Public Health England (PHE) is among many organisations at the forefront of the fight against COVID-19.

Michael Beard Public Health England

There is hardly anyone within the organisation either not working on or supporting the totally unprecedented operation to tackle the virus which has dominated media headlines for many weeks now.

At the tip of that effort are the hundreds of PHE scientists working with partners nationally and globally who are striving to contain and then eliminate the virus on a scale never seen before.

Running parallel to that incredible work, is the programme which will deliver PHE’s new world-leading public health science campus at the former GSK site at Harlow.

With state-of-the-art facilities and the very latest technology, the campus is being designed with outbreaks such as COVID-19 very much in mind.

The world is changing fast so it’s important that PHE Harlow, as the campus will be known, is designed not just for now but also for the future with the ability to adapt to whatever else might be on the horizon.

With full construction due to start early next year preparations are progressing despite the many challenges the programme faces.

Two of the main contractor partners are stripping the main buildings of fixtures, fittings and plant and preparing the ground. Both firms are observing key worker guidance and site operating procedures agreed with the Construction Leadership Council.

Progress is positive, but this work will take a bit longer due to the not-surprising reduction in productivity as a result of COVID-19

Away from site, PHE and Department of Health and Social Care planning for the move to Harlow continues. Although teams are operating remotely, so far this has not affected work or the overall timings. These show the most significant number of staff will move to Harlow in 2025.

This June, the PHE Harlow team, which has a new Programme Director in Martin John, will be engaging with the town’s local community via a series of online virtual exhibitions to present the latest proposals for the campus. We hope these will provide useful updates on what is being delivered, the benefits for Harlow and the timescales we’re working to. We’re also keen to take the communities feedback on what they see.

The virtual exhibitions will be held on Friday 5 and Saturday 6 June. Further details about how to access the virtual exhibition will be shared on GOV.UK and local media and community social media pages.