Bids in as Hertfordshire targets funding to boost housing aim

Published: 22 Mar 2019

Hertfordshire County Council has applied for government funding of more than £200m to drive forward its vision for new housing.

Schemes at Gilston, Baldock North and Brookfield were shortlisted early last year after being put forward by the county council as forward funding projects for the Housing Infrastructure Fund (HIF).

Launched by government in 2017, the HIF is a capital grant programme for new physical infrastructure which will transform areas where housing is in the greatest demand, and support new and existing communities.

It will also make more land available for new, additional homes which would otherwise not have been built, and will help Hertfordshire provide for a growing population.

The county council is working hard for residents on plans to put the right infrastructure in place and, in the case of Gilston, has applied for up to £171m of funding to deliver the sustainable travel infrastructure needed for the Harlow Gilston Garden Town (HGGT) project.

It is being developed as part of the government’s Garden Towns programme, which has a vision that 60% of all journeys within, and to and from the development will be by sustainable transport – and it is anticipated that this infrastructure will help to deliver up to 10,000 new homes in Gilston by 2040, with at least 3,000 in place by 2033.

The funding bid for Gilston includes proposals for:

  • A walking, cycling and public transport link from Eastwick junction to Harlow town centre via the railway station.
  • An additional road crossing over the River Stort, linking the A414 at Eastwick with a new roundabout north of the river then onwards to Edinburgh Way via River Way.
  • Improvements to junctions along the A1019, benefitting walking, cycling and public transport networks.

The existing transport infrastructure will not support potential growth. However, if the bid for funding is successful, it will provide the foundation for new housing, employment opportunities and economic growth at the Gilston Area development, with 20 hectares of employment floorspace planned at sites across the Garden Town.

Councillor Derrick Ashley, the county council’s Cabinet Member for Growth, Infrastructure, Planning and the Economy, said:

“This funding would be so important to the future of the Gilston Area development, and the scale of growth there will act as a catalyst for growth across the wider Garden Town. The infrastructure we are planning is economically and environmentally sustainable for the long term.

“It’s fantastic that the government shortlisted our bids for over £200m to help us build the infrastructure we’ll need to support new homes in Hertfordshire – that was a clear sign of confidence in our ability to produce the type and level of growth that the county needs to thrive further in the future.

“We’ve been working with Homes England, and our colleagues in district and borough councils, to develop final business cases for the schemes, and hopefully we can secure the funding to move these exciting projects forward.”