New county forum to engage with house builders and developers

A new property development forum is being proposed for Herts. Picture: Getty Images/iStockphoto

A new property development forum is being proposed for Herts. Picture: Getty Images/iStockphoto - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

Council leaders from across Herts are spearheading a drive to establish a forum with developers.

Collectively the councils across the county are expected to support the delivery of around 100,000 new homes by 2031.

And now the Hertfordshire Growth Board – which brings together leaders of the 11 councils and the Local Enterprise Partnership – are drawing up plans for a new Hertfordshire Developers Forum.

Currently – according to a report presented to the growth board on Tuesday March 30 – the board does not have ‘a process of engagement’ with developers across Herts.

The report says the forum would allow more focussed engagement with house builders, developers and their consultants.

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The principle of the establishment of a Hertfordshire Developers Forum was backed by the meeting of the growth board, and a firm proposal is now expected to be considered by the next meeting of the board, in June.

During the meeting, board members highlighted the need for the forum to consider modern construction methods and expressed views on how the forum should be funded.

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Leader of Broxbourne council Cllr Lewis Cocking backed views expressed by leader of the county council Cllr David Williams view that the forum should be funded by developers.

He said: “I support your sentiments on this and think developers should bear the full cost of this.

“They have deep pockets and often get away with not paying their fair share when it comes to local government and infrastructure.

“So I definitely think we should be pushing for them to pay – and not a penny from us.”

But Mayor of Watford Peter Taylor pointed to the success of a similar forum in Watford that had worked well ‘for many years’ – stressing that there ‘aren’t huge costs’ associated with it.

And he suggested it would be good to look at what was already happening at district level and to build on that.

Meanwhile leader of Hertsmere Borough Council Cllr Morris Bright pointed to how it may be perceived if it were to be funded by developers.

He suggested there were already a lot of residents who thought that developers tended to get what they wanted.

And he suggested that he didn’t want people to think anything was a ‘done deal’ because the forum was developer-funded.

The next meeting of the Hertfordshire Growth Board is scheduled for June 22.

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