I was in Greece recently, as those who follow my tweets will know.

I thought some of you would find it interesting if I blogged about the reasons for being there.

You see, I am president of the ENTP, the “European New Towns Platform” and the General Assembly of the ENTP was held in the new town of Agios Stefanos from 26th to 28th May.

The ENTP is a pan European group of New towns, that was formed in 2001. Its key objectives are:

  • For New Towns to share experiences, as all new towns have similar themes, issues and problems it is worth talking to each other to avoid re inventing the wheel
  • To act as an automatic grouping to access EU funding; many people don’t know that to access the monies the EU gives out you need to be working in a network of other towns, the ENTP is a ready made network
  • To lobby the EU and National Governments to take note of the particular roles and difficulties suffered by new towns in policy making and spending reviews.

It represents 31 New Towns from 12 European countries and has about a dozen partner organisations who are interested in New Towns.

In 2008 when the Conservatives took control of Harlow Council, I took over from the Labour Leader Tony Durcan as a board member of the ENTP; Tony had been a board member for two years.

In December 2009 the Board of ENTP elected me as their President.

Since becoming President I have been keen for the ENTP to look beyond the borders of Europe and share the knowledge and experience of New Town development in other countries. We welcomed to the General Assembly this year a new “associate member” of the ENTP the town of Luodian in China. We also welcomed NUAC to talk to the Assembly, an organisation representing about 30 New Towns being developed in Egypt.

I have also been keen to strengthen the lobbying aspect of the ENTP to ensure that Harlow’s voice and the voice of new towns across Europe is heard by those making senior decisions.

So what does Harlow get out of this?

Well there is an office and staff in Brussels that we have access to who have a finger on the pulse of what’s going on in European funding streams and law making, we have a network of European partners to learn from and a greater opportunity to access EU funding. In the last 4 years our membership of ENTP has gained us access to £580,000 worth of EU monies (that’s Harlow tax payers cash coming back to the Harlow!)

Overall I think it is a very worthwhile organisation and one that I am proud to be President of.

I was re-elected President of the ENTP on 28th May to serve until at least the next General Assembly in 2011.

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