Investing in Harlow
PUBLISHED: 12:56 18 March 2011 | UPDATED: 08:57 21 February 2013
Sir Frederick Gibberd's ground-breaking design gave Harlow an ethos of innovation. Elizabeth Ross explains why it is still on the front foot today
The place to be for R&D
ONE of the UK's first post-war New Towns, Harlow is the birthplace of fibre optics telecommunications technology. Numerous multi-nationals have located substantial R&D functions in the town over the years. GlaxoSmithKline currently employs around 3,000 people and Nortel Networks more than 1,000. Research is a collaborative field and Harlow's geographic location is highly accessible to the Cambridge-London-Oxford R&D triangle. The town's proximity to Stansted, City and Luton airports, and easy routes into London, enhances its commercial competitiveness across many sectors.
Harlow has attracted investment from big name global players in manufacturing, including United Glass, part of the leading manufacturer of glass packaging Owens-Illinois; Raytheon and Pitney Bowles whose headquarters is in Harlow. Founded in 1948, Smith's (Harlow) Ltd is a home-grown company with a global reach. Smith's roots are in the aerospace industry, and the company produces wind farm rigs which are used by Vestas, one of the world's largest wind power companies.
Focus for investment
Harlow and the M11 corridor is one of three development projects in Essex. A redevelopment of Harlow's town centre, worth 400 million, is currently underway and the town will receive more than 200 million in transportation infrastructure improvements. Harlow has a variety of attractive, competitively-priced employment land available with many companies located at the industrial parks of Pinnacles and Templefields.
Anglia Ruskin University plans to open a new campus in Harlow. Harlow College's engineering department was described as a, 'breath of fresh air' by Smith's Harlow MD John Tennison. Nortel executives also say that the relationship with the local community in Harlow has contributed to the company's success. 'An ongoing relationship has created an awareness and resource pool in Harlow that is difficult to emulate and takes years to develop,' said one executive.
Harlow was originally designed by Sir Frederick Gibberd and boasts Britain's first pedestrian district and residential tower block, known as The Lawn. One of the main attractions for local companies today
is the quality of life available to their employees, who enjoy Harlow's green spaces.
Since the retail element of The Water Gardens opened in 2004, it has become the prime retail thoroughfare for Harlow. The investment by a number of major retailers in the town by way of the retail space they have opened and continue to operate is substantial. Leisure elements at The Water Gardens, such as cafs restaurants and a health club has further enhanced Harlow's reputation as a desirable place to live and work.