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Former Hockerill Anglo-European College and Felsted School student Naisha Polaine appointed director of Harlow & Gilston Garden Town development




A former Bishop's Stortford school student is the new director for the Harlow & Gilston Garden Town development.

Naisha Polaine, who attended Hockerill Anglo-European College and Felsted School, joins from the Department for International Trade, where she served as a senior advisor. She replaces Claire Hamilton, who was appointed chief executive at Dacorum Borough Council last year.

Naisha said: "Harlow & Gilston is one of the biggest and most active growth areas in southern England and I've been watching it unfold locally with interest.

Naisha Polaine, who attended Hockerill and Felsted, joins from the Department for International Trade
Naisha Polaine, who attended Hockerill and Felsted, joins from the Department for International Trade

"It is already a remarkable partnership between five local authorities and has the interests of its existing and future community right at its heart.

"I remember thinking that Claire Hamilton had such a great job as director of the Garden Town so I was absolutely delighted when the role became available."

Designated a garden town by the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government in January 2017, the Harlow & Gilston Garden Town partnership is made up of East Herts, Harlow and Epping Forest district councils with support from Essex and Hertfordshire county councils.

Harlow and Gilston Garden Town (44862207)
Harlow and Gilston Garden Town (44862207)

Naisha will call upon her previous experience at Homes England, leading regeneration and affordable housing across the Essex and Kent regions, to work alongside developers and ensure 16,000 houses are delivered in the garden town by 2033.

She said: "Change can be challenging – I've had over 200 new homes built opposite me and you do wonder what it means for the future.

"But there are so many positives to growth. Maybe it means your children and grandchildren can live and work locally and in a place they are proud to call home.

"We have to think about the next generation and give them the opportunities that we've been lucky to have in our lifetime."

Gilston drone www.amazingpics.co.uk (44862215)
Gilston drone www.amazingpics.co.uk (44862215)

She previously sat on the board of Harlow Enterprise Zone and helped to secure investment for the Kao Data Campus that sits alongside Harlow Science Park.

"I see Harlow as a forward-thinking place – it's got such an amazing history and was a pioneer in its time," she said.

"My aim is to ensure that it will be a pioneer again through the Harlow & Gilston Garden Town project."

Visualisations of the Gilston Park estate. (44862239)
Visualisations of the Gilston Park estate. (44862239)

Guy Nicholson, independent chairman for the garden town, said: "Naisha brings the leadership experience and regeneration skills that the garden town now needs to take us forward.

"Her commitment to, and understanding of, the wider Harlow community, combined with her professional experience, places the garden town in a good position to bring about, and make real, the garden town vision."

The garden town includes developer Places for People's proposals for 8,500 new homes on East Herts land in six villages at Gilston Park, formerly known as Harlow North. A seventh community of 1,500 properties is planned by Briggens Estate within East Herts.

Naisha will start her new role on Monday April 12.



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