PHE gets permission for public health science campus and HQ

Public Health England (PHE) gets go-ahead to create a world-leading public health science campus and headquarters at Harlow in Essex

PHE has been given planning permission to create a world-leading public health science campus at Harlow in Essex.

The landmark decision helps secure PHE’s role as a global leader in applying cutting-edge science to protect and improve the public’s health for the next generation through the creation of a ‘state-of-the-art’ centre of national and international scientific expertise.

PHE Harlow, as the site will be known, is expected to employ up to 2,750 people by 2024, with scope for further expansion.

The campus is critical to the future of PHE, ensuring we will be able to use the latest scientific advances to deliver our world-leading science and evidence for issues such as smoking, alcohol, diabetes, dementia, infectious diseases, environmental hazards and climate change nationally and internationally.

PHE was given the go-ahead to create the campus at a meeting of Harlow District Council’s Development Management Committee today (13 December 2017). Approval is for outline planning with more detailed applications to follow for elements including an arrivals area and car parking. It follows government approval of £400 million capital support for the scheme.

The campus will allow PHE to fully embrace the new technologies of whole genome sequencing, public health interventions and ‘big data’ and transform the delivery of public health science for many years to come.

It means that PHE will relocate from facilities at Porton in Wiltshire, Colindale in north London, as well as its central London headquarters to a single centre of excellence for public health research, health improvement and protection. PHE Harlow will support PHE’s teams that cover the whole country and its work around the world.

PHE Harlow will be built at a site previously owned by GlaxoSmithKline at their New Frontiers Science Park on the Pinnacles Industrial Estate in Harlow.

As well as providing a significant permanent economic and employment boost to the local economy, the campus will see thousands of construction-related jobs being created.

The next step in 2018 will be the preparation of the site for the construction. Building work is expected to start in 2019 with phased occupation starting in 2021.

Richard Gleave, PHE Deputy Chief Executive, said:

"This landmark decision is one of the most important not just for PHE but also for the nation’s health. It allows us to build on the incredible work we already do to deliver some of the best public health science in the world.

"PHE Harlow will be a world-leading national and international resource and this approval could not come at a better time. Every year we face new challenges both at home and abroad and the public should rest assured that this decision will see us even better prepared to tackle these head on.

"The site is within the ‘London Cambridge corridor’ – one of the leading life sciences research zones in Europe - and provides opportunities for PHE to collaborate with commercial, academic and public sector partners."

Steve Brine MP, Minister for Public Health, said:

"We’re now one step closer to achieving our vision of a campus that sets the world-standard for public health science. This is a significant step not only for PHE but for public health nationally and internationally."

Councillor Jon Clempner, Leader of Harlow Council, said:

"This decision signals a key moment in building Harlow’s tomorrow. PHE’s move is part of the regeneration of Harlow - making it a better place to live, work and visit. This development and investment in our town, and the investment which will follow, will play a major part in Harlow’s bright future.

"New jobs and opportunities for local people and local businesses will be created and Harlow will be placed on the world map. Together, we are committed to ensuring that local people and local businesses take the opportunities the public health science campus will bring to Harlow."

View the full application online.

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