Harlow is set to “lead to the way” towards revolutionising how people travel in the UK– thanks to £170 million of Government funding to transform the town’s transport infrastructure.

Essex County Council’s cabinet has approved an agreement with Hertfordshire County Council to unlock more than £170 million of Government funding to transform Harlow’s transport infrastructure and enable major housing developments.

The Housing Investment Grant will fund vital transport improvements for existing residents, businesses and for the proposed 8,500 home development at Gilston as part of the vision for the future of Harlow and Gilston Garden Town.

A key element to this is making sustainable travel a good option in order to improve health as a county, tackle climate change, improve air quality and reduce traffic congestion in Harlow.

As part of the grant, the county council will receive £42 million funding to deliver a new sustainable travel corridor linking the proposed Gilston development to Harlow town centre and the railway station – including a redesigned junction at Burnt Mill roundabout.

There will also be a new junction at Cambridge Road to connect the east of Harlow to the new development and also provide additional access to the Templefields Enterprise Zone.

This is the first phase of an ambitious network of sustainable transport corridors across Harlow that will provide a network of bus priority, plus segregated cycling and walking routes to link major employment, housing, retail, education and healthcare facilities across the town.

Remaining funds from the  Housing Investment Grant will be used to build two new road crossings over the River Stort and the railway line and replace River Way Bridge in order to improve connectivity around town, the new housing developments and the Enterprise Zone.

Deputy leader Cllr Kevin Bentley said: “We are going to revolutionise the way we travel in this country generally to hit net zero carbon emission but Harlow is going to lead the way in the country because of the work done there.”

Council leader Cllr David Finch added: “The agreement will bring about a significant change in the Harlow Gilston relationship. Indeed I think it signals and augurs well for the future – getting this right the first time will have a significant impact in the wellbeing of our residents in Harlow.”