Future High Streets Fund proposals consultation

The Future High Streets Fund (FHSF) has been set up by government to help local areas make long-term strategies for their high streets and town centres.

Harlow Council submitted an expression of interest for this funding, which has been successful.  We have now been invited to submit a business case for funding of up to £25m.

If successful, we plan to use this funding to support the regeneration of Harlow town centre. We have been working with consultants to develop proposals for two key areas that we will seek investment from FHSF.

You can find more information on the Future High Streets Fund and how the funding works on GOV.UK

Project 1: Playhouse Quarter

Our aim for Playhouse Quarter, which is located in Playhouse and College Squares (in between The Water Gardens and Harvey Centre), is to create a new welcoming approach to Harlow Playhouse, the Harvey Centre and The Water Gardens, as well as improve the setting and open space around St Paul’s Church.

The proposals for Playhouse Quarter include a series of new buildings developed opposite Harlow Playhouse and on the current Occasio House site which will provide new spaces for arts, cultural and leisure uses (as well as public sector services).

On the upper floors of these buildings we propose building new homes for ‘key workers’ (such as nurses, doctors and teachers) at affordable rents.

We also propose major improvements to the public spaces including re-siting the existing taxi rank to College Square, shared pedestrian and vehicles surfaces, creation of a cycle transport hub (for pedal and ebikes) and new green landscaping.

Harlow Council owns the majority of land in Playhouse Quarter except for Occasio House and we are in discussions with the owner to purchase the land.

You can see the proposals for Playhouse Quarter in full detail (pdf)

Project 2: Stone Cross Square (currently Market Square and 21 The Rows)

Our vision for Market Square, renamed Stone Cross Square, is to create a new northern gateway to Harlow town centre with this area becoming a hub of trading activity and an event location with open, green spaces and public sculpture.

Stone Cross Square will see the creation of community and commercial spaces to support a range of activities and events including pop-up markets and street trading.

We also propose creating a welcoming landscape with a cycle and ebike transport hub.

Before Market Square was named in the mid to late 1950’s, the area was known as Stone Cross, with Stone Cross Hall adjacent to the square. Recognising the shift from a dedicated market place, we want to rename Market Square and 21 The Rows to Stone Cross Square to signal the new chapter in the area’s future.

You can see the proposals for Stone Cross Square in full detail (pdf)

Tell us what you think

We have developed these proposals taking into consideration previous consultations, however we also wanted to get your thoughts on the plans. We ran a survey which was open from 1 July 2020 until 14 July 2020.