Harlow & Gilston was described as having a “bright future” in Parliament on Monday night after a Robert Halfon MP led debate on Public Health England’s replacement organisation moving to the Garden Town.
With £250m already spent on the project, the newly formed UK Health Security Agency will have its future base in Harlow with a further £120m investment committed over the remainder of this year and into 2022.
“Not only has significant investment taken place but the plan for the creation of a public health science campus in Harlow is now mature and shovel-ready,” said Halfon.
“Considerable site demolition work has been completed, the buildings have now been stripped to their core and the drainage and power systems are beginning to be installed.
“Contracts are being drawn up and construction proper could start this year.”
Harlow’s location within the UK Innovation Corridor was also discussed with Halfon describing the town as an ideal place for the creation of the UK Health Security Agency campus.
“The London-Stansted-Cambridge corridor is a driver for growth in data sciences as well as life sciences and that sets it off as a unique set of opportunities.
“The east of England could be set to become the public health science capital of the world.
“We could lead the way in research, science and technology.”
Halfon also highlighted the significant Government investment that is being directed towards the area as part of its wide spread regeneration.
“Harlow has been given £81 million for the M11 Junction 7a, hundreds of millions for our new Harlow hospital, major investment for our enterprise zone and science park, and most recently £23.7 million as a result of the towns fund bid.”
“Further to that, Harlow College, one of the finest further education colleges in England, is also bidding, with other colleges in Essex, for a new institute of technology. The bid comes on top of a £2.5 million upgrade of the college and the creation of a £12 million advanced manufacturing centre.”
And speaking about Harlow & Gilston Garden Town, Halfon commented: “We have further exciting developments taking place, such as the Garden Town project, which could bring thousands of new homes.
“It is reliant to an extent upon the creation of a new public health campus in Harlow, as that would bring jobs to sustain this new influx of people.
“The creation of a new public health science campus in Harlow would be the golden thread that would tie all this investment together; it is the linchpin upon much else rests.
“The project represents an opportunity to drive forward Harlow’s growth strategy and address some of the socioeconomic challenges faced by our town and the surrounding areas.”
In response, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, Jo Churchill MP, said: “The local garden town development will bring new housing and improved transport, further Government support is being sought that, if successful, could take investment for Harlow to over £100 million.
“Alongside that, the Princess Alexandra Hospital in Harlow is at the vanguard, being one of the six hospitals in the Government’s ambitious hospital building programme.
“There is definitely a bright future for Harlow.”