Hertfordshire Growth Plans

By Michael Hardware, Director of Planning and Property

The Built Environment Network Group held a Hertfordshire Development Plans event in Stevenage in May. Speakers included Hertfordshire County Council, the University of Hertfordshire and Places for People. 

Patsy Dell, assistant director strategic planning, infrastructure and economy at Hertfordshire County Council, described the context and efforts of the Hertfordshire Growth Board focusing on doubling housing output in the four key corridors – M1, A1(M), A10/M11 and A414. Significant developments are planned in Gilston/Harlow Garden Town, Bishops Stortford, Stevenage, Hatfield, Hemel Hemptsead, St Albans and Watford. Key issues the county is facing include green belt preservation, an increasingly ageing population, falling housing funding and the increasing un-affordability of homes. 

She concluded by looking at the largest development: Harlow and Gilston Garden Town on the eastern extremities of the county. This will deliver 23,000 new homes over the next 30 years and is a partnership between five authorities: East Herts, Harlow and Epping Forest district councils, and Hertfordshire and Essex county councils. It includes a Housing Infrastructure Fund bid for £171million to pay for some crucial transport infrastructure to deliver development including two river crossings and two sustainable transport corridors. 

Paul Mumford, strategic project director for Places for Peopletalked exclusively about the 2,500-acre ‘necklace’ of villages planned in Gilston Park, part of the Harlow and Gilston Garden Town. Mentioned by Patsey Dell.   

The 10,000 new homes project includes £650million infrastructure investment and would capture £1.5billion of other private sector investment at the centre of the London, Stansted, Cambridge corridor, now called the ‘UK’s Innovation Corridor’. Gilston Park will be part of Harlow and will add critical mass to the town enabling other investment, such as town centre regeneration, as well as complementing planned investment with the Harlow Enterprise Zone and the new headquarters and associated development for Public Health England. 

The presentations concluded with Ian Grimes, director of estates at the University of Hertfordshire, providing an overview of its £400million redevelopment plans on its College Lane and de Havilland campus sites. The University has more than 24,500 students, employs 2,900 staff and has an annual turnover of £264million.