Agenda and draft minutes

Harlow Growth Board
Monday, 16th August, 2021 10.00 am

Venue: Zoom - Online. View directions

No. Item


Introductions and Apologies


Apologies for absence were received from Yvonne Barnett, Michael Beard, Homes England, Robert Halfon MP, Martin John, Michael Meredith, Jemma Mindham and Naisha Polaine.


Minutes of Previous Meeting on 10 June 2021 pdf icon PDF 79 KB


Jane Greer confirmed that the projects under the Towns Fund bid would need to be delivered by March 2026 and not March 2025 as stated in the minutes.


The minutes were agreed.


Towns Fund update


Jane Greer confirmed that £23.7 million had been awarded. As the original bid was for £25 million, officers have suggested revised project costings after considering where savings could be made. Also noting that nationally, construction costs have risen considerably over the last year and would require regular review in terms of impacts on project costs. Jane advised on the commitment given by Harlow Council to secure additional funding up to the value of the original costings, if needed, to ensure that quality isn’t compromised for Harlow Council led projects.


Jane advised that the revised costings needed to be submitted to the Government by next week. Councillor Lesley Wagland advised that Essex County Council was hugely impressed by the bid and supported the amendments.


The Growth Board agreed the amended costings as proposed.


Community Renewal Fund Update


Mark Doran provided an update on the Community Renewal Fund and advised that MHCLG had not responded yet. Mark confirmed that there had been a good response to the call for projects, with eight bids shortlisted for the fund.


Anchor Institutions Network update


Julie Houston advised the Board that the Anchor Institutions work had been well received. A workshop was held at the end of June and the first steering group meeting would take place tomorrow. The steering group meeting would look at developing the work plan including procurement, training and skills. Julie also advised that this piece of work was linking up with the wider Essex County Council Anchor Network.


Harlow and Gilston Garden Town update pdf icon PDF 140 KB


Guy Nicholson confirmed that a paper had been circulated with the agenda. Guy advised the Board of HGGT support for a single vision for Harlow, the “Town Plan”, under development by Harlow Council which would be going forward to Cabinet in the autumn. This would be important for joining all of the projects together.


Harlow Innovation Park update


James Gardner provided an update on the Harlow Innovation Park. This included two organisations now in occupation in the Nexus building, one business lease arrangements at Heads of Terms and another at the legal stage for four of the six Modus buildings in total and a further company at Heads of Terms for development of another park plot. James also advised that a new design for the café/central heart would be brought to the Board at a later stage.


PHE update


Public Health England provided Jane Greer with an update for the Board. The UK Health Security Agency will replace PHE, the strategy must build on experience of PHE and test and trace. Part of work is to ensure operating model is coherent and effective, as that evolves the role of Harlow will become clearer. All three of our contractors continue on site, creating a containment facility, demolition works and infrastructure works. Jane confirmed that the full update would also be circulated to the Board.


Guy Nicholson suggested that the Board send a letter of support for the move to the new UK Health Security Agency. Brian Keane agreed to discuss this proposal with Robert Halfon MP. Mark Doran advised that that the Essex County Council Leader has also sent a letter of support.


Active Travel Bid


Julian Sanchez confirmed that Essex County Council submitted the bid last Monday. The bid consisted of three components; the cycle route from the Town Centre to the Pinnacles, the mini Holland feasibility and the expansion of Essex Pedal Power. Essex County Council expects to hear back in October/November.


Any Other Business


John Keddie advised that a schedule for meeting dates would be put together and circulated to Board members.