We take our responsibility for engaging with local people and businesses seriously.

Wherever we can, we aim to take your views into consideration when we make decisions about things that affect you. 

Current consultations

East of Harlow Masterplanning Guidance SPD consultation

The partner authorities of Harlow and Gilston Garden Town (HGGT) are consulting on the East of Harlow Masterplanning Guidance SPD.

The aim of the document is to provide guidance for a developer producing a masterplan for the site, which is located to the east of Harlow and is allocated in the Harlow Local Plan and Epping Forest Local Plan for a combined total of 3,350 new homes. 

The document contains 12 chapters with detailed guidance on topics such as green infrastructure and landscape, connectivity and sustainable movement, layout of schools and local centres and vehicle access.

We would like your views on the SPD. You can view and respond to the document through the HGGT website.

There will also be a series of Q&A sessions, details of which will be made available on the HGGT website later in the consultation period.

You can access paper copies at the Civic Centre, Epping Forest Civic Offices,  Old Harlow Library and Harlow Library during normal office hours.

The consultation has been extended and will now closes at 5pm on Monday 16 October 2023. We may not accept comments we receive after this date.

Statement of licensing policy

We are currently consulting on an updated statement of licensing policy (pdf).

This statement sets out how we will carry out our licensing service over the next 5 years.

We would welcome your views on this statement. You can send your comments by email or by post to: Interim Assistant Director Environment, Harlow Council, Licensing Team, The Water Gardens, Harlow CM20 1WG.

This consultation closes on 25 September 2023.

Harlow and Gilston Garden Town Stewardship Charter consultation

Stewardship in the Harlow and Gilston Garden Town is all about how our new places are created and then looked after and cared for in the long term.

The draft Stewardship Charter sets out 6 high level principles for stewardship, which we feel that any proposed stewardship arrangement should achieve.

We would like to hear your views on the draft charter. You can comment via the HGGT website which includes a stewardship survey and a PDF copy of the document. 

The consultation starts Monday 7 August and finishes on 1 October. We may not accept comments we receive after this date.

Health Impact Assessment SPD consultation

We are currently consulting on the draft Health Impact Assessment SPD.

The purpose of the Health Impact Assessment SPD is to provide further guidance on Harlow Local Development Plan Policy L4 Health and Wellbeing which supports the use of health impact assessments for certain types of developments.

The SPD sets out a breakdown of the health impact assessment procedure and provides a checklist to be completed at an early stage of the planning process to help understand the impact of the development and to inform discussions with the Development Management team and Public Health team.

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

You can view a copy of the draft Health Impact Assessment SPD (pdf)

You can give us your comments is by email to

You can also write to us at: Forward Planning, Harlow Council, Civic Centre, Water Gardens, Harlow, Essex, CM20 1WG

The consultation closes at 5pm on 6 October 2023.


Election cycles

We asked for your views on whether we should change to whole council elections every 4 years, or whether we should keep the current system of ‘elections by thirds’.

Harlow Council has 33 councillors who represent 11 wards. Every ward has 3 councillors, who are elected for 4 years.

Current system

The council currently holds elections for one seat in every ward for three successive years out of four. This is known as 'elections by thirds'.

Proposed system

It is proposed that the council moves to 'whole council elections'. Under this system, all councillors would be elected at the same time, once every 4 years.

This would not affect other elections such as parliamentary, county council and police, fire and crime commissioner elections.

Why keep elections by thirds?

  • More frequent opportunities to make your views known with more immediate political accountability.
  • Greater continuity of councillors as they can’t all be replaced in a single election.
  • Gradual change that retains knowledge and experience whilst allowing for new councillors with new ideas.
  • Voting for one councillor at an election is simpler and understood by voters.

Why change to whole council elections?

  • Four year mandates and less focus on yearly campaigning.
  • Lower cost as elections won’t take place every year.
  • Allows for a complete change in councillors once every 4 years and we can have single or multi-member wards.
  • Fewer elections may reduce election fatigue which may increase turnout

Outcome of consultation

The council has the power to change its election cycles under the Local Government and Public Involvement in Health Act 2007. Following the consultation, a meeting of the Full Council will consider whether to change the electoral cycle or to keep it as it is. If the election cycle were changed, this would happen from May 2024.

This consultation closed at 5pm on 18 September 2023.