Hatfield is set to be transformed by the £20million One Town Centre development, and the Welwyn Hatfield Times got a special look inside as excitement grows ahead of its summer completion.

The project, being bulit at the eastern end of the town centre, will see 71 new one and two-bedroom homes - including a block of affordable housing - as well as ground-floor retail units, providing an additional 1,000 sq. metres of commercial space.

Landscaped green spaces will also provide new areas for the public to enjoy, and the link the development to the town centre.

One Town Centre is a partnership between Welwyn Hatfield Borough Council and Lovell Homes, who gave the Welwyn Hatfield Times special access to the site as the buildings continue to be developed.

Welwyn Hatfield Times: An artists impression of what the redevelopment could look like.An artists impression of what the redevelopment could look like. (Image: Welwyn Hatfield Borough Council)

Among those working on the redevelopment is Lovell's Jeff Hollis, a Hatfield resident who couldn't hide his delight at being given the chance to shape the future of his town.

"I live in Hatfield, so seeing and working on this is really special," he told us. 

"This end of the town seems to have been untouched for some time, so it will be nice to get something new for the residents.

"I'm excited to see what gets used in the commercial space as well, and hopefully we can get some nice restaurants for people to enjoy.

"Hatfield is desperate for something nice to happen for it and hopefully this can be it. I’m sure this project will be most welcome for everyone."

Read more

The One Town Centre project is part the wider regeneration of Hatfield, which includes improvements to the nearby White Lion Square, the development of Link Drive and the building of The Common multi-storey car park, which opened in March 2021 and pays tribute to the town's aviation history.

The changes are already making a big difference to Hatfield, according to Welwyn Hatfield Borough Council surveyor Babs Sharman.

"When we started the regeneration we started with White Lion Square, and the whole point was to brighten up the town centre," she said. 

"It was quite dark, and people just weren’t coming here. Since then, it’s been well used. Even during the pandemic, you could see people were coming and meeting, at a safe distance of course, in the town.

Welwyn Hatfield Times: Jeff Hollis and Babs Sharman at the One Town Centre site.Jeff Hollis and Babs Sharman at the One Town Centre site. (Image: Dan Mountney)

"In the summer, the table tennis tables are being used, there are children in the playground and all of a sudden, you’ve got a vibrant town centre that wasn’t there before. It’s been so well received by everyone."

Jeff may also get the new resautrants he wants, with Babs confirming that businesses are already expressing an interest in the new units.

"I’m aware that there has already been a plenty of interest in the commercial units," she revealed.

"We can make these units bigger or smaller depending on what the businesses want, so we have real flexibility.

"There has also been interest in some of the other units in the town that are not part of the development, so things are really looking up."

"There are challenges because the town centre is inward facing, so driving around the town you see the back of shops, but there’s a lot of community spirit and people want a better future for Hatfield.

"We hope the development can be that."

Welwyn Hatfield Times: The Welwyn Hatfield Times was given special access to the site.The Welwyn Hatfield Times was given special access to the site. (Image: Dan Mountney)

Plenty of thought has also gone into the design of One Town Centre, with councillor Tony Kingsbury, leader of WHBC, saying: "We’ve made sure the designs are contemporary but also work with the existing buildings, reflecting the best of old and new in Hatfield. 

"The landscaped spaces between the three new buildings will form a new public space, which connects to the wider look and feel for Hatfield's public spaces, including the improvements to White Lion Square.

"One Town Centre development will breathe new life into Hatfield, providing a key gateway into the town centre."

As excitement builds ahead of One Town Centre's completion later this year, the future certainly looks bright for Hatfield.