Naisha Polaine has been named as the new Director for Harlow & Gilston Garden Town.

She joins from the Department of International Trade, where she served as a senior advisor, and replaces Claire Hamilton who was appointed CEO at Dacorum Borough Council last year.

Speaking about her new role, 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.

“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 for Homes, Communities and Local Government in January 2017, Harlow & Gilston aims to prioritise community, sustainability and regeneration.

Five local authorities make up the Harlow & Gilston Garden Town partnership – East Herts, Epping Forest and Harlow District Councils with support from Essex and Hertfordshire County Councils.

Naisha will also 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.

“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’s 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.”

Naisha is no stranger to the local area, she grew up in Essex and was educated in Bishop’s Stortford.

She previously sat on the board of Harlow Enterprise Zone and helped 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,” commented Naisha.

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

Independent chair for the Garden Town, Guy Nicholson, said: “Naisha brings the leadership experience and regeneration skills that the Garden Town now needs to take us forward.

“We are all looking forward to working alongside Naisha, 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.”

Naisha will start her new role on Monday April 12, 2021.