The Levelling Up Fund is a £4.8 billion fund that will support town centre and high street regeneration, local transport projects, and cultural and heritage assets.
Harlow Council submitted a £20m bid for this funding in June 2021. This initial bid was unsuccessful in the first round, but we were invited to re-submit the bid proposal in summer 2022.
We have updated and improved our proposal to regenerate Playhouse Square and College Square into a vibrant arts and culture quarter.
Bid proposal: arts and cultural quarter
The vision for the two squares is to create an arts and cultural quarter with a diverse range of artistic, entertainment, cultural and heritage disciplines to establish a regional hub of innovative events.
Iconic buildings - the Playhouse Theatre and St Paul’s Church - will remain at the heart of the new quarter.
The quarter will see brand new:
- live music and performance venue (including music school and recording studio)
- contemporary bar and café
- artist and maker studio spaces
- flexible studios for creative and performing arts, rehearsal space, events, smaller and outdoor performances, and community uses
- art gallery and associated spaces for literary arts, spoken word, education events and visiting exhibitions and installations
In addition, the scheme will provide:
- new pedestrian-focused and engaging public square for events, outdoor performances, cinema, and outdoor dining
- green pocket park with natural play installations
- accessibility provisions including disabled parking and accessibly-designed spaces
- upgraded and secure underpass beneath Haydens Road
- residential units at the previous Occasio House site
- improved taxi rank, drop-off provision and sustainable travel features
A new board will be established to bring a programme of exciting events to the town attracting a diverse range of visitors from all ages and communities.
You can find more details in our arts and cultural quarter bid proposal (pdf)