Draft Old Harlow Conservation Area Appraisal and Management Plan
LOCATION AND SETTING
Location and Context
3.0 Old Harlow conservation area is located in the Old Harlow Ward, in the north eastern corner of the District. Like many other residential areas in the town, Old Harlow is a self-enclosed and self-contained neighbourhood. It is separated from the rest of Harlow by areas of Green Wedge and two major roads - the A414 to the west and Gilden Way to the south.
3.1 To the east lies two other conservation areas, Harlowbury and Churchgate Street. Further east is agricultural land which separates Harlow from the M11. To the north of Old Harlow is the River Stort, the East Anglia Railway Line and Harlow Mill Train Station. The A414 and an area of Green Wedge lie to the west of the conservation area.
3.2 Templefields employment area lies further west, on the other side of the A414. To the south of the conservation area is Gilden Way, Mark Hall School and areas of designated Green Wedge, which include Marigolds Cricket Ground, allotments and playing fields. Further south is the development at Newhall.
3.3 Immediately adjacent to the conservation area are a range of housing areas developed in the New Town era such as East Park, Chippingfield, Jocelyns and Faircroft Little Bays. North of St Johns Avenue and Bury Road is a Territorial Army Centre and a collection of roads - Manor Road and The Hill - built in the 1920s.
Extent of the conservation area
3.4 The current conservation area boundary includes parts or all of the following roads:
- Park Hill
- Market Street
- Mulberry Terrace
- Fore Street
- St John’s Walk
- Station Road
- High Street
- The Wayre
- St Johns Avenue
- Bury Road
- New Road
- Watlington Road
- Mulberry Green
- Mulberry Gardens
- Old Road
3.5 The extent of the conservation area boundary is shown below.
3.6 In 1994 the conservation area was extended to include Bury Road, New Road, areas of St Johns Avenue and Watlington Road.
3.7 Green Wedges found to the west and south of Old Harlow – an integral feature of the original Gibberd Masterplan - have ensured that Old Harlow has remained a separate neighbourhood and retained its distinct village character. The landscape setting of the conservation area is also defined by the fields around Harlowbury
Chapel on Old Road.
3.8 The conservation area has a slightly undulating topography. Market Street and Fore Street are positioned on a slight hill which falls with a gentle gradient in both directions - towards Park Hill and along the High Street down to Mulberry Green. This is most notable along the High Street, which slopes in an eastern direction from the junction with Station Road, down towards the Gibberd Blocks. At Mulberry Green there is a steep hill rising towards the eastern boundary of the conservation area.
3.9 Although it is defined as a single conservation area, Old Harlow is a collection of different character areas or districts, the most prominent and historic being the late Medieval district around Market Street, the High Street and Mulberry Green. There are two Victorian character areas in the conservation area, around Park Hill to the west and around Bury Road and New Road to the east.
3.10 The High Street pedestrian precinct is the main focus for commercial and social activity in the conservation area. Minor nodes exist around pubs in Market Street and Fore Street and at Mulberry Green.
3.11 Station Road effectively splits the conservation area in two. Despite the presence of a pedestrian crossing point linking Fore Street and the High Street, heavy volumes of traffic in both directions mean that Station Road severs connection between these two areas.
3.12 Other important public spaces within the conservation area are The Garden of Remembrance, spaces between Fore Street and Market Street, the village triangle opposite the Green Man Hotel in Mulberry Green and gardens around churches off Market Street and Fore Street.
3.13 The Green Wedge and the A414 provide a well-defined edge to the west of the conservation area. Vehicular traffic west of Park Hill is blocked, which significantly reduces east-west traffic movement on Market Street. Gilden Way serves as a bypass, ensuring the majority of through traffic circumnavigates the conservation area.
3.15 There are a number of major landmarks in the area. The George, The Gables and The Marquis of Granby all fulfil this function and are found at the entrance to Market Street and Fore Street. The Gibberd Blocks also act as a landmark at the eastern entrance to the High Street precinct.
3.16 A number of landmark buildings also exist along the High Street as it stretches past The Garden of Remembrance and winds down towards the Ambulance and Fire Station and on towards Mulberry Green.
Contribution of Green Spaces and Trees
3.17 There are a number of significant green spaces in the conservation area and adjacent to it:
- Dense foliage along between the conservation area and the A414 provides an effective buffer, cocooning the conservation area from the noise generated by traffic.
- The Garden of Remembrance - the largest and most significant public park in the conservation area.
- The cricket ground and green areas around the Church House contribute to the landscape setting of Mulberry Green and preserve the separation of Mulberry Green and Old Harlow.
- The village triangle and large Oak tree opposite The Green Man pub and hotel in Mulberry Green is a small, yet significant feature of the village and helps to define the Mulberry Green’s village Character.
- The line of mature trees which run up the northern side of Mulberry Green hill follow the topography of the area play a significant role in establishing the character of Mulberry Green and shaping attractive views in the area.
- Church gardens around the St John the Baptist Church provide a hidden and enclosed enclave of greenery.
- Tree planting around the car parking areas between Market Street and Fore Street help to reduce the dominating effect of parked cars and concrete areas.
- The avenue of mature English Plane trees along St Johns Avenue is a very significant feature of the street and helps to define its leafy, Garden Village character.
Land Uses and Activity
3.18 Commercial and retail land uses are concentrated along the High Street precinct and at the junction of Station Road with Fore Street. Very little commercial activity is spread across the rest of the conservation area, which is generally residential apart from a number of churches, halls and public houses.
3.19 The High Street contains a range of shops, financial and professional services, cafes, restaurants and a library.
3.20 The conservation area contains 40 listed buildings. This includes three grade II* listed buildings and 37 grade II listed buildings. There are also 6 locally listed buildings in the area.
3.21 The conservation area also contains a number of unlisted buildings of significant townscape merit. These are shown on the townscape analysis map below, as are buildings which are considered to make a neutral contribution to the character of the area. Buildings which have a different character to the conservation area are also identified.
3.22 There are a number of significant views in the area. The most significant view is up and down the northern side of Market Street, which reveals a consistent, curved line of buildings, some of which remain unchanged from the15th, 16th and 17th century.
3.23 Other important views in the conservation area are found:
- up and down the High Street precinct;
- along the eastern side of the High Street, passed Chestnut Cottage;
- across The Garden of Remembrance towards Victoria Hall;
- along Oddfellow’s Terrace;
- along Mulberry Terrace;
- along Kimberly Terrace.
- towards the Fire Station and Ambulance Station;
- up and down Mulberry Hill; and
- down the avenue of trees on St Johns Avenue.