Growth strategy sees Herts as powerhouse

John Gourd, chairman of Hertfordshire Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP)
John Gourd, chairman of Hertfordshire Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP)

Businesses have been invited to have their say on the future of the Hertfordshire economy.

Hertfordshire Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) believes that by 2030 the county will be “the leading economy at the heart of the UK’s golden research triangle (Oxford-Cambridge-London).”

The private-sector led LEP, one of 39 across the country, believes that this vision will be achieved with a three-pronged approach.

Firstly LEP leaders want to nurture science-based enterprise and innovation. Secondly they want to harness the county’s relationship with London and then they want to “re-invigorate vibrant towns like Hemel Hempstead for the 21st century”.

Launching the LEP Growth Strategy consultation, John Gourd, who chairs the group, said it is vital to get the strategy right.

He said: “The global economy is changing and we have to prepare for the future or risk getting left behind. The LEP’s draft strategy sets out a pragmatic plan of action for tackling the challenges facing Hertfordshire, not only today and tomorrow but over the next 10 to 20 years.”

The consultation runs until Friday, July 12.

Once complete, the strategy will set out the county’s economic agenda for the next 20 years.

The strategy puts Hemel Hempstead and surrounding areas at its heart and mentions nearby Warner Bros home at Leavesden as a “world class asset”.

Hemel Hempstead is mentioned as a possible base for financial and business services, high-end logistics. And the strategy supports a M1-Maylands Link NE Relief Road, which has been identified as five priorities by the Hertfordshire shadow Local Transport Body.

The LEP says the “urban fabric is in urgent need of regeneration” in towns like Hemel Hempstead.

The strategy says: “with surplus commercial and retail space, some of the town centres are quite out of kilter with the character and potential of Hertfordshire more generally.

“Yet most have mainline railway stations and they ought to be regarded as a substantial opportunity.

“Their economic roles and functions need to be re-defined – and in the light of the growth of online retailing, the mix of town centre uses may need to be re-appraised.

You can take part in the survey online at www.keysurvey.co.uk/votingmodule/s180/f/520255/17ba/