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£715,000 boost for plans to build at least 16,000 homes at Harlow and Gilston Garden Town

Plans for at least 16,000 new homes on the border of East Herts and Harlow have been boosted by new funding worth £715,000.

The cash from Homes England for the Harlow and Gilston Garden Town comes as Kevin Steptoe, head of planning and building control at East Herts Council for the past 13 years, announced he was joining the new settlement’s development team.

East Herts, Harlow and Epping Forest district councils, along with Essex and Hertfordshire county councils, have been working together to ensure plans for the project support sustainable and healthy living and a strong local economy.

The garden town plans provide for a minimum of 16,000 homes in and around Harlow to 2033, with 7,000 planned for the Gilston Area beyond the plan period. The Harlow and Gilston area was designated a ‘garden town’ by the Government in January 2017 and the development is a central plank of East Herts’ district plan, which was rubber-stamped by the Government last year.

Guy Nicholson, chairman of the Harlow Garden Town Board, said: “I am delighted that Homes England has made this additional investment in the garden town. It is a great testament to the collaboration and hard work that the garden town team, the partners and stakeholders have already achieved, and all can be very proud.

“There is no doubt that the garden town will deliver much-needed new homes and be a great boost to the local economy.

“This investment enables us to draw on all of our strengths and aspirations and take the next step in realising the garden town with confidence.”

The proposals have been opposed for more than a decade by the STOP Harlow North campaign, representing residents of Eastwick and Gilston, High Wych, Hunsdon, Widford and Sawbridgeworth.

Mr Steptoe will start a two-year secondment as Harlow and Gilston Garden Town lead officer on March 1. On the same date, Sara Saunders will join East Herts Council as its interim head of planning for two years.