Posted: Thursday 24th January 2019
We must ensure that Hertfordshire’s growth works for everyone and that any new development is co-ordinated and properly thought through with the right infrastructure and especially for those elements where we have direct responsibility, such as schools and roads. We want Hertfordshire to be made up of economically, socially and environmentally sustainable communities, where people want to live and work and we have a critical role to play in the shaping of the county and setting out key principles for what good, sustainable growth looks like. We need the right mix of housing development to meet housing needs and we want to see developments that are designed to help people stay healthy and to make sustainable transport choices.
We recognise the need to be influencing the wider regional agenda; reflecting the importance to Hertfordshire of the key strategic radial transport corridors from London and the important east-west routes that serve the county and link us to neighbouring economic areas.
We currently estimate that we need up to £5bn of investment to deliver the infrastructure Hertfordshire needs and contributions from government, transport organisations, developers and businesses are integral to our plans. We are pleased that the government is considering our Housing Infrastructure Fund bids for over £200m to help us build the infrastructure needed to support new homes in Harlow and Gilston Garden Town, Brookfield and Baldock. We look forward to working with Homes England and our colleagues in district and borough councils to develop final business cases for the schemes and securing the funding so we can move these projects forward.
We expect to see an increase in traffic of up to 20% on Hertfordshire’s roads over the next 15 years. Currently driving remains the only realistic choice for a lot of journeys, but we need to get people out of their cars if we want to keep the county moving and our economy thriving. We’re looking at smarter options such as prioritising cycling and walking, and using new technologies; we will continue to invest in key road schemes to improve our road network. Our Local Transport Plan 2018 -2031 sets out a vision and strategy for developing transport in the county and provides the framework for transport's economic and social development.
This year has seen the launch of our new property company Herts Living Ltd, which will enable us to play our part in providing new homes for Hertfordshire. In April 2018 the council announced that Morgan Sindall Investments Ltd was the successful bidder from our procurement for a joint venture partner. Morgan Sindall set up a subsidiary, Community Solutions for Regeneration (Hertfordshire) Limited, which has entered into a 50:50 partnership with Herts Living Limited, creating the joint venture entity known as Chalkdene Developments. Chalkdene’s work will focus on an initial tranche of 12 sites, seeing around 500 properties built. We have set up the contract for 15 years, with the potential to extend for a further five. Our current pipeline includes around 40 sites, ranging from smaller sites of around 20 homes plus up to large urban extensions, with a total gross development value of up to £2bn. Although most of these are likely to be housing-led schemes, we are also exploring the potential to provide commercial space and address frontline service needs. These include supporting our adult social care services through specialist accommodation with different tenure types, including extra care, residential care and supported living. We structured the procurement and the subsequent contract to allow work with our partners across the Hertfordshire Property Partnership, the group of public services pursuing the government’s One Public Estate initiative in Hertfordshire. This lets Chalkdene work with or on behalf of other public sector authorities in the county, including the district and borough councils, and police and health organisations.
This is a really innovative and important project allowing us to generate new income streams and new opportunities to support the statutory services we deliver for residents such as creating more assisted living accommodation, responding to the needs of our growing, ageing population.
Hertfordshire’s 3,000 plus miles of roads are some of the busiest in the country. This year we will be spending nearly £40 million on our Highways ‘Integrated Works Programme’, delivering over 1,000 maintenance and improvement schemes across the county. As part of the programme we are investing an additional £5 million to improve the condition of our unclassified road network; the roads that most of us live on as well as rural lanes. The initial investment is part of a longer term £29 million programme targeted on those smaller, local roads. This work will begin in the autumn, and the details will be available to view on our website.