Hertfordshire leads the way in managing growth

Published: 03 Mar 2020


A lot has happened in Hertfordshire since the idea of a working group with a common will to help shape the county’s future for our residents, now and to come, was mooted 24 months ago.

The Hertfordshire Growth Board, made up of the County Council, the 10 district and borough councils and the Hertfordshire Local Enterprise Partnership, was conceived in 2018. Each Growth Board member has an equal place at the table, with the same opportunity to contribute. This week, representatives of the Growth Board were together to mark an important development. All 12 bodies have now approved an official working agreement - a Memorandum of Understanding.

Its effects will be wide-reaching and profound as it signals a collaborative working agreement in a two-tier local government system which will significantly help to make the county an even better place for our residents to live, work and learn now but also for generations well into the future. Though talking to and developing partnerships with private as well as pubic-sector organisations is vital, those leading the way for Hertfordshire certainly want to make sure their actions speak louder than any words.

Indeed, when the County Council ran focus groups with residents in May last year, the overriding consensus was that people would like fewer pledges and more action. The emergence of the Growth Board demonstrates a fundamental step has been taken.

Preparing for growth is a prerequisite for Hertfordshire – it cannot be ignored. The Growth Board is committed to taking responsibility for ensuring the expected growth is managed, accommodated and utilised in a way to make Hertfordshire a thriving, even more prosperous location for those future generations. That means, effectively, our Growth Board members are taking the roles of visionary custodians.

“Growth is never by mere chance; it is the result of forces working together” was once said by a notable American entrepreneur, and that sums up the working ethos in Hertfordshire, where collaboration is now the default as the members together look to make sure everything is being done to set the county up to thrive as part of a sustainable world, providing impetus and endurance, while also using its position in the so-called ‘Golden Triangle’ and proximity to London to its residents’ and businesses’ advantage. Ultimately, we all want to show that our residents are an important part of the “forces working together”.

David Williams, Chairman of Hertfordshire Growth Board as well as Leader of Hertfordshire County Council and Chairman of the County Councils Network, said:

“A report commissioned by the County Councils Network on the role of county and county unitary authorities in place-based growth will highlight the benefits of growth boards knitting together industrial strategies with the delivery of infrastructure and new homes to ensure good growth.

While acknowledging there is much work to be done, we are proud that Hertfordshire is demonstrating the benefits of this approach.”