Public Health England (PHE) has announced that Harlow is the preferred location for its new Science Hub, providing a major boost to the development of the town’s Life Sciences sector. It will also have a significant impact upon the development of the Enterprise Zone since it demonstrates the calibre of organisation that can be attracted to Harlow.
PHE is the government’s expert national public health agency, undertaking scientific research and providing advice to the health sector. It has four core functions: -
- protecting the public’s health from infectious diseases and other hazards to health
- improving the public’s health and wellbeing and reducing health inequalities
- improving population health through sustainable health and care services
- building the capability and capacity of the public health system
PHE has been considering for some time the options for relocating its facilities currently at Porton, Whitechapel and Colindale. The PHE Board has decided to recommend to Government that these facilities and support services are relocated to Harlow to create a world class Science Hub at the former GlaxoSmithKline campus in the town.
The Department of Health and HM Treasury will now be assessing the options and the recommendation. It is anticipated that a decision could be made by the end of September 2014.
The proposal is to provide a modern campus and facilities for the nation’s public health science retaining and attracting the world’s best scientists and researchers. The proposal includes building new laboratory facilities with some activities moving to Harlow from mid-2018.
Harlow Council has welcomed the decision of the Board of Public Health England that Harlow is to be recommended as the location for its state-of-the-art national Science Hub.
Councillor Jon Clempner, Leader of Harlow Council, said: “This is an extremely positive development for Harlow as it will increase the number of high quality science and research jobs in the town. Harlow is a science-led town and this will add to that status and contribute to the Enterprise Zone developments in the town. A new Science Hub links perfectly with MedTech and will increase the attractiveness of the town for businesses in the science and health sector. We want the world’s best scientists and researchers to work here in Harlow but we also want to improve the higher education offer in the town and the educational opportunities for local people. Having a state-of-the-art science hub in Harlow will help to do just that.”
Councillor Tony Durcan, Harlow Council’s Cabinet Portfolio Holder for Regeneration and Enterprise, said: “This announcement is the culmination of a huge amount of work over a long period and recognises Harlow as a place in which to invest. At the centre of the London Stansted Cambridge Corridor, Harlow is an ideal place for investment and I am sure that PHE moving to Harlow will attract private sector firms to the town. The Council is doing all that it can to support investment in Harlow. It is also supporting local people to enable them to acquire the skills and education necessary for them to take the opportunities that are being created.”