Local Development Plan Pre-Submission Publication

Ended on the 6th July 2018
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STRATEGIC GROWTH STRATEGY FOR HARLOW

6. PROMOTING SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT

Introduction

6.1 It is important that new development is focussed in sustainable locations, making the best use of existing resources and land to benefit current and future generations. The Local Plan has been developed around this principle and this is reflected in the policies.

6.2 The Local Plan also aims to manage the effects of climate change by adapting and mitigating against the impact of new development and changes of use.

Corporate Priorities

6.3 This chapter and the policies contained within it will help deliver the following Council Corporate Priorities:

  • Regeneration and a thriving economy
  • Wellbeing and social inclusion
  • A clean and green environment

Local Plan Strategic Objectives

6.4 This chapter and the policies contained within it will help deliver the following Local Plan Strategic Objectives:

  • 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 13 - Reduce the need to travel by vehicle by ensuring new development is sustainably located or accessible by sustainable modes of transport
(2) SD1 Presumption in Favour of Sustainable Development

Development that accords with the Local Plan will normally be supported, unless material considerations indicate otherwise.

Where there are no policies specifically relevant to the proposed development, it will normally be supported, unless material considerations indicate otherwise and/or either of the following apply:

  1. any adverse impacts arising from the development would significantly and demonstrably outweigh the benefits, when assessed on national planning policies;
  2. specific national policies indicate that the development should be restricted.

Justification

6.5 In order to accord with national planning policies, the Council will take a positive approach to development proposals, reflecting the presumption in favour of sustainable development.

6.6 Where no local planning policies are directly related to the proposed development, the Council will assess the proposal based on its impacts on the local environment and whether it accords with national planning policies.

Implementation

6.7 The Council will work with applicants to identify solutions to enable development proposals to be approved, and to ensure that proposals improve the environmental, economic and social opportunities of Harlow.


(2) 7. HOUSING STRATEGY AND GROWTH LOCATIONS

Introduction

7.1 The Council's strategy for housing growth during the Local Plan period sets out the amount and location of housing that will be delivered in the district. This includes support for the Harlow and Gilston Garden Town by the allocation of the Strategic Housing Site East of Harlow, forming part of one of the four new Garden Communities, which makes a major contribution towards meeting the housing requirement for Harlow. In addition there are a number of smaller housing allocations in Harlow, which also contribute to the Garden Town vision and Harlow's housing need, and will be required to be delivered in accordance with the Harlow and Gilston Garden Town Spatial Vision and Design Charter.

7.2 The Housing Strategy seeks to deliver a wide range of housing types including market, affordable and specialist housing to meet future generations' needs. The scale and type of housing needed has been identified in technical studies in accordance with national planning policies and guidance.

7.3 The main study, the Strategic Housing Market Assessment (SHMA), calculates the Objectively Assessed Housing Need (OAHN) for the district, including affordable and specialist housing requirement. However, in order to contribute to meeting the district's affordable housing need and to provide the critical mass for regeneration and urban renewal, additional housing above the OAHN has been proposed.

Corporate Priorities

7.4 This chapter and the policies contained within it will help deliver the Council's Corporate Priorities, as follows:

  • More and better housing

Local Plan Strategic Objectives

7.5 This chapter and the policies contained within it will help deliver the following Local Plan Strategic Objectives:

  • 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

(8) HS1 Housing Delivery

The Local Plan identifies sites to deliver at least 9,200 dwellings during the Local Plan period (1 April 2011 to 31 March 2033).

(1) Justification

7.6 The Local Plan must ensure there is a sufficient supply of market, affordable and specialist dwellings to meet Harlow's Objectively Assessed Housing Need (OAHN) of 7,400 dwellings. To contribute to affordable housing need and regeneration, an additional 1,800 dwellings are provided giving a total of 9,200 dwellings. Since the start of the Local Plan period, 5,558 dwellings have been granted planning permission, which have contributed towards meeting this housing requirement. This leaves sites for 1,042 dwellings to be identified, as shown in Fig. 7.1.

Fig. 7.1: Dwelling supply

Completions at 31 March 2017

1,436

Commitments at 31 March 2017

4,122

Strategic Housing Site East of Harlow

2,600

Additional requirement

1,042

TOTAL SUPPLY

9,200

7.7 National planning policies state there should be a significant increase in the delivery of new homes, with local authorities responsible for establishing the right level of local housing provision in their area, and identifying a long-term supply of housing land based on objectively assessed development needs. This means the Local Plan must establish the level of housing across the area and identify where it will be delivered.

7.8 It is important the Local Plan provides homes to meet the aspirations of local people and to attract new people to live and work in the area in order to support the district's regeneration objectives. The Local Plan must also ensure the housing needs of different types of households are met by providing the right types and mix of housing within the Housing Market Area (HMA).

7.9 A number of factors are considered when establishing the housing requirement in the OAHN: past completion rates, existing commitments, potential housing supply from the Strategic Housing Land Availability Assessment, population and household projections, and aspirations for employment and regeneration.

Objectively Assessed Housing Need (OAHN)

7.10 The assessment of housing need and the Council's housing strategy in the Local Plan reflects the principles set out in national policies and guidance.
Various Evidence Base studies, including the Greater Essex Demographic Forecasts and economic evidence, have informed the Strategic Housing Market Assessment (SHMA) and the Harlow Future Prospects Study.

The Harlow Future Prospects Study: Linking Regeneration and Growth (2013)

7.11 The Harlow Future Prospects Study links significant new development and the regeneration of the district.

The Greater Essex Demographic Forecasts 2013 – 2037 (Phase 7, May 2015)

7.12 The Greater Essex Demographic Forecasts analyse historic job growth and project the future jobs growth for the HMA and how the job growth may be distributed across the four local authorities.

Strategic Housing Market Assessment (SHMA) and OAHN

7.13 The SHMA was jointly undertaken between Epping Forest, Harlow, Uttlesford and East Hertfordshire District Councils, as these Councils' housing markets are interlinked to form the functional HMA within which the OAHN, including affordable housing need, is established.

7.14 The September 2015 SHMA indicated a need for 46,100 dwellings in the HMA. For Harlow, the OAHN is 5,900 dwellings, including 3,400 affordable dwellings.

7.15 An update to the SHMA was produced in August 2016, based on the Office for National Statistics (ONS) 2014 household projections and sub-national population projections. This assessment indicated that the OAHN for the HMA is 54,608 dwellings, an increase of nearly 11% on the 2015 SHMA figure of 46,100 dwellings. This update indicates that the OAHN for Harlow is 7,900 dwellings.
The proposed requirement of 9,200 dwellings will meet this need.

7.16 A further update in February 2017, based on proposed ONS changes to household projections, indicated a reduction in the OAHN to a need for 50,700 dwellings over the HMA. Currently the study does not differentiate the total to individual Councils as the ONS has not finalised the methodology.

7.17 A further review of the SHMA was carried out in July 2017. This concluded that the OAHN for the HMA is 51,700 dwellings over the Local Plan period, an increase of 6,200 dwellings above the household projections, which represents a 14% increase. This includes both market and affordable housing.

7.18 The number of dwellings apportioned to Harlow is 7,409 which equates to 337 dwellings per annum over the Local Plan period. This figure is used as the basis for the OAHN in the Local Plan.

Harlow Strategic Site Assessment

7.19 The Strategic Site Assessment assesses the strategic housing requirements for the HMA in accordance with the provisions of the Duty to Co-operate.

7.20 The objectives of the Assessment are to:

  • consider and evaluate potential strategic sites in and around Harlow;
  • establish up-to-date direction of travel regarding the acceptability of growth;
  • take account of high-level infrastructure implications of particular sites, and in combination across Harlow;
  • enable officers, Councillors, statutory consultees and land-promoters to understand how the sites perform; and
  • provide outputs capable of forming part of the Evidence Bases for the emerging Local Plans of the authorities.

7.21 The Assessment sets out spatial options for the distribution of 46,100 dwellings, identified in the September 2015 SHMA. The consultants who produced the SHMA advised that the latest release of sub-national population projections and household projections could increase the dwelling requirement in the OAHN to 54,600 dwellings for the HMA. The consultants also considered that the transport network would not be able to accommodate the full level of growth.

7.22 The preferred spatial option identified in the Assessment indicates that 51,100 dwellings could be accommodated across the HMA. This would represent a lower figure than that based on the latest ONS projections, but would reflect the capacity of the highway network.

Housing Requirement

7.23 The housing requirement for Harlow meets the housing need, as evidenced by the SHMA and supports the Council's priorities to achieve more and better housing and regenerate Harlow. To achieve these, the housing requirement for Harlow has been set at 9,200 dwellings, which includes completions, commitments since 1 April 2011 and sites allocated in the Local Plan. The requirement is 1,800 above the OAHN identified in the 2017 SHMA to meet Harlow's affordable housing and regeneration needs, and provides an additional buffer should any allocated sites not come forward within the Local Plan period. It will also fulfil the requirement of national planning policies to boost significantly the supply of housing and improve affordability.

(2) Implementation

Housing Supply

7.24 National planning policies require the Council to identify a supply of specific deliverable[12] sites sufficient to provide five years' worth of housing[13]. In addition a buffer of 5% or 20% should be added to the five year requirement if there has been an undersupply of dwellings in the past. Based on the 9,200 dwelling requirement annualised to 418 dwellings per annum, 2,509 dwellings should have been completed by March 2017. In reality there were 1,436 completions (239 dwellings per annum) achieved during this period, resulting in a shortfall of 1,073 dwellings on the requirement. This shortfall indicates a 20% buffer, of 633 dwellings, should be provided. Therefore, additional housing sites that can be completed in the five years need to be brought forward in order to meet the five year housing requirement calculation (see Appendices).

7.25 In addition to the need to identify deliverable sites, national planning policies also require the Council to identify a supply of specific developable sites or broad locations for growth for years 6 to 10 of the Local Plan period and, if possible, years 11 to 15. The Strategic Housing Site East of Harlow allocated for 2,600 dwellings in Policy HS3 and the housing sites allocated in Policy HS2 meet the national planning policy requirements for the first five years and the later year periods.

7.26 There have been 1,436 dwelling completions since the start of the Local Plan period (1 April 2011). There is planning permission for 4,122 dwellings (as at 31 March 2017) which contributes to the housing supply. The Local Plan is, therefore, required to allocate at least 3,700 dwellings. The housing trajectory (see Appendices) illustrates the expected rate of housing delivery for the Local Plan period.

Windfall Sites

7.27 National planning policies state that authorities may make an allowance for windfall sites in the five year supply if there is compelling evidence that such sites have consistently become available and will continue to provide a reliable source of supply.

7.28 Windfall sites are generally sites which are either below the Call for Sites[14] threshold of six dwellings in the SHLAA, or are larger sites which have not been allocated in the Local Plan. Windfall sites can provide a number of additional unexpected dwellings and can be a useful addition to the housing mix in the district in terms of tenure, price and design.

7.29 Whilst there has been a steady supply of windfall sites, their contribution to the housing supply has not been significant. The New Town legacy of Harlow means the district has been carefully planned from the outset; consequently there are very few opportunities for windfall sites. It is considered that the windfall supply in Harlow would not meet the national criteria and consequently has not been included as a reliable source of supply in the five year supply calculations.

7.30 Change of use from office to residential by Prior Notification has produced additional housing in the district, although this source of new dwellings should not be considered as windfall as the status may change during the Local Plan period. Evidence shows that the district should retain employment sites which will be required as Harlow's growth aspirations are realised.

(35) HS2 Housing Allocations

To meet the housing requirement of 9,200* dwellings during the Local Plan period, the following sites are allocated.


REF.

LOCATION

DWELLING CAPACITY



1

Princess Alexandra Hospital

650



2

The Stow Service Bays

70



3

Land east of Katherines Way, west of Deer Park

69



4

Lister House, Staple Tye Mews, Staple Tye Depot and
The Gateway Nursery

42



5

South of Clifton Hatch

36



6

Riddings Lane

35



7

Kingsmoor Recreation Centre

35



8

The Evangelical Lutheran Church, Tawneys Road

35



9

Land east of 144-154 Fennells

23



10

Pollard Hatch plus garages and adjacent land

20



11

Land between Second Avenue and St. Andrews Meadow

16



12

Coppice Hatch and garages

16



13

Sherards House

15



14

Elm Hatch and public house

13



15

Playground west of 93 – 100 Jocelyns

12



16

Fishers Hatch

10



17

Slacksbury Hatch and associated garages

10



18

Garage blocks adjacent to Nicholls Tower

10



19

Stewards Farm

10



20

Land between Barn Mead and Five Acres

10



21

Pypers Hatch

10




Total Dwellings Allocated

1,147


*Dwelling numbers are indicative and sites will be subject to detailed planning to establish their final capacity.

(6) Justification

7.31 The Local Plan has identified a dwelling requirement of 9,200 during the Local Plan period. There have been 1,436 dwellings completed during the period of 1 April 2011 to 31 March 2017 and an additional 4,122 dwellings have planning permission. This leaves a residual requirement of 3,642 dwellings to be provided.

7.32 The Strategic Housing Site East of Harlow (forming part one of the four new Garden Communities in the Harlow and Gilston Garden Town) will provide 2,600 dwellings in Harlow during the Local Plan period, and the sites allocated in Policy HS2 for 1,147 dwellings provide a total of 3,747 dwellings. This is 105 dwellings more than the residual requirement of 3,642. This overage provides an element of flexibility should some sites not come forward or their capacity is less than expected.

Implementation

7.33 An Area Action Plan will be prepared for Harlow Town Centre (HTCAAP). The town centre boundary is shown on the Policies Map, reference RS2-1. The HTCAAP will identify additional dwellings as part of mixed use proposals. These additional dwellings will give increased flexibility to the district's housing land supply.

7.34 The Council will work closely with the developers of the allocated sites to encourage sites being brought forward in a timely fashion and in accordance with the Local Plan policies.

(8) HS3 Strategic Housing Site East of Harlow

A strategic housing site for 2,600 dwellings and associated infrastructure is allocated on land to the east of Harlow. The site forms part of one of the new Garden Communities in the Harlow and Gilston Garden Town.

Developers must produce a Master Plan based on the Garden Town Charter in partnership with the Council and other stakeholders, such as Epping Forest District Council, East Hertfordshire District Council, the local community, infrastructure providers and statutory bodies.

The development must:

  1. provide integrated, well-planned and sustainable development that reflects the overarching design principles of the Harlow and Gilston Garden Town Spatial Vision and Design Charter, including the provision of Green Wedges and Green Fingers (incorporating public open space) and opportunities to enhance the biodiversity of the area;
  2. provide local highway solutions to address the impact on the wider strategic road network (including necessary links to the new Junction 7a on the M11);
  3. provide necessary infrastructure, including, but not limited to, health centres and education facilities , as set out in the Infrastructure Delivery Plan (IDP);
  4. provide footpaths, cycleways and bridleways within the development and link them to the existing Harlow network;
  5. provide indoor and outdoor sports facilities, which may be shared-use, neighbourhood equipped areas for play and locally equipped areas for play;
  6. provide for appropriate local retail facilities, similar to Neighbourhood Centres (incorporating an element of employment use) and Hatches elsewhere in Harlow;
  7. provide for appropriate community facilities as set out in the IDP such as allotment provision, youth services and libraries;
  8. provide sustainable drainage solutions and flood mitigation measures for areas of the site which are identified in the Strategic Flood Risk Assessment; and
  9. provide and contribute to public art within the development.

Infrastructure, including social infrastructure, must be delivered at a pace which meets the needs of the proposed development throughout the construction of the site.

Any application for development on the site in the form of individual or part/phased development will be assessed on the Garden Town Charter.

Developers will be expected to contribute towards the strategic highway and other infrastructure requirements, proportionate with the impact that the development would have on them.

Justification

7.35 The Strategic Housing Site East of Harlow was identified as part of a joint study with the Housing Market Area (HMA) districts. The site forms part of one of the four new Harlow and Gilston Garden Town Garden Communities, and provides the opportunity to deliver regeneration objectives whilst also addressing housing needs.

7.36 The four Harlow and Gilston Garden Town Garden Communities are:

  • South of Harlow (Latton Priory), within Epping Forest District;
  • West of Harlow (Water Lane Area), within Epping Forest District;
  • East of Harlow, partly within Harlow District and partly within Epping Forest District; and
  • Gilston Area, within East Hertfordshire District.

7.37 The Strategic Housing Site East of Harlow has a potential capacity for around 2,600 dwellings, built during the Local Plan period, and would include the infrastructure necessary to support this number of dwellings, such as schools, shops and open spaces.

7.38 The joint study evaluated potential sites around Harlow and included this site within the district. The study provides a robust evidence base, which is consistent in its approach to all the potential sites.

7.39 The Strategic Housing Site East of Harlow is fundamental to the delivery of the Local Plan and for delivering the vision for Harlow. Without this site, there would be insufficient developable land in Harlow to deliver the required level of growth to meet housing needs and the regeneration of the district.

7.40 The scale and nature of the site means that a number of infrastructure and statutory requirements should be met on the site for the benefit of residents, and off-site to mitigate the impacts of the development.

Implementation

7.41 Given the importance and scale of the Strategic Housing Site East of Harlow in delivering the Garden Town Communities, development proposals will be required to accord with Policy HGT1.

7.42 As a former New Town, Harlow has been carefully planned from the outset, so that most land has a recognised function, for example the Green Wedges, housing and employment areas. As required by national planning policies, the Council has undertaken a Strategic Land Availability Assessment to identify developable sites that are suitable and achievable. This has informed the identification of sites in policy HS2 for housing development. These sites alone do not meet the district's housing requirements, or leave an allowance for sites which may not come forward in the Local Plan period. The Strategic Housing Site East of Harlow has therefore been identified which will provide a significant number of new homes over the Local Plan period and will meet the district's housing needs.

7.43 Developers will be required to produce a master plan based on the Garden Town Charter in partnership with the Council and other stakeholders, such as Epping Forest District Council, East Hertfordshire District Council, the local community, infrastructure providers and statutory bodies.

HS4 Gypsies and Travellers

To fulfil the need for nine pitches for the Travelling Community in Harlow, 12 pitches at Fern Hill Lane site will be restored.

Applications for additional pitches over the remainder of the Local Plan period will be assessed for suitability using criteria in Policy H10.

(1) Justification

7.44 National policy for traveller sites[15] requires Councils to identify and annually update a supply of specific deliverable sites sufficient to provide five years' worth of sites against locally agreed targets. In addition a supply of developable sites for years 6 to 10 of the Local Plan period and, if possible, years 11 to 15, should be identified.

7.45 An assessment of needs for Gypsies, Travellers and Travelling Showpeople across Essex for individual districts was updated[16] to take into account the national policy for traveller sites, including specifically a revised definition of a traveller. The key change that was made in this legislation was the removal of the term "persons…who have ceased to travel permanently", meaning that those who have ceased to travel permanently will not now fall under the planning definition of a traveller for the purposes of assessing accommodation need. Consequently their housing requirements could be included as part of the general Objectively Assessed Housing Need (OAHN) and not as a pitch requirement.

7.46 Harlow has two existing traveller sites, owned and maintained by Essex County Council: one at Elizabeth Way which contains 21 pitches and is fully occupied; and one at Fern Hill Lane which, at full capacity, could accommodate 25 pitches. Only 15 pitches are currently in use at the Fern Hill Lane site and Harlow Council has agreed to jointly fund the refurbishment of 12 of those pitches with Essex County Council.

7.47 The updated assessment for Gypsy and Traveller needs, 2016 to 2033, indicated that there were no households identified as travellers, as defined by the revised national policy. The potential future needs have to be established for both non-travelling households and those whose status has not been possible to identify (unknowns).

7.48 It is projected that seven additional pitches are required to meet the future pitch needs of non-travelling households. Where it has not been possible to establish the status of 'unknown' traveller households, there has been a further projected requirement of two pitches. Consequently there is a future need of nine pitches in the district for the remainder of the Local Plan period.

7.49 There is no identified requirement to meet the needs of non-travelling households in Harlow during the remainder of the Local Plan period. However, it is considered that provision should be addressed though additional traveller pitches for both the emerging 'unknown' households and non-travelling households, because it is likely that these households would require appropriate housing.

Implementation

7.50 At Fern Hill Lane, an additional 12 pitches are being provided. As 9 pitches are required to meet Gypsy and Traveller need, the Local Plan requirement has been met. There are three additional pitches to meet provision beyond the Local Plan period.

7.51 The Council will continue to review the requirement for Gypsy and Traveller accommodation during the Local Plan period. Any planning applications for Gypsy and Traveller accommodation will be assessed using Policy H10.

(1) 8. ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT AND PROSPERITY STRATEGY

Introduction

8.1 The Economic Development and Prosperity strategy reflects the changing nature of the district's economy building upon the growth of key sectors and recognising that Harlow is becoming a destination for world class knowledge based businesses. The strategy identifies suitable land for the delivery of new employment floorspace and supports the delivery of committed floorspace at the Enterprise Zone, Public Health England and its Science Campus. The strategy acknowledges the contribution that Harlow Town Centre will make towards job provision in the district, this being set out in the Town Centre Area Action Plan and will look to develop a visitor economy for the district.

8.2 The existing employment areas will continue to make a significant contribution towards employment needs in Harlow and will be maintained and enhanced. The strategy recognises the importance of providing grow-on space for business expansion. Most importantly, the Economic Development and Prosperity strategy for Harlow aims to improve the skills levels of its residents to align with business needs and to close the gap between workplace and resident earnings.

Corporate Priorities

8.3 This chapter and the policies contained within it will help deliver the Council's Corporate Priorities, as follows:

  • Regeneration and a thriving economy
  • Wellbeing and social inclusion
  • Successful children and young people

Local Plan Strategic Objectives

8.4 This chapter and the policies contained within it will help deliver the following Local Plan Strategic Objectives:

  • Objective 7 - Meet the employment needs of the district by diversifying and investing in the district's employment base
  • Objective 8 - Secure economic revitalisation and reinforce Harlow's reputation as a key centre for Research and Development
  • Objective 9 - Improve educational opportunities and the skills base of local residents

(5) ED1 Future Employment Floorspace

To reflect the Economic Development and Prosperity Strategy for Harlow and the sub-regional service role of the Harlow and Gilston Garden Town, up to 18.8ha of B1 uses will be delivered at Harlow Business Park at The Pinnacles and at the Harlow Enterprise Zone at London Road.

A further 2.2ha of land will be delivered for employment uses at Templefields.

These employment sites are allocated on the Policies Map with the following reference numbers.

REF

LOCATION

CAPACITY (Ha)

ED1-1

Harlow Business Park, The Pinnacles

4.6ha

ED1-2

London Road

14.2ha

ED1-3

East Road, Templefields

2.2ha


TOTAL EMPLOYMENT PROVISION

20ha

Opportunities for office floorspace in Harlow Town Centre will be identified through the Harlow Town Centre Area Action Plan.

Justification

Harlow's Functional Economic Market Area (FEMA)

8.5 Harlow is set in a unique position with excellent strategic transport links to economic opportunities in London to the south, Cambridge to the north and international destinations via Stansted Airport. This places the Harlow and Gilston Garden Town centrally between a leading world city and one of the highest ranking universities.

8.6 Harlow has a strong commuting pattern with parts of West Essex and East Hertfordshire but also clear commuting links with Cambridge and London[17].
The FEMA for Harlow is therefore broadly based around the Housing Market Area (HMA) which includes Uttlesford, East Hertfordshire and Epping Forest.

8.7 Harlow is an important destination for employees in the FEMA, providing jobs in a range of occupations. The district is fast becoming an attractor for Life Science and MedTech, advanced manufacturing, ICT and digital industries. The delivery of Harlow Enterprise Zone, the relocation of Public Health England and the possible relocation and expansion of Princess Alexandra Hospital will strengthen these growth sectors.

8.8 The Government's decision to support Garden Town status for the Harlow and Gilston area, delivering in excess of 16,000 homes, has placed an even greater emphasis on the ability of Harlow to deliver space for quality businesses and employment. The Garden Town will look to satisfy a more strategic demand for growth sectors, building on Harlow's historic and current economic strengths.

8.9 The London Stansted Cambridge Consortium (LSCC) further supports Harlow Enterprise Zone as an important opportunity site for growth sectors in the corridor and identifies the district, and therefore Harlow and Gilston Garden Town, as being a strategically important destination for jobs, particularly high-skilled jobs. The LSCC also endorses the regeneration of Harlow Town Centre and supports the requirement for major improvements to the transport network including Junction 7a on the M11 and the four-tracking of the West Anglia Mainline.

Assessment of Employment Needs

8.10 Evidence was prepared jointly across the FEMA to identify employment needs and floorspace requirements for the area as a whole and for individual districts.
The evidence used employment projections from the East of England Forecasting Model, population growth as stipulated in the SHMA and local evidence to identify an overall floorspace requirement. This concluded that 10 to 24ha of office floorspace (B1) and 68ha of industrial floorspace (B2/B8) should be planned for during the period of 2016 to 2033.

8.11 For Harlow, the document identified the need to plan for a further 2 to 4ha of office floorspace (B1) and 16ha of industrial floorspace (B2/B8) between 2016 and 2033. The Local Plan has identified sufficient land to meet this requirement through the delivery of the Enterprise Zone and through undeveloped sites at Templefields and The Pinnacles. These sites, along with the Enterprise Zone, have been identified for B1 uses in order to develop the Economic and Prosperity strategy for Harlow and to satisfy the strategic demand for growth sectors in the Garden Town. These sites will also assist in delivering a mix of unit sizes for medium and large businesses, small workspaces for start-ups and provide opportunities for grow-on space.

8.12 New jobs will be created in other sectors in Harlow, including through the regeneration of the Town Centre which is already a large provider of retail-based jobs and where regeneration opportunities are being sought through the Harlow Town Centre Area Action Plan. Princess Alexandra Hospital is a major job provider in the district and its expansion will be supported. This is set out in further detail in the Strategic Infrastructure chapter.

Implementation

8.13 The Council will work with a number of bodies to implement the Economic and Prosperity strategy outlined above. It is imperative that, in order to attract businesses and investment to the district, Harlow has a workforce in place to fill new jobs, provided through new dwellings and working age residents. This workforce must have the right skills and education to support those jobs and a sustainable infrastructure network that enables employees to access job opportunities and enable businesses to function properly. This includes, for example, working with schools, Harlow College and local employers to improve skills; working with infrastructure providers to bring forward projects such as Junction 7a and four-tracking of the West Anglia Mainline; bringing forward digital infrastructure for smart enablement across the district; and working with local businesses to identify their future needs.

8.14 The Council will work closely with the LSCC who has developed a vision for the core area of Harlow, Epping Forest, East Hertfordshire, Uttlesford and Broxbourne. This area has been identified as one of the most important and fastest growing economic regions. The Council will also work closely with the South East Local Enterprise Partnership and the West Essex Alliance.

8.15 The Local Plan reinforces the Economic and Prosperity Development strategy by encouraging new employment development in strategic employment areas and protecting existing floorspace.

(1) ED2 Protecting Existing Employment Floorspace

Existing strategic employment sites at The Pinnacles, Templefields and London Road will be retained and enhanced for a mix of office, industrial and warehouse uses and other associated activities.

Grow-on space will be supported on existing allocated employment sites and on future employment sites identified at The Pinnacles (ED01) and Templefields (ED03).

Neighbourhood Service Areas will be protected and the provision of smaller start-up units, shared spaces and workhubs in these areas will be encouraged.

Existing employment sites and Neighbourhood Service Areas are identified on the
Policies Map.

Justification

8.16 The district's existing employment areas at Templefields, London Road and The Pinnacles continue to make an important contribution to employment provision and will be protected. To ensure they continue to attract investment, retain employment uses and draw in a variety of local and national businesses, the Council is seeking to bring forward regeneration plans for the north-eastern part of Templefields as part of the Enterprise Zone and improve connectivity to The Pinnacles. The Council will continue to implement the master plan for London Road.

8.17 Harlow has a large proportion of small businesses with less than 10 employees, this being slightly lower than the East of England average. Harlow does however have more medium to large businesses than the UK and East of England average[18].
This business structure suggests a need for a mix of both small workspaces to capture start-ups, and medium to large units to accommodate expansion and scaling up of growing business and follow-on space as they become established.
It is therefore important that the district continues to support the Neighbourhood Service Areas which provide space for start-up businesses, shared spaces and future opportunities for workhubs as well as seek opportunities for future grow-on space for larger businesses.

Implementation

8.18 The Local Plan ensures that the strategic employment sites continue to provide a mix of B1, B2 and B8 uses and protects the sites from alternative uses unless exceptional circumstances arise. It also protects Neighbourhood Service Areas and supports the provision of smaller units at these sites by discouraging warehousing and industrial uses and amalgamation of units.

8.19 The Council has agreed to prepare an Article 4 Direction for parts of the Enterprise Zone at London Road South and Templefields in order to protect employment uses from conversion. Further Directions will be considered for the remaining employment areas.

(1) ED3 Developing a Skills Strategy for Harlow

A Skills Strategy which improves the skills and education attainment of Harlow residents will be prepared and delivered in partnership with existing and new businesses, Harlow College and University Centre and other partners including the education authority and Education and Skills Funding Agency.

Justification

8.20 Improving skills levels and education attainment is imperative to improving the lives of residents by increasing living standards through higher wages. It is also important in supporting the resident workforce and retaining and attracting businesses which focus on particular growth sectors.

8.21 The Skills Strategy will ensure that economic prosperity in Harlow's businesses translates to local residents and the local community.

Implementation

8.22 The Council has prepared an Economic Development Strategy for Harlow which identifies projects and schemes to help improve skills levels across the district.
This includes establishing Workforce Development Plans with large employers, and working with education providers and the Education and Skills Funding Agency to ensure education and training matches need and to explore and promote opportunities that encourage the workforce into particular growth sectors.

8.23 A joint venture between Harlow College and Anglia Ruskin University has already helped to provide additional degrees and foundation degrees at the College including those related to business management, bioscience, engineering, graphic design and journalism.

8.24 The Local Plan supports the employment of local people, work related training and education opportunities in major developments. This will be secured through planning obligations on both commercial and residential proposals.

(1) ED4 Developing a Visitor Economy

A visitor economy will be developed, building upon the district's arts and cultural attractions, the 'Sculpture Town' status, the New Town heritage and natural features such as the River Stort.

Proposals which enhance Harlow's visitor economy will be supported where they are of a scale, type and appearance appropriate to the locality, provide local economic benefits and are underpinned by appropriate infrastructure.

Justification

8.25 Harlow has an opportunity to grow and develop its visitor economy, given its strategic position and network links to London and Cambridge, its proximity to Stansted Airport, its New Town heritage and its important collection of public sculpture. The district already hosts a number of facilities which contribute towards this strategy and a sub-regional Town Centre which will continue to provide commercial leisure and night-time activities.

8.26 Developing a visitor economy has multiple benefits that will contribute towards the economic and social wellbeing of local communities. It can regenerate areas, provide employment for local residents, provide business for SMEs and catalyse growth. The London Stansted Cambridge Consortium (LSCC) vision for the Core Area, as set out in the Context, Vision and Objectives chapter, recognises tourism as being a strong economic sector in the area. It makes reference to recreation and green assets, such as the River Stort, being a contributor towards this.

(3) Implementation

8.27 The Town Centre Area Action Plan will investigate opportunities to provide leisure and entertainment facilities in order to develop both a day-time and night-time economy in the town centre. This will help in attracting visitors to the district and potentially be a magnet for complementary facilities including hotels and
over-night accommodation.

8.28 Improving Green Infrastructure links will help connect users of the River Stort to the Lee Valley Regional Park, to Epping Forest and north through to Hatfield Forest. It is anticipated that this will bring visitors from the wider region and improve
water-based facilities along the River Stort.

8.29 The Local Plan protects existing cultural, community and sporting facilities which bring visitors into the town, and seeks to provide public art through major development.


9. RETAIL AMBITIONS AND TOWN CENTRE REDEVELOPMENT

Introduction

9.1 Harlow provides important retail services for both local residents and a wider catchment including parts of Essex and Hertfordshire. The district's network of centres provide a broad range of day-to-day retail needs, a variety of community and leisure facilities and an important source of employment for Harlow.
The protection and enhancement of these centres is therefore crucial, and the redevelopment and regeneration of the town centre is vital in supporting the overall sustainability and future vitality of the Harlow and Gilston Garden Town.

9.2 Given the strategic importance of Harlow Town Centre in the wider sub-region, a separate Area Action Plan is being prepared. This will identify proposals for delivering additional comparison and convenience floorspace through redevelopment opportunities, an improved night-time offer through better commercial-leisure facilities, the capacity of the town centre to provide new homes and offices and an enhanced public realm. Policies have also been developed which preserve the retail hierarchy in Harlow, protect existing retail provision in the district and deliver small-scale retail facilities in new settlements consistent with the original master plan for Harlow New Town.

Corporate Priorities

9.3 This chapter and the policies contained within it will help deliver the Council's Corporate Policies, as follows:

  • Regeneration and a thriving economy
  • Wellbeing and social inclusion
  • Successful children and young people

Local Plan Strategic Objectives

9.4 This chapter and the policies contained within it will help deliver the following Local Plan Strategic Objectives:

  • 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


RS1 Retail Hierarchy

Retail development must be directed to Harlow Town Centre first, followed by the centres set out in the retail hierarchy below.


POSITION IN RETAIL HIERARCHY

RETAIL CENTRE

TOP

Town Centre

Harlow Town Centre


Neighbourhood Centres

Bush Fair The Stow

Old Harlow Church Langley

Staple Tye


Hatches

Burgoyne Maunds

Crawley Mill

Clifton Prentice Place

Colt Pollards

Coppice Pypers

Elm Sherards

Fishers Slacksbury

Katherines Sumners

Manor Ward

BOTTOM

Out-of-Centre Retail Parks
(on Edinburgh Way)

Queensgate Centre The Oaks

St James Centre Princes Gate

Harlow Retail Park

Harlow's Retail Centres are identified on the Policies Map.

Justification

9.5 The retail hierarchy reflects the role and function of the district's retail centres. Harlow Town Centre is positioned first in the hierarchy signifying its importance in providing retail facilities for the district and the sub-region. The Neighbourhood Centres are identified as being secondary to the town centre as they provide for local retail facilities for individual settlements. Hatches serve specific local needs and provide for a range of community services. Out-of-Centre Retail Parks have been identified at the bottom of the hierarchy. The hierarchy will ensure that retail development is directed to the town centre first to maintain its role and function as a sub-regional centre and ensure the future vitality of the Harlow and Gilston Garden Town.

Implementation

9.6 Retail development should be directed to Harlow Town Centre in the first instance followed by the retail centres set out in the retail hierarchy. The sequential test for main town centre uses is set out in the Development Management policies.

RS2 Future Retail Floorspace

There is an identified need to provide up to 18,100sqm of comparison floorspace and up to 3,200sqm of convenience floorspace in Harlow up to 2026.

In order to plan for residential development coming forward in the Harlow and Gilston Garden Town beyond this period, an indicative requirement for up to 40,200sqm of comparison floorspace and up to 5,500sqm of convenience floorspace has been identified.

A Town Centre Area Action Plan (HTCAAP) will be prepared for Harlow Town Centre.

The town centre boundary is shown on the Policies Map, reference RS2-1.

The HTCAAP will look to deliver a significant proportion of the retail floorspace requirements through site redevelopment and regeneration opportunities, and will identify the future retail floorspace capacity of the town centre.

The HTCAAP will also identify environmental and public realm improvements, access and infrastructure schemes, and opportunities for providing a broader range of uses in the town centre including community, leisure, commercial and residential uses.

The remaining floorspace requirement will be delivered through redevelopment opportunities in the district's Neighbourhood Centres and Hatches.

New retail centres which provide a mix of retail facilities and community services will be delivered in new settlements. They must be well connected and within walking distance for the residents of that development.

Justification

9.7 The Retail and Leisure Needs Study identified future retail floorspace needs for the district based on housing growth coming forward in the Harlow and Gilston Garden Town. The Study recommends floorspace requirements for both convenience and comparison facilities up to 2026 where housing development is more defined and an indicative requirement post 2026. A review may be required to understand the exact housing growth coming forward in the Harlow and Gilston Garden Town and therefore further retail floorspace requirements beyond this period.

9.8 The Study suggests that the majority of retail growth should be directed to the town centre, particularly to the north of the town centre with the largest proportion of remaining growth directed to other town centre sites.
This corresponds with the Retail Hierarchy and will ensure that the town centre can provide the facilities and services for the population of the Garden Town. The Neighbourhood Centres will accommodate a proportion of the identified floorspace requirements, albeit small, in order to maintain their role and function as a provider of day-to-day services.

9.9 An Area Action Plan for Harlow Town Centre is to be prepared to identify the most suitable and sustainable locations for retail facilities, and set out the capacity of the town centre to deliver retail floorspace provision. The population growth generated through the Harlow and Gilston Garden Town will encourage investment and stimulate regeneration in Harlow Town Centre and will support the case for new retailers to locate to Harlow.

9.10 The Harlow Future Prospects Study stated that a town of 110,000 residents would be able to support a night-time economy and comparator towns of this size can attract department stores. The HTCAAP will investigate options and opportunities for providing such uses.

9.11 It is important that new housing within the Harlow and Gilston Garden Town is well-served by local retail and community facilities. The provision of Hatches or Neighbourhood Centres which provide for day-to-day needs must be well connected and within walking distance of the residents of that related neighbourhood area or accessible by public transport. This conforms to Sir Frederick Gibberd's principles of sustainable neighbourhoods in the original master plan for Harlow.

Implementation

9.12 An Area Action Plan is being prepared for Harlow Town Centre in conformity with the Council's Statement of Community Involvement, working closely with landowners, traders, businesses and other relevant stakeholders.
The HTCAAP will identify sites and opportunities for providing new retail floorspace requirements through regeneration and redevelopment and new commercial leisure floorspace. The HTCAAP will also look to improve the public realm of the town centre, access to, from and within the centre and opportunities for community facilities.

9.13 The boundary for Harlow Town Centre has been expanded to include Sainsbury's to the north and Harlow College and Harlow Leisurezone to the east. This wider boundary change encourages greater emphasis on the potential regeneration opportunities of sites beyond the immediate core area of the town centre. By including them there is potential to encourage a more joined up approach. The boundary change will also assist in achieving a comprehensive context for movement and public realm projects as it includes the main transport network around the town centre.

9.14 The Development Management policies further strengthen the roles of the district's retail centres by applying a sequential approach to new retail provision in the district.

9.15 New retail facilities have been identified as part of the Strategic Housing Site East of Harlow, serving the catchment of the new development.

RS3 Protecting and Enhancing Existing Retail Centres

Retail floorspace which contributes towards the viability, vitality and function of Harlow Town Centre will be protected, subject to the outcomes of the Harlow Town Centre Area Action Plan.

The role and function of the district's Neighbourhood Centres will be protected and enhanced. Support will be given in principle to:

  • new retail and community uses that are of an appropriate scale to the role and function of the Neighbourhood Centre; and
  • residential development which supports the main Neighbourhood Centre uses.

Development opportunities and improvement schemes identified in The Stow, reference RS3-01 on the Policies Map, will be supported in accordance with The Stow Design Framework Supplementary Planning Document (SPD). The Council will consider the preparation of a SPD for Bush Fair Neighbourhood Centre.

The district's Hatches will be retained for a mix of local services and facilities.
Hatches identified as housing allocations will be redeveloped for a mix of retail, residential and community uses to enable their improvement and regeneration.              

The role and function of the district's Retail Parks as a provider of bulky retail goods will be protected.

Justification

9.16 The existing retail centres and retail floorspace in Harlow make an important contribution towards the retail needs of the district. This policy aims to protect this floorspace but outlines where exceptions may be acceptable.

9.17 Opportunities may be identified through the Harlow Town Centre Area Action Plan where the loss of retail use to facilitate alternative uses or regeneration may be acceptable. Alternative uses might include commercial-leisure, residential and office uses or where the loss of retail may facilitate a better quality public realm. The overall purpose of the HTCAAP is to provide new retail floorspace requirements in accordance with the needs assessment and this will be taken into consideration where any retail loss is proposed.

9.18 The district's Neighbourhood Centres provide a range of retail facilities and community services for residents and also make an important contribution towards residential and employment provision.

9.19 The district has 18 hatches which are small in nature and mostly provide convenience facilities such as newsagents and small supermarkets. There are opportunities to regenerate and improve several of the Hatches through redevelopment. This would include the provision of other community uses and residential use which create vibrant and active centres. The Strategic policies list strategic housing allocations including Hatches identified for mixed used redevelopment. These Hatches are listed in Fig. 9.1 and on the Policies Map.

Fig. 9.1: List of Hatches identified for mixed use including housing

REF.

LOCATION

DWELLINGS CAPACITY

10

Pollard Hatch plus garages and adjacent land

20

12

Coppice Hatch and garages

16

14

Elm Hatch and public house

13

16

Fishers Hatch

10

17

Slacksbury Hatch and associated garages

10

21

Pypers Hatch

10

9.20 The district's Retail Parks are an important retail destination for a wide catchment area and provide large units for bulky A1 goods such as furniture and electrical items. Protecting the unique role and function of the Retail Parks is important but managing the nature and scale of the facilities in this location is equally important. This policy will ensure they do not provide direct competition with the town centre. The Development Management policies also manage this by ensuring the sequential approach is satisfied for any retail proposals in the Retail Parks and limits the type and scale of retail uses.

Implementation

9.21 The Harlow Town Centre Area Action Plan and The Stow Design Framework SPD identify areas where retail will be protected and enhanced and areas where alternative uses will be considered acceptable. The Council will also consider preparing an SPD for Bush Fair Neighbourhood Centre and action plans for both Bush Fair and The Stow in order to monitor the delivery of development proposals and schemes identified in these documents.

9.22 The Development Management policies continue to protect primary frontages in the Town Centre and Neighbourhood Centres for retail uses, but will support alternative uses in secondary frontages and on the first floor, where acceptable. Protecting frontages will assist in ensuring the critical mass of retail floorspace is provided, this being key to driving footfall and visitor numbers.


(1) 10. LINKING DEVELOPMENT SITES TO THE WIDER ENVIRONMENT

Introduction

10.1 Harlow has a unique natural environment, including the network of Green Wedges and Green Fingers, which are important to retain and enhance for the enjoyment of residents and visitors. Additionally, the built environment of Harlow has a built form and design which is unique to Harlow and reflects its New Town heritage.

10.2 As such, new developments must continue to implement the natural and built environment principles that have been established in Harlow since it was planned by Sir Frederick Gibberd in the 1940s.

Corporate Priorities

10.3 This chapter and the policies contained within it will help deliver the Council's Corporate Priorities, as follows:

  • Regeneration and a thriving economy
  • Wellbeing and social inclusion
  • A clean and green environment

Local Plan Strategic Objectives

10.4 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 6 - Improve the quality of homes in the district through new developments, regenerated neighbourhoods and priority estates
  • Objective 11 - To provide and enhance sporting, leisure, recreational facilities and cultural opportunities in the district

(5) WE1 Strategic Green Infrastructure

The Strategic Green Infrastructure in Harlow includes the Green Belt, Green Wedges and Green Fingers which are identified on the Policies Map and will be protected and enhanced.

Other Open Spaces, landscaping, trees and hedgerows which contribute to the Green Infrastructure will also be protected and enhanced.

New Green Infrastructure must be planned into new development and, where possible, linked to existing Green Infrastructure.

The new linear 'Stort Riverpark', connecting the Lee Valley Regional Park to Bishop's Stortford through Harlow, will be delivered by contributions from new development.

Justification

10.5 Much of the Green Infrastructure in Harlow is a legacy of Sir Frederick Gibberd's original master plan and provides the overarching and distinctive green character of the district.

10.6 The different types of Green Infrastructure in Harlow perform different roles and functions, including, on a strategic scale, linking Harlow's urban area to the wider countryside and preventing unrestricted sprawl of the district.

10.7 On a smaller scale, Green Infrastructure provides a range of identifiable economic, social and environmental benefits, such as improving people's health by providing opportunities for formal and informal outdoor activities, reducing air pollution, mitigating against climate change, enhancing and preserving biodiversity, and making places more attractive both for residents and future investors.

10.8 Harlow’s tight administrative boundary and the lack of unconstrained land in the district means the Objectively Assessed Housing Need (OAHN) could not be met without assessing all options. Green Belt and Green Wedge Reviews were therefore undertaken to inform a decision as to whether exceptional circumstances existed such that land could be removed from those designations for housing. These reviews identified areas of the Green Belt and Green Wedges that did not fulfil their respective purposes. Where appropriate, these areas have been re-designated as either Green Wedge or Green Finger. In all the circumstances, including the level of housing need, it was decided that exceptional circumstances for Green Belt release were present and land was released in order to meet the OAHN, including one area of Green Belt to the east of Harlow, which also did not fulfil the purposes of the Green Belt. That land has been allocated as the district’s Strategic Housing Site. The existing Green Wedge has been extended to run eastwards through the site. Four sites that were once part of the Green Wedges have been allocated as housing sites.

10.9 In accordance with national policies, the new Green Belt boundaries are stronger and more defensible. The amendments have resulted in a stronger network of Green Belt, Green Wedges and Green Fingers. This is important as revious Local Plan consultations have provided evidence that the Green Infrastructure in the district, in particular the Green Wedges and Green Fingers, are highly valued and well-used by local residents and visitors for a range of formal and informal activities.

10.10 It is important, therefore, that this network is protected and that new Green Infrastructure is included in new development, preferably linking with the existing Green Infrastructure network, supported by viable management and maintenance plans which include funding for the ongoing maintenance of new Green Infrastructure.

(1) Implementation

10.11 Green Infrastructure is multi-functional green space, both urban and rural, which is of public value as it offers a wide range of environmental and quality-of-life benefits for local communities, including opportunities for sport and recreation.
Green Infrastructure also includes water bodies found in green spaces and non-accessible green spaces which provide visual amenity. As Green Infrastructure is multi-functional, it should not be treated as an alternative description for green space.

10.12 The Green Infrastructure network in Harlow includes the Green Belt, Green Wedges, Green Fingers and Other Open Spaces. On a smaller scale, it also includes trees, hedgerows and landscaping in developments, such as green roofs or green walls. Fig. 10.1 sets out the land use types in Harlow, highlighting the proportions of the different types of Green Infrastructure.

Fig. 10.1: Land use types in Harlow

temp

*Approximate figures. 'All other land' includes built development and residential gardens

10.13 Green Infrastructure is protected from inappropriate development and, where possible, enhanced.

10.14 In order to assist delivering the Garden Town principles in developments in the Harlow and Gilston Garden Town, new Strategic Green Infrastructure must be included within master plans for such development and it must link with existing Green Infrastructure in Harlow, for example the Green Wedges. One such opportunity is the extension of Harlow's existing Green Wedge network through the Strategic Housing Site East of Harlow to maintain the existing Green Wedge link to the countryside. Further guidance is provided in other policies.

10.15 The Council will work with adjoining Councils and other appropriate bodies, through the Duty to Co-operate and the Harlow and Gilston Garden Town, to bring forward the 'Stort Riverpark', as well as future Green Infrastructure projects to maintain and improve footpaths, cycleways and bridleways and wildlife corridors across the district.

10.16 Reflecting the importance of Green Infrastructure in Harlow, the Council is part of 'GreenArc', a partnership of organisations around London, including neighbouring county, district and borough Councils, DEFRA and the Essex Wildlife Trust.
GreenArc has a number of aims, including conserving and enhancing key strategic Green Infrastructure resources such as the Stort Valley, and creating and promoting improved links between settlements and the wider countryside.

(10) WE2 Green Wedges and Green Fingers

Harlow has a network of Green Wedges and Green Fingers, allocated on the Policies Map.

The roles of the Green Wedges are to:

  • provide physical, visual and audial separation between neighbourhoods and between residential and industrial areas;
    • provide Green Infrastructure, including open spaces for sport, recreation and quiet contemplation, wildlife corridors, footpaths, cycleways and bridleways;
    • protect and enhance natural habitats, ecological assets and landscape features;
  • protect existing uses which have an open character;
  • provide settings which preserve the character of historic/cultural sites and areas; and
  • provide opportunities for Sustainable Drainage Systems (SuDS).

Green Fingers are generally smaller and thinner than the Green Wedges. The roles of the Green Fingers are to:

  • provide open links between Green Wedges and/or other areas of green space;
  • provide Green Infrastructure, wildlife corridors, footpaths, cycleways and bridleways;
  • protect and enhance natural habitats, ecological assets and landscape features; and
  • protect existing uses which have an open character.

New Green Wedges or Green Fingers must fulfil the above roles and:

  • where possible should connect with existing Green Wedges, Green Fingers and/or the Green Belt;
  • be well-connected to residential areas;
  • be defined by a strong urban edge; and
  • development should front green spaces to provide a strong interface and natural surveillance

Justification

10.17 The Green Wedges and Green Fingers were originally included as 'landscape wedges' and 'parkways' in Sir Frederick Gibberd's landscape-led master plan for Harlow. They were designed to embrace natural features such as valleys, woods and brooks, and separate the neighbourhoods with open spaces which could be used by residents.

10.18 Green Wedges and Green Fingers are, therefore, fundamental to the character of Harlow and are an enduring legacy of Sir Frederick Gibberd's original master plan. Nowadays they continue to make a significant contribution to the district's Green Infrastructure, performing their identified important roles, and previous Local Plan consultations have provided evidence that they are highly valued by Harlow residents.

10.19 The extent of Green Wedges and Green Fingers in Harlow, as allocated on the Policies Map, is shown in Fig. 10.2.

new green wedges map
Fig. 10.2: Green Wedges and Green Fingers in Harlow

(2) Implementation

10.20 The Green Wedges and Green Fingers are protected from inappropriate development.

10.21 New development must incorporate new Green Wedges and/or Green Fingers, depending upon the size of the development, preferably linked to existing Green Wedges, Green Fingers or the Green Belt.

10.22 In order to contribute to the delivery of the Garden Town principles in developments in the Harlow and Gilston Garden Town, there is an opportunity for a new Green Wedge to be extended into the Strategic Housing Site East of Harlow, which forms part of one of the new four Garden Communities, linking with the existing Green Wedge to the west and the Green Belt (in the Epping Forest District) to the east.

10.23 This new Strategic Green Infrastructure would, in particular, contribute to the Garden Town principles of "combining the best of town and country to create healthy communities, including opportunities to grow food" and the provision of
"a comprehensive green infrastructure network and net biodiversity gains".

(6) WE3 Biodiversity and Geodiversity

All biodiversity and geodiversity assets in the district will be preserved and enhanced. Assets of sufficient importance have a designation. The types of asset designations are:

  • National designations (e.g. Sites of Special Scientific Interest)
  • Local designations (e.g. Local Wildlife Site or Local Nature Reserve)
  • Ancient woodland
  • Aged or veteran trees outside ancient woodland

Nationally and locally designated assets are identified on the Policies Map.

Justification

10.24 Harlow benefits from a range of biodiversity assets, many of which pre-date the development of the New Town, such as ancient woodland and well-established sites of wildlife importance. Sir Frederick Gibberd's master plan for Harlow sought to retain these assets in order to preserve the rich diversity of habitats in the district.

10.25 Many of Harlow's open spaces have been designated for their local and national wildlife importance, including 42 Local Wildlife Sites and three Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSIs). Two of these SSSIs are located at Parndon Wood in the south and the other located in the north-west at Hunsdon Mead. There are currently no designated geodiversity assets in Harlow, although such assets may be identified in the future.

Implementation

10.26 The biodiversity and geodiversity assets are protected from inappropriate development.

10.27 The Council will work with Natural England, the Essex Wildlife Trust, the Biological Records Centre, Essex County Council and other bodies to conserve, enhance, protect and manage protected sites and landscapes in accordance with their level of national, regional or local importance.

(4) WE4 Heritage

Heritage assets and their settings found within the district will be preserved or enhanced. The types of asset designation are:

  • Conservation Areas
  • Scheduled Monuments
  • Listed buildings and their curtilage
  • Historic parks and gardens
  • Archaeological remains

Locally listed buildings are known as non-designated heritage assets. The Conservation Areas, Scheduled Monuments and historic parks and gardens are identified on the Policies Map.

Justification

10.28 National policies and guidance outline the rationale behind the designation of heritage assets, with special architectural or historic interest being at the core of any designation decision. National policies also set out the hierarchy of significance of historic assets. The Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) designates listed buildings and Scheduled Monuments. Locally listed buildings have also been identified which contribute towards the district's heritage. The district's ten Conservation Areas have been designated because of their special architectural or historic interest. These areas are kept under review and amended, and where appropriate, new areas designated.

10.29 Harlow has several Scheduled Monuments including a number of historic moats and burial mounds, earthwork remains of medieval villages, a barn, a chapel and remnants of Roman villas and temples. The district has a rich historical past and contains various archaeological remains, which were preserved during the development of the New Town.

10.30 Harlow has one Historic Park and Garden to the east of the district which was previously owned, developed and maintained by Sir Frederick Gibberd. The gardens and the house are located within the Stort Valley to the east of Harlow.

(2) Implementation

10.31 The heritage assets and their settings are protected from inappropriate development.

10.32 The register of nationally listed buildings is maintained by Historic England. The register of locally listed buildings is available for inspection on the Council's website online and may be revised during the Local Plan period.

10.33 The Council has completed character appraisals and management plans for several of the district's Conservation Areas. This is part of the ongoing monitoring and review process.             


(3) 11. STRATEGIC INFRASTRUCTURE REQUIREMENTS

Introduction

11.1 It is important that the necessary hard and soft infrastructure is in place to support development in the Harlow and Gilston Garden Town. Hard infrastructure includes physical items that will help deliver development such as new roads, railways, pipes and pylons and social infrastructure which supports new communities such as schools, healthcare centres, police and emergency services. Soft infrastructure includes environmental management, training programmes and business support services. An Infrastructure Delivery Plan (IDP) has been prepared which identifies the infrastructure required to support the development set out in the Local Plan including, where it is required, when it will be provided, phasing arrangements and how it will be funded.

11.2 Connecting and linking development sites to community services and facilities in Harlow is important to securing sustainable development in the Harlow and Gilston Garden Town. An improved transport and Green Infrastructure network is therefore vital and as part of this several gateway locations have been identified for enhancement with the intention of enhancing key destinations and the legibility of important routes.

11.3 Essex County Council is the waste and minerals authority for the County of Essex and has prepared development plan documents for minerals supply and waste management. These documents sit alongside the Local Plan and have been taken into consideration and included in this chapter.

Corporate Priorities

11.4 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

11.5 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 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 sustainable modes of transport, to community facilities
  • Objective 15 - Enhance and promote the role of Harlow as a transport interchange along the M11

(12) SIR1 Infrastructure Requirements

The Council will work with infrastructure and service providers, other statutory bodies and neighbouring local authorities to deliver the timely provision of infrastructure necessary to support development in the Harlow and Gilston Garden Town.

An Infrastructure Delivery Plan (IDP) has been prepared for the Harlow area which identifies and prioritises infrastructure projects required in the Local Plan period and sets out funding mechanisms and lead agencies responsible for their delivery.

The IDP will be regularly reviewed and updated where necessary.

Along with the Local Plan, the IDP will be used to bid for funding for infrastructure items needed to deliver development.

Individual development proposals will be required to secure related infrastructure both on- and off-site necessary to make the development acceptable in accordance with Development Management policy IN6.

The Policies Map identifies infrastructure items which have a land use implication.
This includes:

Ref.

Infrastructure Item

SIR1-1

North-South Sustainable Transport Corridor and River Stort Crossing to Eastwick Roundabout

SIR1-2

East West Sustainable Transport Corridor

SIR1-3

Second River Stort Crossing at River Way

SIR1-4

Access route for Strategic Housing Site East of Harlow

SIR1-5

Cemetery extension

SIR1-6

New allotment provision

(2) Justification

11.6 The right infrastructure delivered and phased at the right time is fundamental in delivering sustainable development in the Harlow and Gilston Garden Town. The Council has been working in partnership with adjoining local authorities, statutory bodies and infrastructure providers to identify the infrastructure items required to deliver the growth coming forward across the Harlow area in the Local Plan period and wherever possible beyond that period. The fundamental items of infrastructure required to deliver growth are set out below.

Transport

11.7 The Local Plan's overall approach is to reduce the need to travel, and support the use of sustainable modes of travel including walking, cycling and public transport with less reliance on the use of the private motor vehicle.

11.8 Harlow's unique character created from key master planning principles has resulted in a strong relationship between the urban form and the Green Wedge network, through which transport corridors pass. The Green Wedges provide a series of connectable open spaces which link major facilities and services, offering a pleasant and attractive footpath, cycleway and bridleway system. As a consequence of the design and layout of Harlow, the highway network is compact but flexible to change and improvement.

11.9 In order to deliver long-term sustainable growth in the district, further enhancements to the transport network will be required. These enhancements have been identified in the medium to long-term and in some cases beyond the Local Plan period where finance and delivery is difficult to predict. Current projects are not listed. Some of the proposals will be delivered by developers as part of their development, whereas some other schemes will be financed and delivered by a number of sources as set out in the IDP. They currently include:

  1. Junction 7a on the M11 and widening of Gilden Way;
  2. Improvements to Junction 7 of the M11;
  3. Widened Central Stort Crossing between Eastwick roundabout and Burnt Mill roundabout;
  4. New Second Stort Crossing between Eastwick Road in East Hertfordshire District and at River Way in Harlow;
  5. North-south Sustainable Transport Corridor from the Gilston area to the north of the Garden Town to Latton Priory to the south;
  6. East-west Sustainable Transport Corridor from The Pinnacles to the Strategic Housing Site East of Harlow;
  7. Capacity improvements to Second Avenue;
  8. Junction improvements at Third Avenue/Abercrombie Way and at Katherine's Way/ Southern Way/Water Lane junction;
  9. Southern Way improvements including pedestrian crossings and speed reductions;
  10. Improved access to Harlow Mill Train Station and four-tracking of the West Anglia Mainline.

11.10 Access improvements to, from and within the town centre will be identified through the Harlow Town Centre Area Action Plan.

11.11 A northern by-pass which would connect the Gilston area with Junction 7a of the M11 has been identified as a potential long-term highway solution to alleviate congestion along Gilden Way. However the overall priority is to ensure the Harlow and Gilston Garden Town becomes a sustainable town providing accessible housing and employment areas, community services and other facilities supported by a durable sustainable transport network, thereby reducing car usage and the need for highway focussed interventions.

Education

11.12 Essex County Council, as local education authority, is responsible for ensuring there are sufficient school places available by building or extending schools. Harlow Council has been working closely with Essex County Council to identify the most sustainable solutions for future education provision. The council will also work with other education providers including independent schools and academy trusts.

11.13 In Harlow there is an overall need to provide 11.1FE of secondary school places (gross). A new secondary school will be provided in the Epping Forest District, in the new Garden Community to the east of Harlow, and a new 8FE secondary school is being opened in Harlow. There is also additional capacity in some of the existing secondary schools in Harlow.

11.14 There is an overall need to provide 11.9FE of primary school places (gross) in Harlow, of which some provision is already committed. The remaining provision will be delivered through expansion plans and through the provision of new primary schools located within new residential developments to the east. The Garden Town communities identified as part of the Harlow and Gilston Garden Town will deliver new schools as part of their proposals.

11.15 Across the district there will be a requirement for early years and childcare provision, with a particular deficit to the east due to the number of new homes being delivered in this area. Education facilities will be provided through the Strategic Housing Site East of Harlow which will include an element of early year and childcare facilities.

Healthcare

11.16 Harlow pioneered the development of health centres and multi-professional medical centres which combined several health related services into one location.

11.17 The Council and Harlow Health Centres Trust are working together to expand health facilities for existing population growth and will work with the Clinical Commissioning Group and NHS to deliver new health facilities as part of planned growth. New healthcare facilities will be delivered as part of new settlements ideally located in accessible locations, situated in a local centre with a range of other community facilities.

11.18 The Princess Alexandra Hospital NHS Trust is currently considering options to meet its future service requirements including the potential option to relocate to an alternative location in the Harlow and Gilston Garden Town. Two potential sites are being considered, the first in the Gilston area to the north and the second to the east of Harlow within the Epping Forest district. The location will be determined through a Strategic Outline Business Case. New and improved healthcare facilities play an important role in sustaining the Harlow and Gilston Garden Town and the Council will work with the hospital and all relevant parties to help deliver this.

Community Facilities

11.19 Community facilities cover a variety of buildings and services which underpin successful and vibrant communities and help develop social activities. It also includes future provision of burial space.

11.20 The provision of community buildings including youth centres, community halls, sports and leisure provision and libraries have been identified in the IDP and the Built Facilities and Playing Pitch Strategies. The Council will work with developers and statutory providers to deliver community uses across the district including provision on the Strategic Housing Site East of Harlow and through the master planning of the other Harlow and Gilston Garden Town Garden Communities.

11.21 There are currently 35 named allotments and additional provision is proposed for development sites at Gilden Way, Newhall and the Strategic Housing Site East of Harlow.

11.22 Proposals are in place to extend the existing crematorium and cemetery to the south of the district. The extension is allocated on the Policies Map. This also includes a green passageway for the movement of fauna between the two Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSIs) which abut the crematorium.

Utilities

11.23 The Council will work with the relevant statutory providers to ensure that development sites are well served by utility provision including electricity, gas, wastewater, potable drinking water, sustainable drainage, broadband and telecommunications.

11.24 Electricity Services in Harlow are provided through the UK Power Networks Eastern (UKPN) distribution area and is supplied from the Harlow West Grid substation.
The UKPN Regional Development Plan included a growth assumption of 16,000 dwellings in and around Harlow, the equivalent of the Harlow and Gilston Garden Town, to 2033. Projects have been identified for the electricity infrastructure needed to meet this growth and it is expected that this will be funded through the utility firm and developers.

11.25 There are no known existing gas deficiencies in Harlow. The Council will continue to work with the suppliers to ensure the network can accommodate growth and any infrastructure will be covered by the utility provider.

11.26 There is already significant telecommunications and broadband infrastructure in Harlow and the district is in excess of the Government's 95% coverage target. The Development Management policies ensure that broadband coverage extends into new developments and that telecommunications equipment is provided in Harlow.

11.27 The Council will work with the Environment Agency and the Flood Risk Management Authority to implement flood alleviation schemes as set out in the Strategic Flood Risk Assessment and Surface Water Management Plan for Harlow. The Development Management policies ensure that water quality, water management, flooding and sustainable drainage is fully considered as part of new development proposals.

11.28 Harlow falls into the Upper Lee catchment area and potable drinking water supply in the district is provided by Affinity Water. The utility firm has a statutory duty to publish Water Resource Management Plans (WRMP) every five years setting out how they will maintain a balance between demand and supply over a 25-year period. Across Affinity Water's Central Region area, which Harlow is located within, the WRMP sets out water related infrastructure projects which will ensure there is not a water deficit. This infrastructure will be funded through a combination of direct funding from the utility company and through developers.

11.29 Thames Water is responsible for waste water in Harlow and the surrounding area and they are tasked in preparing Asset Management Plans every five years. These Management Plans have been informed by discussions to ensure infrastructure is in place to accommodate growth. Harlow is served by the Rye Meads Sewage Treatment Works which is currently being upgraded to increase capacity.

11.30 Thames Water position statements indicate capacity in the Treatment Works up to 2036, subject to further improvements to sludge and storm streams.
Further network modelling is being undertaken by Thames Water to understand sewer capacity in the area before outlining further intervention solutions.
This modelling work will inform a Watercycle Study being prepared by the Council. It is anticipated that solutions to improving the network will be jointly funded by the utility providers and developers.

(1) Implementation

11.31 This chapter is supported by a detailed IDP which sets out the infrastructure items required to support the Local Plan, and who is responsible for delivery, how the items are to be funded and when the infrastructure will be delivered. It provides detailed information on delivery and funding for the infrastructure required in the first five years of the Local Plan Period and infrastructure which is critical to delivering the Local Plan. It also provides as much detail as possible for medium and long-term projects.

11.32 The Council will need to work closely with a number of partners and organisations to bring forward both strategic and local infrastructure schemes in the district and the Harlow and Gilston Garden Town. This includes Essex County Council and Hertfordshire County Council who are responsible for the local highway networks, education provision, particular health and social care needs and other community facilities such as libraries. The Council will also liaise with other statutory bodies and site developers to bring forward other supporting infrastructure and ensure the delivery of development sites.

11.33 Infrastructure items will be funded by a number of sources. This can include, for example, the District Council, County Councils, infrastructure/utility providers, developers or through grants and funding bids. Specific infrastructure items that are required to deliver growth locations and development sites will mostly be funded by Section 106 Agreements between the Council and the developer.
The Council is preparing a Planning Obligations Supplementary Planning Document (SPD) which will provide guidance to statutory agencies, community organisations, developers and stakeholders involved in the development process and will be updated regularly.

11.34 If evidence in the IDP, as updated, indicates that the prospects for the realistic delivery of infrastructure have changed and are unlikely to support planned development, the Local Plan will be reviewed.

(3) SIR2 Enhancing Key Gateway Locations

The following gateway locations have been identified in the district:

  1. Routes to and from Junction 7a of the M11 along Gilden Way
  2. The A414 where it meets with Junction 7 of the M11
  3. River Stort Crossing where Fifth Avenue enters and exits the Harlow district boundary
  4. Eastern Stort Crossing which enters Templefields Employment Area at River Way
  5. The southern terminus of the Sustainable Transport Corridor where it first enters Harlow from development sites in Epping
  6. Vehicular and pedestrian access points to the north of the Town Centre
  7. Vehicular and pedestrian access points at as you first enter the strategic employment sites

The gateway locations above will be seamlessly integrated within the wider transport and Green Infrastructure network of Harlow and enhanced and improved through the use of:

  • appropriate landscaping and boundary treatments
  • open spaces which continue the principles of Green Wedges and Green Fingers
  • public art and improved signage
  • improved pedestrian and cycle routes which are legible and connect with the existing network
  • security and safety measures which assist in providing pleasant and attractive routes

Justification

11.35 The gateway locations set out above have been identified as important entrance points for commuters and visitors to Harlow and linkages that connect the Harlow and Gilston Garden Town communities with the Harlow urban area.
Their enhancement, improvement, legibility and integration are therefore important to the overall design and layout of the town and in implementing the design principles of Sir Frederick Gibberd's original master plan throughout the Garden Town. Their improvement will also enhance key destinations including the town centre and employment areas, act as attractors for businesses looking to locate to the district and make public transport routes, cycle and pedestrian pathways more attractive to users. Further gateway locations may be identified as development proposals are brought forward in the Harlow and Gilston Garden Town. The exact location for the key gateways have not been shown on the Policies Map as improvement projects are yet to be defined and proposals will develop through the masterplanning of development sites and regeneration schemes.

Implementation

11.36 Improvements and enhancements will be sought through the design and master planning stages of schemes and developments and through discussions with adjoining Councils, developers and via the Harlow and Gilston Garden Town Quality Review Panel and the Spatial Vision and Design Charter.

(1) SIR3 Waste and Minerals

The Council will work with Essex County Council to bring forward the Waste and Minerals Development Plan Documents.

These documents form part of the Development Plan for Harlow and include Site SIR3-1 Harlow Mill Rail Station which is safeguarded as a Transhipment Site and Coated Stone Plant.

Justification

11.37 Essex County Council is responsible for waste and minerals planning in Harlow and has prepared a Waste Development Plan Document and a Minerals Development Plan Document. They include allocations and Development Management policies. These documents form part of the Local Plan and will be taken into consideration as part of the submission of planning applications.

11.38 The Council will ensure that the principles of the Waste Hierarchy (see Fig. 11.1) continue to be implemented as part of its contribution to waste planning and will aim to achieve a recycling target of 50%[19].

Fig. 11.1: Waste Hierarchy

Implementation

11.39 Implementation of this policy will require a collaborative approach between the Council and Essex County Council as the waste and minerals authority. The Council will ensure that applications take into consideration waste and minerals development plan documents.


[12] National planning policies state that to be considered deliverable, sites should be available now, offer a suitable location for development and be achievable with a realistic prospect that housing will be delivered on-site within 5 years and in particular that the development is viable. Sites with planning permission should be considered deliverable until permission expires, unless there is clear evidence that schemes will not be implemented within five years, for example they will not be viable, there is no longer a demand for the type of units or sites have long-term phasing plans.

[13] The responsibility for the delivery of housing lies with housebuilders and not the Council.

[14] The Call for Sites is an invitation to developers to submit sites for assessment in the SHLAA.

[15] August 2015

[16] Essex, Southend-on-Sea and Thurrock Gypsy, Traveller and Travelling Showpeople Accommodation Assessment

[17] Source: Office for National Statistics, 2011 Census.

[18] Source: Office for National Statistics, 2015. NOMIS –Official Labour Market Statistics.

[19] The EU Waste Framework Directive states that the UK must recycle 50% of household waste by 2020.

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