Welwyn Hatfield to drive future population growth in Hertfordshire as councils face £6b infrastructure bill

PUBLISHED: 11:14 17 February 2019

Welwyn Hatfield will be one of the fastest growing areas in Hertfordshire over the next decade. Picture: DANNY LOO

Welwyn Hatfield will be one of the fastest growing areas in Hertfordshire over the next decade. Picture: DANNY LOO

©2019 Archant

Welwyn Hatfield will drive significant population growth in Hertfordshire over the next decade, with at least 107,000 more people expected to live in the county by 2031.

The borough is forecast to gain almost 16,000 new residents in that time, the second highest increase of the county’s 10 local authorities and only marginally less than East Hertfordshire.

It’s also more than double the less than 8,000 increase projected for Hertsmere, which is among the lowest for forecast growth.

A new study has found Hertfordshire’s growth over the next 12 to 15 years will require up to £6 billion worth of infrastructure, such as transport, schools and healthcare facilities.

Only £1.4 billion of this has already been identified or is being raised through funded schemes.

Hertfordshire’s local authorities, who commissioned the infrastructure and funding prospectus, have set up a Growth Board to work together to support growth in the county.

Hertfordshire County Council leader and Hertfordshire Growth Board chairman, Councillor David Williams, said: “Our vision is to focus on supporting the development of sustainable communities - where families can live, learn and work all in one place.

“Good growth means places that are well designed to help families stay healthy, safe and enjoy a good quality of life.

“The Growth Board will use the prospectus to prioritise infrastructure schemes, to secure support from central government and support a funding strategy.”

The study estimated there will be almost 100,000 new homes across Herts by 2031 - an increase of more than 20 per cent - including about 12,000 in Welwyn Hatfield.

The county’s population will grow by at least 107,000 but potentially closer to 175,000.

It found the projected growth will result in 20 per cent more traffic overall and an extra 30 per cent on the A414 if unchecked.

However, pedestrians, cyclists and public transport are being prioritised in transport planning.

Cllr Williams said: “We recognise the imperative to grow our economy and ensure that we have thriving, sustainable communities.

“Hertfordshire is a county of opportunity - an attractive place in which to live ... But we have to make sure future generations can afford to live and work in the county.”

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