Supplementary planning documents and guidance

Supplementary planning documents (SPDs) provide supporting advice and guidance to support policies contained in a Local Plan. SPDs are not part of the statutory development plan but are important in providing additional guidance for development plan policies. They can be site specific or thematic.

Consultation SPDs

Draft Staple Tye SPD consultation

We are consulting on the draft Staple Tye SPD. The purpose of the Staple Tye SPD is to provide a clear, robust and deliverable development framework which can be used to regenerate the Staple Tye neighbourhood centre and surrounding area.

The SPD has been developed around an outline strategy for 4 key areas:

  • redevelopment opportunities
  • public realm improvements
  • connectivity improvements
  • retention of key uses

The SPD area will already benefit from investment from the Towns Fund in providing high quality business units and flexible workspace as well as improvements to the cycleway and underpasses.

The SPD, once adopted, will inform relevant pre-application discussions and will be a material consideration in the determination of planning applications in the Staple Tye area.

You can view a copy of the draft Staple Tye SPD (pdf)

You can also view the SPD at Great Parndon Library, Harlow Central Library or the Civic Centre during normal opening hours.

There will also be exhibition boards in Great Parndon Library and the Civic Centre until the end of the consultation.

We may not accept comments we receive after the closing date.

How to respond

We would like to get your views on draft SPD. The consultation opens on 10 August 2022 and closes at 5pm on 23 September 2022.

You can give us your comments by email to

You can also write to us at Forward Planning, Civic Centre, The Water Gardens, College Square, Harlow CM20 1WG.

Adopted SPDs

Town Centre Masterplan Framework SPD (adopted March 2022)

Affordable and Specialist Housing SPD (adopted October 2021)

Green Infrastructure and Public Open Space SPD (adopted March 2022)

Harlow Design Guide SPD

The Harlow Design Guide SPD was adopted in October 2011. In December 2021, the Harlow Design Guide Addendum SPD was adopted. The addendum contains additional design guidance on a range of subject matters which have been addressed in recently-updated national planning policy and guidance. Both SPDs should be read together.

In 2022, we will produce a completely new Design Guide which will supersede these Design Guide SPDs. More information will be available on this page when this has been drafted.

The Stow Neighbourhood Centre Design Framework SPD (adopted July 2016)

Applicants need to consult with Essex County Council Highways on all highways matters.

You should also read the services and access chapter of the Essex Design Guide, which provides detailed highways design guidance, in addition to current best practice guidance, including a manual for streets 1 and 2.

Development briefs

Draft Wych Elm development brief consultation

Consultation has now closed on the Wych Elmd development brief. A draft version of development brief for the Wych Elm area (pdf) is still available to view.

We are now considering the responses we received in the consultation and what amendments should be made to the development brief before it is adopted.

Once adopted, it will become a material consideration in the determination of planning applications for the Wych Elm area. It will also inform relevant pre-application discussions.

Guidance documents

The council and Harlow and Gilston Garden Town (HGGT) have also produced several guidance documents which support policies in the Local Plan and the determination of planning applications. The guidance documents are not part of the statutory development plan but are important in providing additional guidance for development plan policies.

Employment and skills contributions in new development (March 2021) (pdf) - this sets out Harlow Council’s approach to delivering employment and skills opportunities from planning applications. This will be delivered in respect of obligations or contributions for employment, skills and training, opportunities and apprenticeships or work experience schemes.

Use class order and town centre frontages (April 2021) (pdf) - this explains how policies in the Local Plan that refer to specific use classes should be applied in light of changes to the use class order. It also outlines the primary and secondary retail frontages for Harlow town centre as set out on a GIS Map.

HGGT guidance documents

The following documents can be found on the HGGT website

  • Vision and Design Guide
  • HGGT Infrastructure Delivery Plan
  • How to Guide for Planning Obligations and Viability
  • Sustainability Guidance and Checklist