Harlow Town Centre Area Action Plan - Issues and Options Consultation

Ended on the 10th August 2018
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Drawing on the Market Assessment report (2017), the following analysis assists in distilling the key strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats (SWOT).


  • Strategic location (Harlow)
  • Excellent transport connections (Harlow)
  • 30 minutes to London by train (Harlow)
  • Comparatively large shopping population
  • Representation of national mid-range


  • Too much retail floorspace
  • High vacancy rates (highest of all comparators)
  • Lack of medium - large shops capable of attracting modern retailers
  • Lack of higher end retailers
  • Lack of quality small independent traders
  • Lack of vibrant night-time economy
  • Limited commercial leisure offer (i.e. evening)
  • Location of train station
  • Location and size of bus station (too large)
  • Poor quality, under-utilised public spaces
  • Poor town centre connections
  • Library site (physical/physiological barrier)
  • Lack of council-owned town centre sites
  • Lowest average income of all comparators the town and within the town centre
  • Consolidation of town centre shopping area
  • Consolidation of public sector services
  • Greater town centre linkages
  • Cinema-anchor scheme completed in Harvey Centre, introduction of new restaurants
  • Planning permission granted for major redevelopment of town centre west
  • Improve and maintain shops along Broad Walk
  • Improve accessibility by public transport
  • Proposals for the improvement of the library site
  • Public Health England and Enterprise Zone (Harlow)


  • Potential development sites in northern town centre area (Market Square / Stone Cross and Post Office Road)
  • Council role in stimulating regeneration
  • Increase the resident population of both multiples
  • Adequate town centre parking
  • Private investment e.g. Addington scheme
  • Asda forms an 'anchor' alongside the established restaurant offer at The Water Gardens
  • Harlow College Campus
  • Alternative / hidden offer - Voluntary and community
  • Public art
  • The Water Gardens Shopping Centre


  • Limited town centre development pipeline or certainty of developments
  • Minor developments / investment delivered in isolation
  • Lack of department store
  • Increasing competition from other centres (including Chelmsford)
  • Trends in retail sector (polarisation, multi- channel retailing, changing store formats)
  • Poor quality office-residential conversions
  • Economy uncertainty
  • Continuation of lowest average income of all comparators

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