A £6m grant from the Hertfordshire Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) will be used to release land in Hatfield town centre for new homes, retail and leisure, helping to secure its continued transformation to 2030 and beyond.

It follows a successful funding bid to the LEP, awarding £4.8m towards the cost of building a multi-storey on The Common car park which will be reinvested in developing other residential and retail sites around the town – and £1.2m to improve the public space in White Lion Square.

Hatfield 2030+, led by the Hatfield Renewal Partnership which brings together local authorities, education providers and commercial partners, has developed a long term regeneration plan for the town. Surface level parking accounts for over a third of town centre space and releasing some of these sites for development is central to their 2030+ vision and next stage of the town’s regeneration.

Cabinet agreed a report on Tuesday (7 November) setting out how the grant will be used alongside the council’s continued investment in the town centre, including £1.2m to part-fund the multi-storey costs, and £1.3m to provide a temporary, single deck on Lemsford Road car park, relieving parking pressures during the build.

The plans to deliver £1.2m of improvements in White Lion Square were unveiled last month and include a range of new features, planting and seating to encourage people to visit and stay longer in the town.

Councillor Bernard Sarson, Executive Member for Business and Partnerships at Welwyn Hatfield Borough Council, said: “We need to create the most welcoming and vibrant environment possible, to boost footfall and attract even more new shops and businesses to Hatfield. The improvements we’ve made this year have sparked a renewed confidence in the town and allocating £6m toward these next projects will kick-start our more ambitious regeneration plans – plans that are shared and backed by the whole of Hatfield.”

Quintin McKellar, Chair of the Hatfield 2030+ partnership and Vice Chancellor at the University of Hertfordshire, said: “It was clear when speaking to people about the future of Hatfield that town centre transformation was a top priority. We’ve all worked together to develop a vision for regeneration and this starts with making some of the land that’s currently used for car parking available for development.

“Releasing this space is the key to providing more new homes, driving footfall and attracting further retailers and leisure facilities to the area.”

The £6m was secured by the LEP for the town’s renewal as part of the government’s Growth Deal in January 2015 and is contingent on housing and other outputs being delivered.

Mark Bretton, Chair of Hertfordshire Local Enterprise Partnership, said: “The regeneration of our New Towns and the need to deliver much needed new housing is a cornerstone of our Strategic Economic Plan. To that end we are pleased to support Welwyn Hatfield Borough Council in its ambitions to transform Hatfield to 2030 and beyond.

“The freeing up of surface level parking is the catalyst to unlock some of these residential developments. The £6m grant from the LEP is contingent on housing and other outputs being delivered.”