Hemel Hempstead is a town in Hertfordshire, 24 miles from London, close to the M1, M25, Luton and Heathrow airports. The railway station lies approximately 1 mile southwest of the town centre and is situated on the West Coast Main Line providing frequent links to London Euston and Birmingham. This Town Centre Vision sets an ambitious future, revitalising the area to become, once again, the beating heart of Hemel Hempstead.
We recognise that for many reasons the town centre needs intervention and support. The original design of the New Town by Geoffrey Jellicoe had a strong placemaking vision for Hemel Hempstead to be a ‘city within a park’. Although some of the New Town principles no longer work for communities today, access to nature, open space, rivers and canals are an increasingly high priority. Hemel Hempstead Town Centre is incredibly lucky to have some beautiful although hidden natural treasures, including the Water Gardens and River Gade in the heart of the town centre, the Gadebridge Park and the Walled Gardens in the north, the Heath Park, the Moors and Grand Union Canal to the south, and Paradise Fields, a nature reserve, to the east. The area surrounding Hemel Hempstead includes nearly 500 acres of parkland managed by Boxmoor Trust on behalf of the citizens of Hemel Hempstead and the town is on the edge of the Chiltern Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
These diverse and beautiful places need to be celebrated as Hemel Hempstead’s unique assets, helping to improve pride in the town centre and be curated as accessible and fun spaces to visit, meet, work and live. The combination of parks and rivers mixed with shops, cafes, restaurants, workspaces, cultural and leisure activities will drive the revitalisation of the town centre. Pop up events and uses will help to create a buzz in the area and will be critical to help tackle people not feeling safe and nurture an evening economy.
The Council recognises we have a role to play in attracting investment and showcase development opportunities, starting with setting this strong vision and level of ambition for the town centre. This is not solely a Council document but one that has been drafted with partners and communities across Hemel Hempstead. The Hemel Place Strategy will provide oversight to the whole development of the town, highlighting how important the town centre is. Hence, we have focused on the town centre as an early priority.