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Harlow & Gilston Garden Town: Digital consultation campaign begins

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Harlow & Gilston Garden Town is teaming up with an independent charity for a summer of online and face-to-face community engagement.

The partnership with the Quality of Life Foundation will give local people a chance, from Friday July 15, to shape the development via an interactive map about wellbeing and their daily lives – from nature and travel to health and community.

Places for People has plans for 8,500 new homes in six villages in a scheme known as Gilston Park Estate. Separately, Taylor Wimpey North Thames has submitted an outline planning application for a seventh village of 1,500 homes.

Harlow and Gilston Garden Town (57693074)
Harlow and Gilston Garden Town (57693074)

Together they will make up the 10,000-home Gilston Garden Neighbourhood, which will form part of the Harlow and Gilston Garden Town, ultimately adding 24,000 new homes across four new neighbourhoods.

Information collected by the Quality of Life Foundation over the 12-week project will not only influence how plans are taken forward by the garden town's five council partners – East Herts, Harlow and Epping Forest district councils and Herts and Essex county councils – but underpin future work around design, community development and the long-term management of public assets.

The 'Your Quality of Life' project and engagement programme, funded with £228,800 by the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (DLUHC), will also be reviewed by the Government as part of efforts to make the planning process more democratic and accountable through digital innovation.

Naisha Polaine (57693077)
Naisha Polaine (57693077)

Garden town director Naisha Polaine, a former Hockerill Anglo-European College student, said: "Funding from the DLUHC is allowing us to break the mould of how local people can influence changes in their area with the Your Quality of Life project.

"It means we can be innovative in not only speaking with residents and businesses in the Harlow & Gilston Garden Town area but in collating and analysing the results as well.

"Young or old, everyone's life experiences will count and contribute to how the local area grows and develops over time, so this project is a real landmark moment.

"And what makes it even more special is that the project takes place throughout Harlow's 75th anniversary celebrations this summer.

Gilston drone www.amazingpics.co.uk (57693071)
Gilston drone www.amazingpics.co.uk (57693071)

"Harlow was a real pioneer when Sir Frederick Gibberd put together the New Town and our aim is to ensure that Harlow & Gilston Garden Town not only captures that same spirit and aspiration but is back on the map as a place known for great housing and tremendous job opportunities."

Quality of Life Foundation director Matthew Morgan said: "We are committed to giving residents a greater sense of control over what they value and need in their local area, to affect the way Government and industry approach housing and communities.

"Taking a long-term approach based on improving people's health and wellbeing will lead to more socially, environmentally and economically sustainable neighbourhoods, a vision shared by the Harlow & Gilston Garden Town council partners."

Visualisations of the Gilston Park estate. (57693097)
Visualisations of the Gilston Park estate. (57693097)

Joining Quality of Life Foundation on the project are Rainbow Services, which will be ensuring maximum participation in communities across Harlow, Gilston and surrounding areas, as well as data analytics leader Stantec and citizen engagement website Commonplace.

Register your interest in taking part at https://qolmap.commonplace.is. The consultation ends on October 7.

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