AMBITIOUS plans have been proposed for regenerating Harlow’s lifeless Market Square.
Built in the 1950’s, the Market Square at the end of Broad Walk has gone from attracting an array of stalls and shoppers, to being an empty space in the middle of a busy town.
Harlow Council’s £1 million regeneration fund will go towards creating a town with function and purpose. Councillor Tony Durcan, Harlow’s Portfolio Holder for Regeneration and Enterprise, wants to encourage all parties involved to work together and agree on the proposed redevelopment.
He said: ‘With the growth in online shopping, towns have had to create areas for leisure and pleasure. I always have to forecast what the people in the next generation want, and the consequences of it.’
Coun Durcan wants to bring life to the quieter side of the Town Centre. Gyms, coffee shops and cinemas are now necessary facilities in modern towns, because they create a purpose for the town and attract the public.
Plans include new flats, boutique shops, play and sports equipment such as outdoor table tennis, seating areas, and general landscaping of the area.
One downside of a busy town however is crime, with 162 crimes reported around Harlow town’s centre just in August, mainly involving anti-social behaviour, violence, and criminal damage. However Coun Durcan is confident this revamp won’t attract any new crime spots, and says ‘Crime and anti-social behaviour should reduce; derelict buildings attract people to them. If you build something nice enough, people value it.’
Plans need to be approved before they can go ahead, but within the next 10 years, Harlow Town Centre could be transformed.