Hemel Hempstead, Hertfordshire– Members of Hemel Hempstead Business Ambassadors (HHBA) were treated to a variety of talks on Thursday evening, 21 September 2017, at their most recent meeting at Kings Langley School, including presentations from Gary Lewis, Head Teacher of the state-run academy; Mark Bretton, Chair of the Hertfordshire Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP); James Doe, Assistant Director of Planning, Development and Regeneration for Dacorum Borough Council (DBC) and Lesley Crisp, Interim Team Leader at DBC on the subject of the highly successful Dacorum’s Den initiative.

James Doe from DBC provided an in-depth report on Dacorum’s planning strategy including current housing projects, the Enviro-Tech Enterprise Zone in Hemel Hempstead – which will create opportunities for 800 businesses and 8000 new local jobs, and specifically with regards to the recently announced Prologis Park – work is due to start next month and will house the first business to start paying business rates into the enterprise fund to be used for future inward investment.

James Doe also announced that work is expected to commence in the coming months on the new Aviva retail park at Maylands with 16,000sqm of floor space at a cost of around £40m; the reconfiguration of the Marlowes Shopping Centre by Capital & Regional, with plans to incorporate a new cinema and restaurants in the town centre; and of particular interest, the Two Waters Regeneration project, commenting, “the triangle created by Hemel Hempstead station, Apsley station and the Plough roundabout requires a comprehensive development strategy to create the right environment in order to attract inward investment, including potential for 1300 new homes.”

The event marked the first anniversary of the Kings Langley School moving into their new building in September 2016. The building, which cost £18m was the blueprint for a group of seven schools designed and built to an optimum specification and to maximise economies of scale. The school is home to over 1100 pupils and is the national lead school for character development - promoting individualism and inner resilience to help prepare them for the world at large.  Gary Lewis is both passionate and proud of the fact that all of his pupils go into gainful employment or training when they leave.

Mark Bretton, Chair of Hertfordshire Local Enterprise Partnership, talked about the LEP’s role in accelerating business growth and its vision for its Enterprise Zone. To date the LEP has secured over £320m Government and EU funding to invest in key projects for the county. Mark Bretton also outlined the crucial role the LEP had played in the Science and Innovation Audit launched 21 September which mapped Hertfordshire’s key sector strengths in life sciences and agri-tech and outlined the role the Enterprise Zone will play in fully exploiting these opportunities.

All speakers reiterated the importance of forging links between education and enterprise along with the benefits of becoming a member of initiatives such as Hemel Hempstead Business Ambassadors that work to promote local economies. Gary Stringer, Place Manager, commented, “we saw an excellent turnout from our Ambassadors for what was undoubtedly an informative and highly entertaining evening. Our next event will take place at Tring Park School for Performing Arts on Thursday 16 November and we’d encourage all local businesses to come along to find out more about the Ambassadors and our objectives.”

For further information, visit www.investhemel.co.uk or contact Gary Stringer, Ambassador Place Manager, on tel: 01442 228808.