Harlow in Essex has historically been at the forefront of leisure provision. Way back in 1964 they built the first ever sports centre which was managed by George Torkildsen, the first ever recreation manager. George helped set up the Harlow Sports Trust which owned and operated the centre.
In 2003 we worked with our friends at Nortoft on a sports, play and open spaces assessment for Harlow in Essex. At that time they were wrestling with the issues of an aging sports centre, an old fashioned pool on a different site, over 80 play areas scattered across the town and a senior football club in need of a new home. We were pleased to be able to draft a strategy which has delivered real improvements. There is now one of the best indoor leisure centres in the country at Harlow Leisure Zone, Harlow Town FC have a brand new stadium, the town boasts an excellent indoor tennis centre and there are many fewer, but much better play areas in the district.
We are again working with Nortoft on a new sports strategy looking to ensure that there are sufficient, good quality leisure facilities available to the large number of residents expected from the thousands of new homes proposed for the area. We are working with the governing bodies of sport, Sport England, Active Essex and the neighbouring local authorities in Essex and Hertfordshire.