the information we send out including more posts on Facebook. You can follow us at https://www.facebook.com/HarlowCivicSociety.

We are looking further at what activities we should focus on to best influence developments and how we can expand our membership to increase our impact. Please send us your ideas about what you think would make a difference to contact@harlowcivicsociety.org.uk.

John is planning three walks in 2024 and a showing of films about Harlow, such as ‘The Last Show’ and ‘Faces of Harlow’ both from 1961, is planned for April 12th at The Playhouse. Details will follow in the New Year.

In the meantime, here are some news items that we hope will be of interest.

We wish you a happy, peaceful and healthy Christmas and New Year.

Harlow Heritage Nominations: Local List Update

In Spring 2023 Harlow Council invited people to nominate historically important assets across Harlow for possible inclusion on the Local List, which is a schedule of assets of heritage value that are not already nationally listed. We participated in this and nominated several buildings and a number of sculptures.

We were invited to be part of a panel reviewing the scoring of the nominations. The Council has now produced the Harlow Local List Update 2023 Shortlist and is asking for comments on the items in the shortlistSubject to responses received, the shortlisted assets will be added to a new version of the Local List which will be adopted by the Council.

The Shortlist has been published on the Council’s website at www.harlow.gov.uk/listed-buildings along with the Background & Process and Nominations Scoring documents, which accompany the Shortlist and provide more information about how the assets were scored.

You will see places such as the Memorial University of Newfoundland, Market House, Mark Hall Park and the Zig Zag bridge on the shortlist as well as many of Harlow’s unique sculpture collection. We believe the proposed list is a huge improvement in recording many of Harlow’s heritage assets.

We encourage you to support the Shortlist and perhaps comment on nominations that didn’t get onto it, by emailing myharlow@harlow.gov.uk or by writing to Forward Planning, Civic Centre, Harlow, CM20 1WG. The documents can also be viewed at the receptions of the Council’s Civic Centre and the Harlow Central Library.

The consultation  closes on Friday 22 December 2023.

Harlow Museum Proposals

Harlow Council has submitted a planning application to make improvements to Harlow Museum.

They include a future extension of education provision, new exhibition space and a new cafe at Harlow Museum & Walled Gardens.

You can see the details of the application and make comments at:

The consultation closes on 28th December 2023.

The plans are the first stage of a long-term plan for enhancing the museum service.

The proposals include:

  • A new classroom in part of the Walled Gardens and extending exhibition space in the courtyard
  • A café and community space on the side of the former scouts building on First Avenue
  • Enhancements of the landscaping around the museum site.

Some indicative pictures from the proposals are shown above.

Art and Culture Quarter

The latest plans for the £20m Harlow Arts and Cultural Quarter in Playhouse Square have been announced.

The scheme is being funded by the Government’s Levelling Up Fund. New designs for the scheme have been released following the completion of the demolition of the Occasio House site.

You can find out more about the plans and give feedback on them by dropping into the Discover Harlow Hub in the Harvey Centre (next to the Works). The hub has been advertised to be open 10am to 2pm every Thursday from January 4th. The scheme’s latest designs will also be going online shortly.

The Harlow Arts and Cultural Quarter will form a new western gateway as part of the regeneration of Harlow town centre. The scheme will provide a range of new facilities such as:

  • Performance and exhibition spaces
  • New café and booking office for the Playhouse
  • Music school and recording studios
  • Flexible studio spaces
  • New location for the Gibberd Gallery
  • Improved public realm to provide opportunities for performances and a new public square and park
  • New residential apartments to support delivery of the scheme.

After this consultation a planning application will be submitted. Subject to planning approval, work on the scheme is planned to start next year.

Our AGM – 10th October 2023

John Grindrod Gave an excellent talk entitled Different Ways to Design a New Town. It was a dash through everything from garden cities to unbuilt new towns and more recent developments to show how ideas have developed since Harlow was designated, and how this might influence its future.

You can see the slides from John’s presentation here.

John spent the afternoon walking around parts of the town from  the Town Centre to Old Harlow. He wrote up his visit on his substack  as ‘Harlow Gold’ giving a very positive account of our town. You can see it here and sign up to his substack here.

Our secretary, Isobel Urquhart, and our long standing committee member, John Curry, both stood down. We are extremely grateful for all that have done for the Civic Society and the contributions they have made to our town. Our best wishes go to both of them. We are very pleased that John will be continuing his much appreciated walks in 2024.

In the formal business of the meeting the following were elected:

Chair               Tony Evans
Treasurer        Phil Hardcastle
Secretary        Annalise Taylor
Committee      Moira Jones, Barbara Burge, 
                      Frank Jackson, Peter Mountsteven,
                      Robin McCartney, Jake Shepherd

We would welcome new members of the committee. If you are interested please email us at contact@harlowcivicsociety.co.uk.

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