Almost a year since the Hertfordshire Infrastructure and Development Board (HIDB) was formed, it continues to build a new level of engagement which is set to heighten in the years to come.
That’s because, never before, has there been a dedicated channel of ongoing communication which exists purely to make sure there is a constant and effective link between the Hertfordshire Growth Board’s constituent local authorities and the development and construction sector.
It means the Growth Board, which established and runs the HIDB in partnership with MPC, now has a forum which supports productive collaboration and promotes beneficial partnership-working between the public and private sectors – that is and was always the main aim so the sustainable growth and high-quality placemaking needed for the county’s residents can be realised.
The HIDB has brought together the 11 Hertfordshire councils, the Hertfordshire Local Enterprise Partnership and the private sector to work on delivering the right infrastructure, sustainable construction and the 100,000-plus new homes needed in the county over the next 15 years.
That journey is already well underway, with some significant distance covered so far. More than 40 companies from the construction and development industry have joined to date, enabling a clear ongoing dialogue with the many public sector organisations that are fellow HIDB members. That dialogue includes workshop sessions and collaboration groups on specific issues and challenges facing both sectors.
Cllr Richard Roberts, Chair of Hertfordshire Growth Board and Leader of Hertfordshire County Council, said:
“It is wonderful that the Growth Board has led the way in making sure that Hertfordshire has effective and beneficial engagement with the development sector, and very encouraging that so many organisations from the private sector have become members of the HIDB during its first year.
“So much has been achieved already since it was formed, and the HIDB will continue to be a vital conduit with it enabling matters around growth and sustainable development to be taken forward.”
Meetings of the HIDB are held on a quarterly basis, with the very first – in November last year – seeing more than 60 representatives from over 40 public and private sector organisations under one roof. Chief executives, council leaders and executive members for planning from the local authorities in Hertfordshire were at the inaugural get-together.
Now, nearly 12 months later, HIDB members are of course continuing to have conversations which will ultimately benefit the county and its residents – in this new era, cross-sector collaboration is the default.
Next month the latest meeting will be held, when the focus will be regeneration, with the ways in which social, economic and environmental transformation in Hertfordshire is and can be achieved to be the main discussion point. Gagan Mohindra, MP for South West Hertfordshire, will be among the speakers.
Naturally, a wide variety of topics means a diverse range of voices are being heard, as figures with an industry, local authority or political background have the chance to use the HIDB platform to share best practice or talk about the landscape as they see it, sometimes as a keynote speaker.
And, while the HIDB facilitates a stage for many to have their say or get answers to important questions, its existence crucially provides that one platform to speak with one voice across both the public and private sectors in Hertfordshire.
Cllr Roberts said: “Hertfordshire is a very special place and, with our partners in the development and construction sector, we want to build for a world where less carbon is used and design quality is of the highest standards, particularly in energy efficiency.
“We must reduce our impact on the climate as we move towards achieving sustainability targets in 2030 and beyond, and I am delighted that our partners are on board with this agenda.”
What the last 12 months have shown is that the HIDB has filled the space for which there was a clear void and huge appetite, with the ongoing forum and opportunities to engage now absolutely part and parcel of the development and construction landscape in Hertfordshire. In fact, now the stage has been built and the spotlight shone, it is difficult to imagine the public and private sectors being without this avenue.
Organisations in the development and construction industry yet to join the HIDB can register their interest at HGB – Hertfordshire Infrastructure & Development Board (hertfordshiregrowthboard.com) or by emailing Emma Harris at firstname.lastname@example.org