A £5m funding package to upgrade a key strategic road in Harlow has been approved by the South East Local Enterprise Partnership (SELEP).
Harlow is already one of Essex’s success stories with the Enterprise Zone moving forward rapidly and Public Health England relocating to the town. However it is also severely limited by the lack of road capacity and connectivity, restricting growth that is essential to provide the platform for regenerating the area.
Improving traffic flow and access to and from M11
The Local Growth Fund money will be used to widen and upgrade just over a mile (1.8km) of Gilden Way, providing a key link to the proposed junction 7a of the M11 and giving access to the new housing development at Harlowbury.
Geoff Miles, Chairman of the South East Local Enterprise Partnership’s Accountability Board, said:
“Enterprise Zone status has proved hugely successful for Harlow, but to achieve its full potential there is an urgent need for a new junction from the M11 for traffic heading for the town.
The improvements to Gilden Way would act as enabling works for that new junction as well as providing the additional road capacity needed to support on-going developments around the town.”
The funding will be used to widen the existing two-lane road to three, allowing two lanes to be used by traffic heading into Harlow from the M11 and one lane for vehicles heading from the town to the motorway.
Existing footways will be widened and upgraded for use by pedestrians and cyclists, with new pedestrian and cycle crossings created.
Further funding from Essex County Council and developers
In addition to the SELEP funding for the improvements, Essex County Council is contributing £6.33m, with £1m coming from the developers of Harlowbury.
Cllr Kevin Bentley, Deputy Leader of Essex County Council and Cabinet Member for Economic Growth, said:
“Thanks to Local Growth Fund funding we will be able to transform Gilden Way in Harlow and provide a key link to the proposed Junction 7a of the M11.
This is a major project that Essex County Council has invested £6.33m into and the project will support economic and housing growth in the county and support local business growth.”
Economic development in the South East
The South East Local Enterprise Partnership (SELEP) is the business-led organisation that champions the economic growth of Kent, Essex, East Sussex, Medway, Southend and Thurrock.
One of 38 LEPs across the country, SELEP works with its local partners operating under a federated model to secure investment to help deliver new homes and infrastructure. It is responsible for determining the area’s strategic economic priorities while making investments and delivering activities to drive growth and create local job.
Growth Deals are a £12 billion national long-term programme to revitalise local economies.
The Local Growth Fund is the Government’s funding pot of at least £2bn a year from 2015/16 to 2020/21. Most of the funding is allocated through a competitive process, and there are have been three rounds of Local Growth Funds so far. Projects funded will be delivered by 2021.
In total the SELEP Growth Deal with Government has brought almost £590.8m of investment to around 100 projects in East Sussex, Essex, Kent, Medway, Southend and Thurrock.
Over the lifetime of the deal (2015-2021) SELEP aims to deliver 78,000 jobs and 29,000 homes. It is set to attract a further £960 million investment into the South East over the next five years.