A NEW live music venue and upgrades to a theatre will be delivered following a £20million government cash injection for Harlow.

Harlow Council secured the funds from the government’s levelling up scheme to transform and regenerate Playhouse Square.

The area will be transformed into an Arts and Cultural Quarter as part of the regeneration of the town centre.

The transformation will include, a new live music and performance venue, upgrades to the Playhouse, a new pedestrian focused public square for events, contemporary bar and café.

Dan Swords, deputy leader of Harlow Council, said: “This is another historic moment for the regeneration of the town centre following the recent purchases of Occasio House and the Harvey Centre, the £46million investment from Strawberry Star and approval for the £15million redevelopment of the bus station and Terminus Street being funded by the government’s Towns Fund. 

“Not only will this Levelling Up funding regenerate another part of the town centre, but it will also support leisure, art and culture and boost the local economy. The brilliant Playhouse and iconic St Paul’s Church will remain the centrepieces of this regeneration scheme, a scheme which will improve lives."

As part the scheme’s delivery the council purchased the derelict Occasio House site in December.

The buildings will be demolished, and the land used for a new residential development.

Following the council's recent purchase of the Harvey Centre, there is also the opportunity to integrate part of the centre into the regeneration scheme. 

Ahead of the council submitting its bid in July, extensive public consultation took place.

An online survey attracted more than 240 responses and 499 comments were made through social media.

Lesley Wagland, Essex County Council cabinet member for economic renewal, infrastructure and planning, added: “This funding will boost the Harlow town centre economy, helping make more of its arts and cultural facilities and enhancing the town centre for residents and visitors alike. 

“Essex County Council is committed to our own Levelling Up Strategy, in which Harlow is one of our six priority areas, and we look forward to working with Harlow Council to bring these plans to fruition.”