Levelling Up Fund

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)