Local Development Plan Pre-Submission Publication
STRATEGIC GROWTH STRATEGY FOR THE HARLOW AREA
5. HARLOW AND GILSTON GARDEN TOWN
5.1 The Local Plan has been informed by the guiding principles of Sir Frederick Gibberd's original master plan for Harlow as a planned New Town. These principles have shaped Harlow's distinctive urban form and landscape character and will help underpin the development and delivery of Garden Communities across the Harlow and Gilston Garden Town.
5.2 The proposals for the Harlow and Gilston Garden Town are based upon a common set of values, objectives and a commitment to secure the delivery of growth across the area, reflecting close cross-boundary working, through the Duty to Co-operate, between Harlow, Epping Forest and East Hertfordshire District Councils and strategic partners.
5.3 Harlow and Gilston Garden Town lies in the core area of the London Stansted Cambridge Corridor, one of the most important and fastest growing economic growth areas in the country. The Councils are committed to delivering sustainable growth to support the economic ambitions of the Corridor through the delivery of housing, supported by good access to social, leisure, community, health facilities, education and jobs, that meet the needs of local people whilst ensuring the area remains an attractive place for people to live, work and locate to.
5.4 The collective commitments in the three Local Plans of Harlow, Epping Forest and East Hertfordshire District Councils set out the framework for housing delivery in the Harlow and Gilston Garden Town and demonstrate that the local level of ambition is high and there is a strong desire and commitment to achieve far more than the norm in terms of delivering growth at an accelerated rate.
5.5 Policy HGT1 provides a framework to ensure a consistent approach for the consideration of development proposals in Harlow and complements the policy approach being taken towards such development in the Epping Forest and East Hertfordshire District Local Plans. The policy is supported by more detailed Strategic and Development Management policies in the Harlow Local Plan.Corporate Priorities
5.6 This chapter and the policies contained within it will help deliver all of the Council's Corporate Priorities, as follows:
- More and better housing
- Regeneration and a thriving economy
- Wellbeing and social inclusion
- A clean and green environment
- Successful children and young people
Local Plan Strategic Objectives
5.7 This chapter and the policies contained within it will help deliver the following Local Plan Strategic Objectives:
- Objective 1 - Create and enhance high quality built environments which are well connected to revitalised green spaces
- Objective 2 - Deliver high quality design through new development whilst protecting and enhancing the district's historic environment
- Objective 3 - Adapt to and mitigate the impacts of climate change
- Objective 4 - Identify sites to meet local housing needs both now and in the future
- Objective 5 - Provide a range of suitable housing for the community including a range of tenure and type
- Objective 6 - Improve the quality of homes in the district through new developments, regenerated neighbourhoods and priority estates
- Objective 9 - Improve educational opportunities and the skills base of local residents
- Objective 10 - Provide a range of shopping needs for local residents and the wider sub-region by regenerating the Town Centre and protecting and enhancing Neighbourhood Centres and Hatches
- Objective 11 - To provide and enhance sporting, leisure, recreational facilities and cultural opportunities in the district
- Objective 12 - Ensure that development is fully supported by providing the necessary infrastructure including education, healthcare and other community facilities
- Objective 13 - Reduce the need to travel by vehicle by ensuring new development is sustainably located or accessible by sustainable modes of transport
- Objective 14 - Improve transport links, particularly for sustainable modes of transport, to community facilities
HGT1 Development and Delivery of Garden Town Communities in the Harlow and Gilston Garden Town
5.8 Harlow, Epping Forest and East Hertfordshire District Councils are working in partnership with Hertfordshire County Council, Essex County Council, Hertfordshire Local Enterprise Partnership, South East Local Enterprise Partnership, land owners and promoters to enable the delivery of transformational growth at the Harlow and Gilston Garden Town. The Garden Town lies in the core area of the London Stansted Cambridge Corridor.
5.9 The Councils are committed to delivering sustainable growth to support the economic ambitions of the Corridor through the delivery of housing, supported by good access to social, leisure, community, health facilities, education and jobs, that meet the needs of local people whilst ensuring the area remains an attractive place for people to live and locate to.
5.10 The collective Local Plans' commitments for housing delivery, in the Harlow and Gilston Garden Town, demonstrate that the local level of ambition is high and there is a strong desire and commitment to achieve far more than the norm in terms of delivering growth.
5.11 The Harlow and Gilston Garden Town represents a major opportunity at the heart of the London Stansted Cambridge Corridor to accommodate approximately 16,000 dwellings up to 2033 and new employment opportunities. The Garden Town enables the Councils to focus development where it is needed and where it can be sustainably accommodated and maximise the longer-term economic potential of the area in a proactive way.
5.12 The Councils share a bold vision and set of objectives, recognising that areas in and around Harlow can deliver significant growth to achieve wider aspirations for economic and social prosperity, addressing housing market needs and infrastructure requirements and delivering regeneration.
5.13 The Harlow and Gilston Garden Town provides the framework to enable the development and identification of clear design principles tailored to the unique characteristics of Harlow and the Gilston area. The level of strategic growth proposed enables development proposals to be guided and influenced to achieve true Garden City ambitions and quality, yet still achieve development in an efficient and timely manner.
5.14 The sustainable development of the new Garden Town Communities will be framed by the objectives set out in the Town and Country Planning Association's (TCPA) nine key guiding Garden City principles, which originate from Ebenezer Howard's original Garden City principles. This will ensure the holistically planned development enhances the natural environment and offers high-quality affordable housing and locally accessible work in beautiful, healthy and sociable communities.
5.15 To facilitate the delivery of the new Garden Town Communities based on Garden City principles, the Councils have prepared a Spatial Vision and Design Charter to provide an overarching spatial vision across each Community and a design charter that will inform Strategic Master Plans. The design principles and parameters reflect those for Garden Towns and Villages advocated by the TCPA and draw on contemporary interpretations of what a Garden Town Community can be, setting out key criteria and objectives for quality and character. An independent Quality Review Panel has been established to guide development proposals across the Garden Town and ensure that exceptional quality standards are achieved through new development, as developers must submit their proposals for assessment before pre-application.
5.16 The Councils have also prepared a Sustainable Transport Corridor Study for the Harlow and Gilston Garden Town. The Councils consider sustainable transport matters (including walking, cycling and public transport) as central to the successful growth of the Harlow and Gilston Garden Town. The Councils share an ambition to enhance established transport corridors and to create new sustainable travel corridors as part of managing overall travel demand and integrating new communities to Harlow, the Enterprise Zone and other employment areas through a choice of transport modes. Aspirations include a modal travel shift towards 60% by sustainable modes of transport.
5.17 The Councils are also working closely with partners to ensure the provision of new and improved infrastructure provision. This will include new community facilities, schools and healthcare facilities. The Councils are committed to continuing to work with the relevant healthcare authorities to ensure that new facilities are planned, including a potential future need to accommodate the relocation of the Princess Alexandra Hospital, as part of the Garden Town to meet future needs of the existing and future population.
5.18 The successful delivery of the new Garden Town Communities requires continued close joint working between relevant public and private sector partners. Each of the authorities is committed to ensuring that the new Garden Town Communities are as sustainable and high quality as possible and that the infrastructure needed to support them is delivered at the right time. This will require the local authorities to work very closely with the landowners within the proposed Garden Town Community locations. A number of delivery models are being considered, and an appropriate tailored approach will need to be used in relation to each new Garden Town Community.
5.19 In order to ensure that a joined-up, collaborative and proactive approach is taken to the planning and implementation of the Garden Town Communities, Harlow, Epping Forest and East Hertfordshire District Councils require Strategic Master Plans to be produced in order to guide future development proposals. This will ensure that development proposals are 'front-loaded', recognising the scale and complexity of delivering the Garden Town Communities.
5.20 Each site will need to be delivered in accordance with the overall Garden Town programme, requiring a co-ordinated approach across the Communities, and necessitating the involvement of a number of partners including the site owners/promoters, local communities, infrastructure providers and other stakeholders. This approach will help the Councils to secure the Garden City and placemaking objectives, whilst ensuring co-ordinated and timely delivery of development and infrastructure.
5.21 Harlow, Epping Forest and East Hertfordshire District
Councils will oversee the production of Strategic Master
Plans through the Garden Town Developer Forum. Planning
applications and any other consenting mechanisms for the
Garden Town Communities must be in accordance with the
endorsed Strategic Master Plans.
The Councils will seek to adopt the Strategic Master Plans as Supplementary Planning Documents (SPDs).
5.22 While producing Strategic Master Plans, the Councils
require ongoing widespread engagement to be undertaken with
the local community and stakeholders.
This should include an early engagement event and public consultation on the draft Strategic Master Plan prior to finalisation. Strategic Master Plans must be prepared in a form and manner which means that they are capable of adoption as SPDs.
5.23 To maintain the Green Infrastructure, public realm and community assets identified in the master plans, developers must submit, prior to outline planning permission, mechanisms for financing a sustainable long-term governance and stewardship arrangement for the community assets including Green Infrastructure, the public realm, community facilities and other relevant facilities. Such arrangements must include community representation to ensure residents have a stake in the long-term development, stewardship and management of their community.
5.24 The Garden Communities will provide flagship development, and Harlow Council will work with Epping Forest and East Hertfordshire District Councils to resolve any cross-boundary issues in delivery. The developments also provide opportunities to promote high environmental standards in terms of energy efficiency, design and low-carbon technologies, and set an example for future major development.
5.25 There are four strategic sites around Harlow, allocated as Garden Town Communities. One of these, the Strategic Housing Site East of Harlow, crosses the Harlow and Epping Forest District boundary. Harlow District Council cannot include specific policies for sites outside its boundaries but, as the Communities will be accessed through Harlow and use Harlow's facilities, such developments have a direct interest to Harlow's residents. It is especially important to maintain the connection of Harlow's existing Green Infrastructure, footpaths, cycleways and bridleways to the countryside through the new Communities. It is, therefore, appropriate for Harlow Council to support the specific site requirements for these strategic developments in the Epping Forest and East Hertfordshire Local Plans.
5.26 The components of the Harlow and Gilston Garden Town are mapped in Fig. 5.1.
Strategic Housing Site East of Harlow - New Garden Community
5.27 The Strategic Housing Site East of Harlow extends across the administrative boundary between Harlow District Council and Epping Forest District Council. The land within Harlow will provide 2,600 dwellings and land within Epping Forest will provide 750 dwellings. The development is required to provide community facilities including Early Years facilities, a two-form entry primary school and appropriate contributions (including the provision of land) towards a new secondary school. The development is also required to provide strategic Green Infrastructure. The development of the site provides the opportunity to resolve any flood risk issues, both on-site and downstream/upstream from it.
5.28 Highway and transport improvements, reflecting the outcomes of the Sustainable Transport Corridor Study, are also required. These include works to widen the B183 Gilden Way, a left turn slip road from the new M11 Junction 7a, a link road approach to the Strategic Housing Site East of Harlow northern access road, and linkages into walking and off-road cycle networks. In addition to Epping Forest's access requirement, Harlow will require the provision of an additional access road to the south unless it can be shown that a third access is not required. Satisfactory water supply and waste water network infrastructure is also required.
South of Harlow (Latton Priory) - New Garden Community
5.29 Harlow South will provide around 1,050 dwellings,
community facilities including Early Years facilities, a new
two-form entry primary school and appropriate contributions
towards a secondary school to serve new development.
Strategic Green Infrastructure, including open space, walking and cycling routes, flood mitigation and wildlife space, will also be provided.
5.30 Approximately 1ha of B1 employment land will be provided at Dorrington Farm. This will provide opportunities for high quality employment uses to be incorporated within the Harlow and Gilston Garden Town, helping to promote sustainability whilst also linking to Harlow Town Centre.
5.31 Highway and transport improvements, including works to Southern Way and Second Avenue, are also required, as well as the provision of water supply and waste water network infrastructure.
West of Harlow (Water Lane Area) – New Garden Community
5.32 Harlow West will provide around 2,100 dwellings, community facilities including Early Years facilities, a new two-form entry primary school and appropriate contributions towards a secondary school to serve new development. Strategic Green Infrastructure, including open space, walking and cycling routes, flood mitigation and wildlife space, will also be provided.
5.33 Highway and transport improvements, reflecting the outcome of the Sustainable Transport Corridor Study, are also required. These include works to the Water Lane/A1169 roundabout, A1025/Abercrombie Way signals and traffic calming along the A1169.
5.34 As the Harlow West development will be adjacent to existing Harlow community facilities, opportunities to replace or improve or extend the primary school, health centre, sports centre, playing fields and recreation facilities should be considered to support the regeneration of this area.
Gilston Area – New Garden Community
5.35 The Gilston area is located in East Hertfordshire and will provide approximately 3,000 dwellings in the Local Plan period, with a further 7,000 dwellings being provided in the next Local Plan period. In addition it will provide community facilities including Early Years facilities, primary school and secondary school provision to serve new development. Strategic Green Infrastructure, including open space, walking and cycling routes, flood mitigation and wildlife space, will also be provided.
5.36 Highway and transport improvements will be required, reflecting the outcome of the Sustainable Transport Corridor Study, including a widened Central Stort Crossing between Eastwick roundabout and Burnt Mill roundabout, a new Second Stort Crossing between Eastwick Road in East Hertfordshire and River Way, a north-south Sustainable Transport Corridor from the Gilston area to the north of the Garden Town to Latton Priory to the south, and improved access to Harlow Mill Train Station and the four-tracking of the West Anglia Mainline.
5.37 Given its proximity to Harlow and its railway stations, residents of the Gilston area will have access to substantial employment opportunities both within the town itself and further afield. As well as providing benefits to East Hertfordshire, the development will support the regeneration of Harlow by helping to draw investment to the district and enhancing its economic performance.
Princess Alexandra Hospital
5.38 The District and County Councils will work
co-operatively with all relevant stakeholders to ensure the
future provision of high quality healthcare facilities and
services, including the potential relocation of the Princess
Alexandra Hospital, to serve the wider area. These facilities
will respond effectively to planned and sustained growth and
will be sited at the most sustainable locations.
The replacement/relocation of Princess Alexandra Hospital is considered to play an important role in this.
5.39 Two potential sites for relocation of Princess Alexandra Hospital are currently being considered through a Strategic Outline Business Case: one in the Gilston area to the north of Harlow, and one at land to the east of Harlow within the Epping Forest District.