A blog from HGGT Director, Naisha Polaine, on the “good growth” planned for Harlow & Gilston. 

The Harlow and Gilston Garden Town will be four new garden communities around Harlow and the regeneration of Harlow Town itself.

The new communities will be in Essex and Hertfordshire and across the East Herts, Epping Forest and Harlow Council areas and I don’t believe there is anything else like it in the country in terms of ambition and partnership.

I think of this part of the world as my world as I grew up in North Essex and went to school in Bishop’s Stortford.

My working life has been in the East of England and I have always been motivated by wanting to deliver good things for the communities I’ve worked with.

I was a Board member of Harlow Renaissance and the Harlow Enterprise Zone and I understand how important it is to get the jobs, the homes, and the transport to work together and at the right time.

My career has been mostly in the public sector, working in property and regeneration, and I’ve worked in National and local Government too.

I want to use all those experiences to help Harlow & Gilston get the best deal for the future.

I like to think of it as how do we deliver good growth and I’m passionate about it; good for the people that are already here and good for the people to come.

And part of our good growth thinking is ensuring we build places where people have opportunities locally.

We don’t want to just provide houses where people hop in their cars and drive down to the tube.

I am listening and watching the things that people are saying around our Harlow & Gilston consultations and across social media.

Its clear people are worried about the pressures more homes might bring.

The feeling that there may be more transport congestion and not enough services.

Staying in touch with what people are thinking really matters to me because change can be challenging.

It’s challenging when it happens to me and where I live, so I really understand how that feels.

On the other hand, I also know people want places where their children can live near them, in a beautiful place and get good jobs, so it’s about understanding how we find a compromise between us.

I want the community to know that we are working for them to make sure this growth is a good experience.