Creating a buzz
Creating a buzz in the Town Centre is is important to draw people in and make them feel part of the community and proud to live, visit or work in Hemel Hempstead. People are likely to spend money during a visit, in the longer term, may consider renting or buying a home, working or opening a business in the Town Centre.
Increased footfall is crucial to existing businesses and potential investors and a necessary element in creating the feeling of safety and community belonging. The Local Government Association, in their “Creating resilient and revitalised high streets in the ‘new normal’” report (January 2022), observes that ‘resilient high streets are experiential destinations […] offering users experiences that go beyond purely retail or functional-oriented activities.’1
Despite recent investments in public realm upgrades, vacant premises along the high street undermine the success and coherence of the Town Centre.
It is also an indicator that the town is currently ill-equipped to effectively respond to changing visitors’ needs and consumer behaviour.
The Hemel Imaginarium project takes a dual approach. Firstly, the meanwhile activation project will animate key site(s) in the town centre with a creative events programme for everyone. Secondly, the meanwhile masterplan will secure the legacy of the project by providing a roadmap for a long-term programme that effectively converts high street vacancies into thriving places of business and culture and fostering diversification.
The Hemel Hempstead Meanwhile Activation Project and Masterplan will
- activate disused spaces in the town centre
- bring new audiences to the high street
- put Hemel Hempstead on the map as a destination of choice for art, events and culture
- galvanise local stakeholders to adopt a long-term strategy for the successful management of the high street offer
- celebrate Hemel Hempstead as a place and instil a sense of belonging and civic pride amongst its residents
1, Creating resilient and revitalised high streets in the ‘new normal’, LGA, Jan 2022