Hemel Hempstead achieves a wonderful contrast of a new, growing, evolving urban centre and residential town with magnificent countryside and rural attractions that are completely unspoilt.
Hemel Hempstead, Hertfordshire– As the town continues to celebrate its 70th Anniversary, it’s very clear to see that Hemel Hempstead is making the most of its ‘New Town’ aspirations as evolutionary development plans continue, with a bold and revived unity between The Marlowes, Riverside and the Jellicoe Water Gardens.
Celebrating 70 years since it was granted New Town status, Hemel Hempstead continues to evolve with Dacorum Borough Council’s own £30 million Hemel Evolution investment regenerating the town centre – including The Forum shared services hub, Marlowes shopping area transformation and restoration of the historic Jellicoe Water Gardens. Acting as a catalyst for further investment, early 2016 saw the acquisition of the Marlowes Shopping Centre, Edmunds Parade and Fareham House for £53.8 million by Capital & Regional, with ambitious plans to transform the leisure and retail offering of the town centre.
Having undertaken the UK’s most comprehensive face to face shopper research study, Capital & Regional used this wealth of information to develop exciting plans for the town, including a building a
new town centre cinema, and attracting household leisure and retail brands - with a view not only to massively improve the existing shopping experience but attract a new audience too - catering for aspirational professionals and families alike.
Vince Williams, Centre Manager, Marlowes Shopping Centre says: “The Business Ambassadors promote Hemel Hempstead as an environment that is attractive to new business and investors into the town, ensuring that we get that commercial message across to all sectors and at every opportunity. Bricks and mortar are one thing, but I’m also very keen that the town is seen to be a promoter of excellence in terms of what we have to offer and how we offer that through our local staff. A real point of difference to put Hemel on the map.”
As well as the town centre, ongoing investment into the 145,000 sq.ft. Jarman Square area has seen the site transformed into an exciting and modern leisure destination, offering something for the whole family, including a gym and ice rink. The cinema complex underwent a £7 million refurbishment, increasing capacity with seating for up to 2,266 film fans across 17 screens, including a 281 seat IMAX auditorium. The site also boasts new restaurant units, and a neighbour in the XC Centre - the extreme sports facility featuring an impressive skate park, 14m high climbing wall, and one of the world’s largest organic indoor caving systems.
New housing and infrastructure will support the towns plans for growth; Hightown Housing Association has recently confirmed its plans to develop 1800 affordable houses over the next 2 years and Dacorum Borough Council is committed to an ambitious development programme of 300 new affordable homes to be built between 2012 and 2020.
In the surrounding area, there are a myriad of places to visit and enjoy including the beautiful Ashridge Estate, National Trust properties; access to the Grand Union canal, the historic market towns of Berkhamsted and Tring; the Warner Bros. Studio tour; the Natural History Museum at Tring with its world class collection of animals and birds; Whipsnade Zoo; Apsley marina; the Chilterns AONB; Champneys Spa Resort as well as spending time in the numerous beautiful villages of the area.
Additionally, the area boasts many opportunities from the simplicity and easy pace of walking and cycling to the adrenaline fixes provided by the Snow Centre and the XC extreme sports centre. There are also football, cricket and basketball teams to watch and numerous sports and leisure clubs to join, including golf, tennis and rugby, to name but a few.
Gary Stringer, Place Manager for the Hemel Hempstead Ambassadors commented, “At 70 years young Hemel Hempstead continues to evolve, with a modern, exciting 21st centre town sitting at the heart of a rich collection of natural and cultural assets. The ongoing regeneration of the town will have a knock-on effect on the surrounding areas, looking to the future while emphasising our history and rich heritage. Hemel Hempstead Town Centre is a vibrant place where people want to shop, work, live, learn and visit, and a gateway to some great leisure opportunities”