Plans for Public Health England’s (PHE) new public health science campus and headquarters have been given the green light by Harlow Council.
Last night (13 December 2017) the Council’s Development Management Committee decided to approve outline planning permission for the development at the former GSK site subject to conditions and a Section 106 Legal Agreement.
Work will now take place between the Council and PHE to finalise the legal agreement.
The campus will be the national centre for PHE’s research, training and administrative functions. The plans will see PHE relocate most of its current facilities at Porton in Wiltshire, Colindale in north London and its central London headquarters to a single, state-of-the-art science campus. PHE Harlow as it will be known will bring together experts in cancer, mental health, nutrition, smoking, alcohol, diabetes, dementia, infectious diseases, environmental hazards and climate change.
The development will provide a major boost to the local economy with 2,750 staff to be based at the currently vacant site by 2024, with scope for further expansion. Thousands of construction-related jobs would be created during the development of the site, of which it is hoped a significant number would be recruited locally.
To help develop the next generation of scientists and meet its future recruitment needs, PHE will pursue academic and commercial partnerships and work closely with local schools and colleges to offer work experience and apprenticeships. The plans include a visitor area where school groups and the local community would meet PHE scientists, attend talks, workshops and learn about public health, science and research.
The planning application includes a Travel and Visitor Plan, which outlines car parking provision and sets out sustainable travel and transport plans for the site. These include shuttle buses to and from Harlow Town railway station as well as car-share and cycle-to-work schemes.
Building work is expected to start in 2019 with phased occupation starting in 2021.
The outline planning application had widespread support from a range of local organisations who see this development as vital to Harlow’s continued regeneration and building a reputation as a place to do business.
Councillor Jon Clempner, Leader of Harlow Council, said:
"This decision signals a key moment in building Harlow's tomorrow. PHE's move is part of the regeneration of Harlow - making it a better place to live, work and visit. This development and investment in our town, and the investment which will follow, will play a major part in Harlow's bright future. New jobs and opportunities for local people and local businesses will be created and Harlow will be placed on the world map.
“Once again Harlow will lead the way as the place for protecting and improving lives. This development directly benefits the town and the businesses and people already living here.
“Together we are committed to ensuring that local people and local businesses take the opportunities the public health science campus will bring to Harlow.”