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HGB Progress Report – April 2022 to December 2023

Published: 19 February 2024

Foreword from Chair and Vice Chairs

Chair of Hertfordshire Growth Board, Cllr Richard Roberts
Leader, Hertfordshire County Council

Hertfordshire is a special place because so many people work incredibly hard to make it so.

Our strength is in the range and depth of partnerships forged across local government, the wider public sector, business, and our communities. The Hertfordshire Growth Board shows what this joined up working and shared determination can achieve.

I am immensely proud of the work delivered since April 2022 and showcased in this report.

From building new homes to protecting green spaces and growing our economy while cutting carbon emissions, Hertfordshire is leading the way on sustainable place-making.

Unemployment is low and last year more houses were built in the county since 2001. We’re growing Hertfordshire’s economy by supporting businesses to thrive, developing improved transport links and setting higher standards for a new generation of high-quality, sustainable homes.

We’re also working with NHS partners, right across our towns and villages, to improve health and wellbeing and creating new plans to enhance Hertfordshire’s natural environment.

Hertfordshire is living up to its name as the county of opportunity. We are recognised as a great place to live, learn, invest and work.
We are maximising our strengths from thriving sectors in film, TV and life sciences which contribute to our economic potential, to our beautiful natural landscapes and access to green spaces.

However, we know we face challenges too. Issues such as inequalities in health, qualifications and skills, and affordability of housing as well as increasing demands and continued pressures on our infrastructure.

That’s why we are firm in our commitment to build on the strong foundations set since the Hertfordshire Growth Board was established in 2018.
We have listened to our partners and – most importantly our residents – to refresh our shared Vision and Missions to ensure we are best placed to meet

The opportunities and challenges Hertfordshire faces today and, in the years, ahead.
I am confident that together we will deliver a world-class local economy here in Hertfordshire. A place where our economy grows, our people prosper, and our environment is cherished.

Vice Chairs of the Hertfordshire Growth Board
Cllr Elizabeth Dennis
Leader, North Herts District Council

I am pleased that through the Hertfordshire Growth Board, working with key partners and the business community across Hertfordshire, we have delivered a number of schemes that will support sustainable growth for our communities. Through the launch of the Herts Development Quality Charter, we are ensuring that new homes built are of high quality and meet sustainability standards fit for the future. We are boosting the capacity of our planners across the county to ensure that they have the support needed to deliver quality design and placemaking for all our communities. Working with the Hertfordshire LEP, we are helping to grow and support key sectors including in film and creative and that our residents have access to the skills and qualifications they need to move into good jobs. This foundation of partnership and collaboration, together with our new Vision and Missions, will ensure that Hertfordshire’s Growth Board will continue to create benefits for everyone who lives, works, or visits the county.

Cllr Chris White
Leader, St Albans City and District Council

The Hertfordshire Growth Board is how Hertfordshire’s leadership is working in partnership to deliver good and sustainable growth for our communities, businesses and residents. Together, we aim to further strengthen the infrastructure, connectivity and support for businesses and residents to thrive in Hertfordshire. We are working toward meeting future challenges by setting quality standards for the build of new homes. We are working closely with the Hertfordshire LEP supporting the growth of our key sectors such as hospitality, and life sciences, and supporting our local businesses to re-invigorate our town centres. The continuation of this partnership approach, strengthened by our new Vision and Missions, will help deliver the growth that Hertfordshire needs while continuing to protect and promote what we enjoy best about our County.

Executive Summary

The Hertfordshire Growth Board (HGB) is the partnership between local government, Homes England, health, police, and business in the county brought together to lead good growth so that residents and businesses can succeed and thrive.

Since its inception, the HGB has established programmes aimed at promoting and delivering collaborative action to:

  • Support Hertfordshire’s town centres and local traders
  • Boost the screen and film industry through the Hertfordshire Film Office
  • Improve digital connectivity for residents and businesses
  • Improve the quality and standards for sustainable homes through the Hertfordshire’s Development Quality Charter
  • Identify opportunities for joint work on providing temporary accommodation for homeless people
  • Support and join up strategic planning
  • Improve capacity and resilience across planning teams in Hertfordshire


Hertfordshire has many strengths that make the county a great place to live, study, do business and work:

  • It has outstanding places of natural beauty, chalk streams, and green walkways. The county has a strong heritage, combining traditional villages and market towns with new towns and developments.
  • Hertfordshire has low crime rates and high employment. It has thriving industry across a number of key sectors, strong businesses with an entrepreneurial spirit supported by excellent academic and research institutions.
  • Its location, being close to both London and Cambridge along with good north south transport links makes it attractive to both residents and businesses.
  • The county also benefits from a strong partnership between local government, business, health, education and police.

Despite these strengths, there are challenges in meeting the growth needs of the county:

  • The county’s population is predicted to grow at a faster rate than the national average with an estimated increase of 21,614 between 2021 and 2031 (ONS population 2018 mid-year population estimates). The population will also get older which will challenge our economic potential and place increased demands on healthcare provision.
  • The county has pockets of deprivation and there are disparities across the county in terms of health inequalities, low skills, digital exclusion, and affordability of housing.
  • Inflation, economic instability following Brexit and Covid-19, employment land availability and grow on space are potential threats to business and jobs growth.
  • Transport links need to be improved to provide greater choice and to connect residents to job opportunities, health, and education settings.
  • Like the rest of the world, the county is suffering the effects of climate change, with transport being the greatest contributor to emissions, followed by the built environment.

In recognition of the growth and infrastructure needs of the county, leaders from the local authorities across Hertfordshire, together with our Health partners and the Police have agreed to work in partnership to develop a joint approach to ensuring that Hertfordshire addresses growth sustainably and for the benefit of its residents, communities, and businesses.

Established in 2018, Hertfordshire’s Growth Board is made up of the County Council and the 10 district and borough councils, along with representation from co-opted members including the Chair of the Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP), Chair of the NHS Integrated Care Board (ICB), Homes England and the elected Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC).

The vision established for Hertfordshire’s Growth Board is for “Happy, healthy, diverse communities who feel they belong and get more out of life. A place that grows without compromising the character that makes it special. An economy and infrastructure that puts Hertfordshire people first.”

Since its inception and to date, the focus of the Board has been on the following key areas

Strategic Planning: Ensuring that Hertfordshire’s challenges are understood at a national level, our profile is promoted and that we secure Government support for our plans. In addition, overcoming any challenges of existing arrangements in delivering homes, infrastructure, and employment.

Homes: Focusing on the need to develop and provide high quality affordable and social housing for inclusive communities using sustainable methods and excellent design principles.
Infrastructure: Ensuring that all new developments have considered and developed infrastructure prior to building, reducing the carbon footprint and increasing sustainable travel.

Economy: Recognising the need to further unlock the potential of our key sectors, stimulate new sectors, and create high-quality local jobs.

Strategic Planning

One of the key priorities for Hertfordshire’s Growth Board has been to develop and agree joint visions and plans which set out how good growth in Hertfordshire will be delivered sustainably and to the benefit of residents, while raising the profile of Hertfordshire and gaining support from central government for our proposals. Progress towards this aim includes:

  • Investigating the option of developing 2 strategic plans (one for South West and the other for North, East and Central Hertfordshire) which would set out the vision, needs and strategic development locations for each area.
  • The work of Hertfordshire Infrastructure and Planning Partnership including influencing both national policies and local strategies.
  • Planning Resilience work to build capacity and expertise to meet the challenge of growth in Joint Strategic Plans.

Joint Strategic Plans

The purpose of Hertfordshire Growth Board is captured in our Memorandum of Understanding, which contains a commitment to “Set out the shared vision for place and growth in Hertfordshire and the strategic priorities that will guide how the Partners collectively respond to demographic, economic and social challenges and work together for the continued success of a thriving Hertfordshire”.

Partners are therefore assessing the option of developing two Local Strategic Plans for Hertfordshire which would identify a joint vision, long-term development needs, strategic development locations (possibly including new settlements), and strategic transport infrastructure, green infrastructure and climate change issues and policy responses.

South West Hertfordshire Joint Strategic Plan (JSP)

The South West Hertfordshire authorities (Dacorum Borough Council, St. Albans City and District, Watford Borough Council, Hertsmere Borough Council and Three Rivers District Council, with the support of Hertfordshire County Council) have agreed to work together to produce the South West Hertfordshire Joint Strategic Plan. This will provide an integrated strategic planning framework and supporting evidence base to support sustainable growth in the area to 2050.

The South West JSP will be a statutory planning document and will identify the overall quantum of housing and economic growth within South West Hertfordshire to be planned to 2050. The plan will identify broad strategic allocations and priorities, as well as the strategic infrastructure necessary to deliver the spatial strategy.

The JSP will focus on climate resilience, infrastructure delivery, strategic housing and employment and will help create a framework for investor confidence in South West Herts.

In autumn 2022, the South West Herts boroughs launched a public consultation on their draft Vision ‘Realising our Potential’.

Over 3000 local groups/individuals were contacted directly and over 45,000 people saw the media adverts relating to the ‘Realising our Potential’ engagement in autumn 2022. This resulted in over 3,400 responses via letter, email, poll and online survey. A summary of what was said and how the JSP has responded can be found in the Consultation Report on the JSP website.

The long term vision for the South West Hertfordshire area was published in December 2023.

In terms of next steps for the programme, these are expected to be as follows:

North, East and Central Hertfordshire Joint Strategic Plan (NEC Hertfordshire)

The NEC Hertfordshire authorities, together with Hertfordshire County Council, have jointly commissioned a cross-boundary growth study for the NEC Hertfordshire area covering Broxbourne, East Hertfordshire, North Hertfordshire, Stevenage and Welwyn Hatfield. The key aim of the commission is to support NEC Hertfordshire authorities in developing a series of place-based sustainable growth options that will form a critical piece of the evidence base to support a potential Joint Strategic Plan (JSP) for the period up to 2050.

These will be informed by growth scenario assessments of housing and economic demand and supply. The study will involve a cross-boundary collaborative approach focussed on addressing local and regional challenges to deliver growth in the right places.

NEC partners have already undertaken some visioning work about the future of North East and Central Hertfordshire which is due to be published in early 2024 and be used as a basis for further work.

Hertfordshire Infrastructure and Planning Partnership (HIPP)

The HIPP provides a forum to discuss and develop shared views, develop joint programmes, and work together to overcome issues in infrastructure or planning. It is made up of representatives from all eleven local authorities in Hertfordshire.

Key areas of work achieved include:

  • Working together to develop joint Hertfordshire wide responses on central government consultations on the National Planning Policy Framework, Planning Fees, and Plan Making.
  • Advising on the county-wide Green Infrastructure Strategy as well as supporting the work on Biodiversity Net Gain and Local Nature Recovery.
  • Assisting in the development and promotion of the Hertfordshire Development Quality Charter, which was launched at Hertfordshire Development Board in September 2023 and already adopted by a number of developers and local authorities.

Planning Resilience

The Planning Resilience working group that reports directly into HIPP, is a partnership between Hertfordshire’s local authorities to meet the planning and growth needs of the county. Set up in recognition of the difficulties in recruiting and retaining planners within Hertfordshire, the working group for this project consists of local government, further education, and private sector officers. An action plan was agreed in 2022 which focuses on joint working, recruitment and retention, career promotion and progression.

Key areas of the group’s work include:

Evaluating the feasibility of a shared validation service.
The results of this have been shared with Heads of Planning for further review and discussion in early 2024. Notable progress has been made to improve efficiency and reduce the number of invalid planning applications. Attention will now turn to the potential for shared IT systems and the use of AI tools to validate planning applications.

Developing and implementing training and development support for planners across the county.

  • Two Planning Symposiums have been held focussed on the importance of master planning and the challenges facing planning.
  • Both events had more than 120 attendees from the public and private sectors and have helped to boost the capacity and development of planners in meeting our growth demands.

A mentoring scheme was launched at the first Planning Symposium in November 2022. To date 14 pairs of mentors / mentees have been matched. This has provided opportunities for networking, sharing of experiences and support toward furthering their careers. The scheme continues to be open, with in-person events to be held for all mentors/ mentees in 2024.

Developing a Career Progression Scheme to allow planners and specialists to move between authorities and gain development in their careers within Hertfordshire on a range of projects and proposals.

Working with further education providers to deliver courses in planning and to create apprenticeship schemes. The first pilot for this is expected to commence in September 2024.

So far, a mentoring scheme implemented by the Planning Resilience Working Group has matched 14 pairs of mentors /mentees. By learning new skills and gaining vital experience these planners will be far better placed to meet the current demands placed on our planning services

Homes: Delivering the Housing Hertfordshire Needs

With Hertfordshire’s population predicted to rise significantly by 2031, one of the key areas of focus for the Board has been developing the housing that Hertfordshire needs. This includes designing and planning more social and affordable homes in addition to recognising and resolving issues with homelessness, stimulating the economy through building while using sustainable design and construction techniques, in line with our Development Quality Charter and our Off Site Manufacturing guide.

Progress towards this aim includes:

  • Bidding for £3.4m in central government funding to provide accommodation for young adults with complex needs.
  • Launch of the Hertfordshire Development Quality Charter in September 2023 with the ambition of setting a new benchmark for high quality and sustainable investment.
  • Encouraging new methods of construction to minimise waste and build better insulated homes.

Temporary Accommodation

The demand for Temporary Accommodation in Hertfordshire has doubled over the last ten years, and the enduring impact of Covid-19, the cost-of-living crisis and the impact of increasing numbers of refugees and asylum seekers has added significant new demand. Key areas of work have included:

  • Supporting local decision-making processes by Housing Teams in responding to the demand from homeless people in need of temporary accommodation, through the roll out of a Forecasting, Monitoring and Control Toolset, along with an improved county-wide data collation process to understand total demand for temporary accommodation across the county. These were implemented in January 2023. The toolset has helped partners to understand where temporary accommodation is and will be required and provides examples and assistance of how temporary accommodation needs can be met.
  • The Board has collaborated with Hertfordshire County Council Childrens Services and North Hertfordshire District Council in partnership with OneYMCA to submit a bid for £3.4m to the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (DLUHC) for the Single Homelessness Accommodation Programme (SHAP). The bid was submitted on time, and we await the results. This was a complex partnership arrangement which all partners worked together to successfully achieve. The proposed scheme is subject to both the bid outcome and planning process. If the bid is approved and planning permission granted, the scheme will provide a 23 bed accommodation space for 18-25 years old with complex needs not currently catered for. The project is to be delivered by March 2025.

Hertfordshire Infrastructure and Development Board (HIDB)

The HIDB brings together Hertfordshire’s district, borough and county councils, the Hertfordshire Local Enterprise Partnership and organisations from the construction and development sector. The board has been established to strengthen partnership between the private and public sector to remove barriers to growth and bring about sustainable and deliverable development including the homes, employment, and infrastructure to meet Hertfordshire’s needs.

More information is available on the HIDB webpages.

All 11 Hertfordshire Councils and over 60 organisations involved in construction and development are bought together under the HIDB

During 2022-2023 we:

  • Increased our private sector membership to over 60 organisations.
“the council remains determined to work with developers to build homes as close to net zero as possible, whilst striving to achieve a 50% modal shift away from car usage”
Cllr Ben Crystall, Leader of East Herts District Council.
“there is a vibrant spirit of collaboration and problem solving across the county – with a joined up ambition to see the bigger picture so we can build homes to the best possible quality”
Cllr Stephen Boulton, Executive Member for Sustainable Economic Growth at Hertfordshire County Council
  • Held four HIDB meetings, at which we focussed on sustainability, cost-of-living, regeneration and growth.
  • Launched the Hertfordshire Development Quality Charter in September 2023 with the ambition of setting a new benchmark for high quality and sustainable investment. Tarmac was announced as the first business to sign up to the Charter.
By signing the Hertfordshire Development Quality Charter, which sets out a new standard for high quality and sustainable development in the county, we’re proud to demonstrate our commitment to the local area. We’d encourage both private and public sector bodies which share this vision for the future of the county to get behind the charter.”
Michael Holloway, Development Manager at Tarmac

Offsite Manufacturing/ Modern Methods of Construction

National Planning Policy states that 25% of housing completions should use Modern Methods of Construction. For Hertfordshire this could represent up to 25,000 new homes of our overall target of 100,000 new homes by 2031. To help promote Offsite Manufacturing/Modern Methods of Construction, the Growth Board appointed a working group which developed, published, and promoted guidance for planners and developers working in Hertfordshire. Details of the guide can be found here: Hertfordshire Offsite Manufacturing: Housing Guide

Offsite Manufacturing/ Modern Methods of Construction minimises construction waste (around 3% versus traditional methods of 50%) and brings forward completions significantly faster than that of traditional methods, and results in better insulated homes


The Growth Board recognise the need to access sufficient forward funding to put ‘infrastructure in first’ ahead of development delivery. This will ensure Hertfordshire has a high-quality digital infrastructure, reduces our carbon footprint, and plans for active and sustainable travel.

Progress against this aim has seen:

  • The development of a Hertfordshire Digital Connectivity and Inclusion Strategy which will result in 13,000 residents and businesses having high speed broadband connections installed.
  • Developed plans to meet digital skills gaps in Creative Industries, Life Sciences and Advanced Manufacturing, working with further education providers, the Department for Work and Pensions and employers.
  • Reviewing options on how to improve transport, including for a Hertfordshire and Essex Rapid Transport scheme.

Towards Digital Growth

Towards Digital Growth is our approach for attracting commercial and public funding to deliver a high-quality digital infrastructure across Hertfordshire.

‘Project Gigabit’ is a government project with the target of making gigabit-broadband (the fastest broadband currently available in the UK) will be available nationwide by 2030. To support this target:

  • A Hertfordshire Digital Connectivity and Inclusion Strategy will be published in 2024. Aligned with the Government’s target, it will describe the steps being taken to deliver high quality digital infrastructure for Hertfordshire.
  • An estimated 13,000 residents and businesses in Hertfordshire are being targeted for having gigabit connections installed in their properties by 2026. One contract, awarded by Building Digital UK (BDUK), for approximately 2,000 connections in the northeast of the county has already been awarded to CityFibre and other contracts are being bid for.
  • The programme will also bid for external funding which will help install the telecoms infrastructure needed for high-speed broadband in non-commercial and harder to reach areas across the county.
  • We have held events with broadband providers to demonstrate our plans and targets and to encourage commercial expansion in Hertfordshire.
  • Work is also underway to increase broadband and mobile coverage in the county through the Local Planning process and providing guidance on new developments. A myth busting guide on 5G will be made available early in 2024 to encourage more successful applications.
  • We are exploring innovative options such as allowing mobile operators to use lighting columns in the county to improve mobile coverage and capacity.
  • Working in partnership with the Department for Education we aim to deliver gigabit lines to between 40-80 Herts schools over the next few years.
  • We were successfully awarded a £400k grant from central Government’s BDUK Grant which provided vouchers that assisted people experiencing slow broadband speeds to pay for gigabit installation). Although currently paused, we are working with BDUK to open the scheme in areas not currently set to benefit from Project Gigabit. Timings for this are to be confirmed.
  • Several Digital Inclusion priority actions have been identified in the short-term to assist residents and businesses in accessing information and support, as well as promotion of schemes like Social Broadband Tariffs.

Building a Digital Sector and Skills

Hertfordshire Local Enterprise Partnership has identified a skills gap in high-end digital skills in key sectors such as creative, life sciences and advanced manufacturing and is working with education providers and the Department for Work and Pensions to meet this demand. Schools are also being engaged with to develop pathways into accessing and boosting digital skills.

Hertfordshire and Essex Rapid Transit (HERT)

The plans to create additional homes and jobs in Hertfordshire will place greater demand on our already congested road and rail network. Consideration is therefore being given to the HERT proposal: a new, sustainable passenger transport network which could provide an accessible, reliable, and affordable transport between Essex and Hertfordshire. Options are being considered and public engagement (HERT engagement) has been undertaken to ascertain resident support prior to further work being undertaken on the proposal. Next steps include producing a prospectus to outline the plan and exploring funding opportunities.

Headline findings from public engagement:

  • 75% of respondents supported or strongly supported the HERT vision
  • Reliable journey times was the biggest priority for respondents, with 73% selecting this option. Service frequency was deemed to be the second most important feature, with 71% of respondents selecting this.
  • 68% of respondents to the survey suggested that they would be likely to use the HERT


Hertfordshire has a strong and thriving economy, generating over £46bn per annum, with over 70,000 businesses. We have thriving sectors in film and screen, life sciences, manufacturing as well as professional services.

We benefit from highly skilled residents and high levels of employment. Our proximity and strong transport links to London and Cambridge, makes Hertfordshire an attractive place to locate for businesses and residents.

The Growth Board recognises the further potential to unlock growth and investment in the county’s key sectors, while stimulating new sectors and creating quality local jobs that residents can access and benefit from.

Progress towards this aim includes:

  • Working with District and Borough Councils to strengthen and reinvigorate town centres.
  • Work to grow the cell and gene therapy industry in Stevenage and other locations across Hertfordshire.
  • Co-ordinating a joint approach to how Hertfordshire develops its offer to creative and screen industries including the creation of the Hertfordshire Film Office.

Reinvigorating Town Centres

Local town centres and high streets play a significant role in the vitality and local economies of our places. To help strengthen our town centres, the Growth Board established a project to support collaboration and to test solutions for our local centres helping them to be dynamic and innovative.

Work in this area has included:

  • The creation of a 10 point checklist to support the re-opening of town centres safely following downgrading of Covid-19 restrictions. In 2023, the Institute for Public Management (IPM) undertook a survey which helped to identify 5 top priority factors to enact specific interventions in each centre. The factors were activity, vision and strategy, appearance, experience, and the actual retail offer.
  • Working with Save The High, £5,000 of seed funding was awarded to each district/ borough, endorsed by the Growth Board in January 2023.
  • Using the findings from the IPM report, Save the High worked with districts to identify innovative solution to support town centre vacant units, support for high street businesses and support for local champions in the form of trader associations.
  • Dacorum, Welwyn Hatfield, Hertsmere, Watford and St Albans have focussed on undertaking health checks for local businesses. These checks will allow businesses to see what they are excelling at and where they can make tangible improvements to their businesses, driving footfall and ultimately profits to their businesses.
  • North Herts, East Herts and Broxbourne are focussing on local champions and setting up Traders Associations in Baldock, Ware and Waltham Cross. By bringing businesses together they can shape and grow their high streets.
  • Stevenage will be running a marketing campaign for their indoor market to drive footfall and drive down the number of vacant units.
    The impact of these projects will be reported in 2025.

Growing Science & Tech (Cell & Gene focus)

To support the growth of the cell and gene therapy sector in Stevenage, and to support the longer-term growth of other high-tech organisations in space and defence, communications, digital and advanced manufacturing a multi-agency working group was established to develop a high level 2040 vision for Gunnels Wood Road.

Key progress has included:

  • The completion of design work for Gunnels Wood Road roundabout scheme in December 2023, to help enable the development of the land adjacent to GSK, into a leading life science campus.
  • Proactive engagement with GSK and a preferred developer to help shape the Life Sciences campus in Stevenage, with planning permission granted in August 2023 for the £900m investment and creation of up to 5,000 new jobs.
  • The formation of a wider strategy and action/delivery plan based on the outcomes of a Gunnels Wood report which will be published in quarter 1 of 2024.

The vision is for Hertfordshire to be the premier destination of choice for cell and gene therapy, drawing enterprises to Hertfordshire, growing our economy, enabling a global cluster to expand generating skilled employment opportunities. While the heart of this vision is rooted in Stevenage, its applicability and benefits span wider across the county in boosting investment and creating quality jobs for residents.

Creative & Screen Industries

The creative and screen industry is one of the fastest growing sectors in the UK, with just over half of the new studio space being planned and delivered in London and the south-east coming to Hertfordshire. If all the studio floorspace planned for the county is delivered, Hertfordshire could exceed Hollywood in area of sound stages.

A working group has been established to pull together the work of all district and borough councils across Hertfordshire to strengthen and support the creative and screen industries in the county.

Work in this area has included:

  • The Greenlit Herts report providing a baseline overview of the current status of Film and High End TV production in the county. This report is helping to shape further strategy and engagement between districts, boroughs, county and the private sector.
  • Establishing the Creative and Screen Industry Panel in May 2022. This provides industry insight to the sector’s needs and comprises the major studios (Warner Bros. Leavesden, Sky Studios Elstree, Elstree Studios, BBC StudioWorks and Sunset Studios), small and medium enterprises and industry bodies such as BAFTA Albert.
  • The Creative and Screen Industry sector strategy and action plan was established in September 2022. This was created for the industry panel and identified the six key areas of focus for the sector’s growth in Hertfordshire.

Creation of the Hertfordshire Film Office in March 2023, which to date has:

  • Received over 170 enquiries from production companies
  • Provided face to face support to over 100 businesses
  • Started the development of a charging plan and process for filming on highways
  • Created a location database searchable by location scouts and production companies. Districts and borough councils, along with residents and local businesses can add details of assets, such as property and land to the database
  • Focus event in London showcasing the Film Office where many connections made with productions and industry representatives
  • Work is underway to develop the Hertfordshire Film Office website, which is due to launch in January 2024
The Hertfordshire Film Office provides a one-stop-shop service for film and TV-related activities across the county. Over the next 18-36 months all film and TV-related enquiries will come through the Film Office

Working in Partnership

The Growth Board has worked closely with a range of local partnerships across the county focused on areas of growth. Two of these key partnerships include the Herts Property Partnership and Hertfordshire Climate and Sustainability Partnership.

Hertfordshire Property Partnership (HPP)

HPP is a partnership made up of District/Borough councils, Police, local Health organisations and County Council with the intention of identifying and delivering development opportunities across the county. This includes major growth schemes, town centre regeneration and ensuring we are making the most out of public owned assets to deliver the homes, jobs, services and living environment expected by our communities.

Since 2017, HPP has attracted over £3.5 million of central government funding for developments in Hertfordshire.

Hertfordshire Climate Change and Sustainability Partnership (HCCSP)

Since 2019 Hertfordshire County Council and nine of the District and Borough Councils have declared a climate emergency. In recognition of these declarations and the level of growth needed across the county, the HCCSP was established as a strategic group to the be the lead partnership organisation in the county for collaboration and to identify joint work programmes on environmental, climate change and wider sustainability issues.

Through Solar Together, 10,200 solar panels have been installed at more than 1,100 properties (including 1,500 with batteries and dynamic electric vehicle chargers included). This equates to £12.6m local investment by homeowners and 18,907 tonnes of carbon reduction over 25 years

HCCSP engages with Hertfordshire community groups, the voluntary sector, residents, and businesses to stimulate behaviour change around climate change and achieve shared carbon reduction goals across the county.

HCCSP has led on projects and events including launching a HEAT App which has helped to provide users with average savings of £198 and to date has been downloaded over 500 times. HCCSP has also led the coordination of schemes such as Solar Together which helps residents buy solar panels as a group to reduce costs.

To further understand work plans for the future, visit: Hertfordshire Climate Change & Sustainability Partnership.

Strategic Growth Projects in Hertfordshire

There are a number of large-scale developments planned and underway across Hertfordshire, drawing in significant local/ central government and private sector investment, to deliver thousands of quality homes, supporting sustainable places, boosting businesses and quality jobs for residents. Below are some examples of the growth projects being implemented across Hertfordshire.

Harlow and Gilston Garden Town

Harlow and Gilston was designated as a Garden Town by the Government in January 2017 and will comprise new and existing communities in and around Harlow.

Harlow and Gilston Garden Town is a significant growth and regeneration project and has involved partnership working between East Hertfordshire, Epping Forest and Harlow District Councils working together with Hertfordshire and Essex County Councils. The Garden Town itself encompasses Harlow, together with new strategic development sites to the north, east, south and west of Harlow, including seven new villages to the north of Harlow.

The Garden Town will bring a range of benefits for all existing as well as new residents, including:

  • New fast, frequent, high quality bus services
  • Town Centre enhancement and regeneration
  • New jobs
  • New schools
  • New homes
  • New and improved cycling routes
  • New opportunities

Housing infrastructure investment of £172million has been awarded by the government for the delivery of a sustainable travel infrastructure for the Harlow & Gilston Garden Town project. In Gilston, the infrastructure that this investment will help to make possible will lead to 10,000 new homes by 2040, with at least 3,000 in place by 2033, while 20 hectares of employment floorspace are planned at sites across the Garden Town.

More information is available at: Harlow & Gilston Garden Town

Hemel Garden Communities 

Hemel Garden Communities is an ambitious development programme that will transform Hemel Hempstead and create attractive and sustainable new neighbourhoods and communities to the north and east of Hemel Hempstead, through the delivery of more than 11,000 new homes and 10,000 new jobs by 2050.

More information is available at: Hemel Garden Communities

Watford Junction Quarter 

This project will see Watford Junction station and surrounding lands transformed by Watford Borough Council in partnership with Halkin, Network Rail, London North Western Railways and Hertfordshire County Council. This will create an exciting and vibrant quarter around the station, with plans including a new station, new shopping facilities, new bus stops, better walking routes and a brand new connecting bridge. In addition, there would be a second entrance to the station and a new ticket hall to banish long queues at the ticket barriers, and a new multi-storey car park for station users. In preparation of the work, Watford Junction rail lands has been adopted as a Strategic Development Area in the new Local Plan.

Re-setting the South-East Herts Economy

The Broxbourne Local Plan was adopted in June 2020, identifying five key projects amounting to approximately £1 billion of investment that will have a huge impact on regeneration and positive impact on the local economy.

  1. Park Plaza West: The creation of a world class film, TV and animation studio on a 91 acre site in Waltham Cross. New film studios and employment hub with the aim of creating 5,000 jobs.
  2. Brookfield: The creation of a new town centre and Garden Village Suburb looking to create 2,000 new jobs and bring inward investment into the borough of up to £1 billion. A new station at Turnford is being promoted as supporting infrastructure. It is anticipated infrastructure works will commence in late 2024.
  3. Park Lane Railway Station: Creation of a new train station to serve Waltham Cross and Park Plaza, supporting c. 10,000 new jobs at sites within easy walking distance of the station and connecting business areas with the town centre and housing, enhancing the overall transport connections in the county. A Strategic Outline Business Case has been shared with Network Rail. This is expected to progress in 2025.
  4. Theobalds Business Park: The creation of a new Business Park to include a hyper-scale data centre, warehousing and a new Theobalds Enterprise Centre (TEC), creating up to 1,500 new jobs. The TEC has been completed and work on the data centre is expected to start in late 2023.
  5. Waltham Cross Renaissance: The revitalisation of the town centre to provide a range of new amenities including a skills hub, new public realm, leisure facilities to support health and wellbeing. This includes plans to provide up to 750 additional homes within the town centre. Work has already commenced on the Levelling up funded elements which are due to complete in 2026.

Next Steps

Building on the work to date, the Hertfordshire Growth Board is setting a new Vision and Missions for how Hertfordshire’s leadership across local government, health, business, and policing will work together around shared county-wide goals to deliver sustainable and good growth for residents, communities and businesses for years to come.

The vision will guide and steer the focus of HGB over the coming years. It will respond to county-wide growth challenges that matter to Hertfordshire residents, whilst recognising the need to evolve and be agile to changing political, environmental, societal and economic contexts and demands.

It will seek to better join up growth related policy, interventions, and services across Hertfordshire; identify opportunities that will unlock and boost investment; and secure government deals into the county for the benefit of its residents and businesses.

It will complement existing local and strategic plans, promote the emerging joint strategic plans, as well as the LEP’s economic and inward investment strategies and the Integrated Care Strategy to achieve an overarching common purpose on growth for the county.

Hertfordshire continues to be a county of prosperity and opportunity, with one of the strongest economies in the country.To ensure we maintain and build on our strengths, the county must work together to respond to key challenges in meeting our growing infrastructure needs as well as responding to environmental, societal, and economic impacts.

Our vision is that the Hertfordshire Growth Board will work together to ensure we have:

  • Healthy, inclusive, safe and better-connected communities who thrive, and enjoy Hertfordshire’s quality of life.
  • A place that grows responsibly, and celebrates its diversity, heritage, rural and green landscapes that makes Hertfordshire special.
  • A vibrant and resilient economy that seizes the right opportunities, enabling Hertfordshire’s residents and businesses to succeed.

To achieve this vision, the Growth Board has identified six missions:

  • Enhance Hertfordshire’s reputation as a world-class economy by improving skills and job opportunities for residents, growing our key sectors, and accelerating business investment into the county.
  • Every Hertfordshire resident and business has access to best-in-class connectivity, essential digital skills, and the device or support that they need to be online by 2030.
  • Deliver a safe and integrated transport system which unlocks growth and enables communities and businesses to thrive.
  • Deliver the right homes, including increasing the provision of social/affordable and specialist homes, in the right locations and with associated infrastructure, to support the county’s socio-economic prosperity.
  • By 2040, Hertfordshire’s residents and communities will benefit from neighbourhoods that are designed and regenerated with physical health, mental wellbeing, safety and social connectedness at the heart.
  • By 2050, Hertfordshire will be a prosperous, low carbon economy with a thriving natural environment, having maximised the benefits of sustainable growth for our residents and businesses, and achieved net zero Green House Gas emissions.

This Vision and Missions have been formed after a period of public engagement. Throughout the last six months of 2023, Hertfordshire residents and businesses were contacted through social media, local printed and online media, pop up market stall events in places such as town centres and specific engagement events in order to understand views and thoughts on the priorities for the Hertfordshire Growth Board. Over 4,000 survey entries were received with overwhelming public support for each of the six Missions identified. The final Vision and Missions will be published on the Hertfordshire Growth Board’s website in early 2024. Through the refreshed Vision and Missions, HGB will work towards maintaining Hertfordshire’s position as a world-class economy, delivering healthy, inclusive, safe and connected communities who have access to skills, good jobs, and sustainable quality places to live.


BAFTA British Academy of Film and Television Arts
BDUK Building Digital UK
DLUHC Department for Levelling Up, Homes and Communities
GSK  Glaxo Smith Kline 
HCCSP  Hertfordshire Climate Change and Sustainability Partnership 
HEAT  Herts Energy Advice Tool 
HERT Hertfordshire Essex Rapid Transit
HGB Hertfordshire Growth Board
HGGT Harlow and Gilston Garden Town
HIDB Hertfordshire Infrastructure and Development Board
HIPP Hertfordshire Infrastructure and Planning Partnership
HPP Hertfordshire Property Partnership
ICB Integrated Care Board
IPM Institute for Public Management
JSP Join Strategic Plan
LEP  Local Enterprise Partnership 
NEC JSP  North, East and Central, Joint Strategic Plan 
ONS Office for National Statistics
PCC Police and Crime Commissioner
SHAP Single Homelessness Accommodation Programme
SW JSP  South West, Joint Strategic Plan 
TEC Theobalds Enterprise Centre