Local Development Plan Emerging Strategy Consultation (read-only)

Ended on the 30th May 2014
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1. Introduction

1.1 Harlow Council is currently preparing a new Local Plan which will cover the period 2011 to 2031. This will be called the Harlow Local Development Plan and will replace the Adopted Replacement Harlow Local Plan (2006 - 2011). The Harlow Local Development Plan will set out the planning framework for Harlow up to 2031 and will include:

  • A vision of how Harlow will grow and develop to meet the needs of residents and the business community.
  • Strategic objectives for the area to achieve the vision which will guide and manage growth.
  • A Spatial Strategy which will identify areas of significant change, including those areas of Harlow where change is needed and where new growth can be accommodated.
  • Core policies which will be high level and provide the key strategic framework to guide development in Harlow.
  • Detailed policies setting out how proposals for development will be assessed.
  • Place policies and strategies1 which will provide further detail on how different areas of Harlow will change during the plan.
  • A schedule of infrastructure requirements and a supporting strategy for the implementation of these to ensure development can be accommodated.
  • An explanation of how the plan will be monitored and actions implemented if the plan is not performing.

1.2 The Harlow Local Development Plan will consist of the following documents:

Figure 1.2

The Harlow Local Development Plan

About this consultation

1.3 This consultation document is the next stage in the preparation of the Harlow Local Development Plan. The Council began the process of replacing its existing Local Plan through the publication of the Core Strategy Issues and Options consultation document (2010/11). This set out options for growth based on the development requirements in the East of England Plan. However, since 2010 the Government has made wide ranging changes to the planning system which included the abolition of the East of England Plan.

1.4 The Council is now responsible for identifying the level of growth needed in the area as well as the location of new development in the town. However, the Council does need to ensure the plan is in accordance with the National Planning Policy Framework. This means providing for Harlow’s objectively assessed housing needs for new market and affordable housing2, providing sufficient land to meet its employment and economic aspirations and ensuring provision of sufficient infrastructure where and when it is needed. In addition, evidence shows that additional development will be required to deliver the long term investment in housing, infrastructure and the economy to deliver the regeneration of Harlow; securing this growth will be a key feature of the strategy.

1.5 Harlow faces a number of issues and development pressures, all in the context of a diminishing land supply because of a tight administrative boundary. The Council will therefore need to work with its adjoining authorities to meet a proportion of this need and the necessary supporting infrastructure required to deliver this development. The purpose of this consultation is to set out the revised strategy for Harlow and to answer the following key questions:

  1. How much development is needed in Harlow to meet the town’s needs?
  2. What approach would best deliver the Council’s corporate objectives?
  3. What form of development would reflect the unique character of the town?
  4. What are the main constraints and limitations to delivering development that need to be considered?

How is this document structured?

1.6 This document explains how the strategy has been developed and how it has changed since the Issues and Options consultation in 2010/11. The background information about Harlow (the spatial portrait) and the issues and challenges facing the town are examined to identify the vision and key priorities for Harlow between 2011 and 2031. Key elements of the spatial strategy, including the amount of housing needed together with five alternative patterns of development to accommodate this level of growth, are then described.

1.7 This document is supported by a Strategic Environmental Assessment/Sustainability Appraisal which assesses the spatial implications of each option and will inform the development of the Council’s preferred approach. In addition a number of technical papers have been prepared to provide the background to the consultation document including the Harlow Spatial Options Study (Stages 1 – 3).

What will happen next?

1.8 The responses to this consultation will inform the preferred spatial strategy for Harlow. The Council will continue to work with adjoining authorities, where appropriate, to determine future development needs, infrastructure requirements and locations for development in Harlow and the surrounding area.

1.9 These considerations will feed into the next stage of the Harlow Local Development Plan which will be published for further consultation before being submitted to the Secretary of State for public examination. This document will set out the detailed policies and proposals that will shape and guide future development in Harlow.

1.10 It is anticipated that further consultation will take place in late 2014 / early 2015. However, depending on the issues raised during this consultation and the outcomes of further evidence gathering, the Council may undertake a further consultation before publishing the draft plan.

Previous Spatial Strategy for Harlow

1.11 Previously the Council had been required to implement the development strategy for Harlow as set out in the East of England Plan. Under this Plan Harlow was defined as a Key Centre for Development and Change (Policy SS3) and a Priority Area for Regeneration (Policy SS5).

1.12 The approach to development was to promote the renaissance of the town through developing its role as a major regional housing growth point and through the redevelopment of the existing town and urban extensions. The plan also required Harlow, Epping Forest District and East Hertfordshire District to accommodate 16,000 dwellings in and around the Harlow area with 10,000 to be provided to the North of Harlow in East Hertfordshire District Council’s area. This development figure was for the “Harlow Area” and included a portion of East Hertfordshire and Epping Forest Districts’ development requirements.

1.13 In late 2010 early 2011 the Council published the Core Strategy Issues and Options for public consultation. This provided an opportunity for the community and stakeholders to comment on the level of growth proposed in the East of England Plan together with any other relevant planning issues. It also gave an opportunity to comment on the form of the development being proposed. Many of those responding to this consultation questioned a number of aspects, in particular that 16,000 new dwellings would help deliver the regeneration of the town. In addition, the proposal that 10,000 dwellings should be accommodated to the north of the Harlow was challenged.

1.14 Full details of this consultation and the responses received please see the Council’s website: www.harlow.gov.uk/ldf-consultation.


1 These will be inserts to the Local Plan and provide more detail on what is proposed locally. 2 Please see Glossary for definition of terms.
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