Frequently Asked Questions

We have tried to provide answers to as many of the common questions we have been asked as we can below.

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General Questions

What is a Garden Community?

The principle of a garden towns date back to the early 19th Century Garden City Movement, founded by Ebenezer Howard. The Garden City Movement, sought to deliver development which combined the best of town and country, to create a place where people could work, raise families, travel easily and enjoy green spaces. Some examples of Garden Cities include Welwyn Garden City and Bournville. This concept is still the inspiration for new garden communities a century later. Today, garden towns are part of the Government programme to support the development of these well-designed, sustainable new mixed-use communities, with both community and sustainability at the heart. Hemel Garden Communities was identified within the Government’s Garden Communities Programme in March 2019, following a successful bid including HGC Charter developed in 2018 to set out the key principles for Hemel Hempstead. A further study, the Hemel Garden Communities Spatial Vision set the vision and ambitions for the town.

What is Hemel Garden Communities?

Hemel Garden Communities proposes a highly sustainable large urban expansion to Hemel Hempstead, to the East and North of the town. The proposals will bring around 11,000 new homes and 10,000 new jobs, and embrace the best qualities of Hemel Hempstead as Mark One New Town. Hemel Garden Communities is a joint project between Dacorum Borough Council, St Albans City and District Council, Hertfordshire County Council, The Crown Estate and the Hertfordshire Local Enterprise Partnership.

Why Hemel Hempstead?

Hemel Hempstead New Town was designed based upon the principle of sustainability. It is therefore appropriate for a significant urban extension to the town to be designed in such a way that it furthers the New Town legacy of sustainable places. Hemel Hempstead has a combination of excellent access to infrastructure, jobs and the countryside. The Town is situated within close proximity of London, along major strategic road networks such as the M1 and A414. Hemel Hempstead also benefits from being within close proximity to London Luton Airport. This makes Hemel Hempstead an accessible place to support residential and economic areas. This accessibility has enabled the support and growth of Mayland’s Business Park, which has the opportunity to grow further with the inclusion of Hertfordshire Innovation Quarter. This extension of Maylands provides exciting opportunities to create more jobs in a location accessible for local people within the existing town and new residential communities.

What is the Hemel Garden Communities Spatial Vision?

The Hemel Garden Communities Spatial Vision is an overarching vision for the town of Hemel Hempstead. The vision was published in 2021 and builds upon the Hemel Garden Communities Charter. The vision sets out four key pillars: green network, integrated neighbourhoods, self-sustaining economy and engaged communities.

Where is Hemel Garden Communities?

Hemel Garden Communities is a programme of workstreams that covers the existing town centre and whole town of Hemel Hempstead; and the proposed growth areas to the north and east of the town which falls within both Dacorum and St Albans Local Authority land boundaries. This includes the permitted schemes at Spencer’s Park and Marchmont Farm; the employment areas of Maylands Business Park and the proposed employment land which forms part of the Hertfordshire Innovation Quarter (Herts IQ)* and is located to the East of Maylands Business Park; and Two Waters Opportunity Area and Apsley. The Position Statement provides a map of the Programme Area.

What is the role of the Local Plans?

Even though Hemel Hempstead has received Garden Town status, the Regulation 18 consultations for both Dacorum Borough Council and St Albans City and District Council Local Plans are the first formal stage in progressing the proposals for Hemel Garden Communities within local planning policy documents. The intention of the Regulation 18 stage is to provide a ‘high level’ overview of the plan for the local authorities' areas in terms of housing growth, economic growth and infrastructure, and address other key issues such as climate change, biodiversity, and urban design. At a Regulation 18 stage, it is not intended for the Local Plans to be a final document but instead provide an opportunity for the public and stakeholders to comment on the principles within the plan and its policies.

How might Hemel Garden Communities come forward?

The St Albans City and District Council Local Plan, Regulation 18 consultation was held from July - September 2023. This current consultation is the Regulation 18 stage for Dacorum Borough Council. The Hemel Garden Communities policies have been developed in collaboration with the Hemel Garden Communities Programme Team and the Local Plans teams at both Councils. Continual work including feedback from the Regulation 18 consultation and further evidence will develop and refine the policies for the Regulation 19 stage of both Local Plans. This next stage is due to take place in Summer/Autumn 2024.

What work has been done to date?

Through the Garden Communities programme the Government have provided capacity funding to local authorities to enable them to progress plans for Hemel Garden Communities and help to deliver the homes and infrastructure needed for both neighbouring communities and future residents. There are a number of key documents and strategies that contribute to the local planning policy context for HGC these are: • The emerging South West Hertfordshire Joint Strategic Plan for (SW Herts JSP) and its related evidence base • Hertfordshire County Council policy and strategies • Dacorum and St Albans local evidence and strategies (many of which inform the Local Plan process) including a strategic sites design guide and the Chilterns Beechwoods Special Area of Conservation Mitigation Strategy • Other stakeholder strategies • The Hemel Garden Communities workstreams. More information regarding the Hemel Garden Communities workstreams are identified within the Position Statement.

What might be delivered and when?

The Hemel Garden Communities proposals and vision stretches beyond the new DBC Local Plan period of 2040, with a current vision of 2050+. The proposed development will be delivered in phases, with the first phase to the East of Hemel Hempstead expected to start in around 5 years. Land East of Hemel Hempstead falls within the administrative boundaries of St Albans City and District Council land will provide up to 4,750 homes by 2041 and it includes the delivery of Hertfordshire Innovation Quarter, creating approximately 8,000 jobs for the area. Further 750 homes are to be delivered beyond the plan period in St Albans City and District up to 2050. The growth in the north of Hemel Hempstead falls within Dacorum. This will provide up to 2,500 homes by 2040, with a further 3,000 homes delivered beyond the plan period by 2050.

What will the Garden Community mean for existing Hemel

With a large increase in population, comes a greater demand on services, from healthcare and transport, to leisure and retail. Hemel Garden communities sets an ambitious vision which requires a step change in infrastructure provision. We therefore not only need to make sure that the town is prepared to deal with growth, but we need one that provides infrastructure to support sustainability, helping to address healthy lifestyles and climate resilience. We are developing strategies to support this step change and working closely with stakeholders and service providers, particularly for, transport, environment, healthcare, education, utilities, businesses, landowners and a wide range of other key stakeholders. This is to ensure we plan for the growth and transformation of existing areas, and the benefits are delivered to Hemel Hempstead as a whole town.

What about local facilities - doctors, schools, and transport services?

The new growth areas for north and east of Hemel Hempstead will be made up of a series of neighbourhoods that will be built to high sustainable standards. They will be carefully integrated and connected to both new and the existing neighbourhoods with lively, well designed local centres within walking distance. These local centres will provide opportunities for communities to come together, to shop, worship, go to school, access green spaces and play areas. Existing local centres will also be improved, particularly those in close proximity to the new growth areas. Schools, doctors/healthcare will be provided in line with provision guidance and these types of facilities will be located with other supporting social facilities and services. Transport infrastructure and services, like mobility hubs, will be better integrated into central neighbourhood and key town locations with improved routes to key destinations like the station, Maylands Business Park and the town centre – the aim is to enable active and sustainable travel like walking, cycling and public transport, as well as maximising the physical and mental wellbeing of all members of the community. Transport infrastructure requirements will be guided by strategies to encourage sustainable travel, with ambitious targets of 40% of the existing town trips by wheeling, walking, cycling or public transport; and 60% of trips in the growth areas using these sustainable modes of transport by 2050.

Where can I find out more?

The Hemel Garden Communities Position Statement (found on the Knowledge section of this website) is an overview document to support the Regulation 18 Local Plan consultations for both St Albans City and District and Dacorum Borough Council. The role of the Position Statement, is to set out more detail and support the Hemel Garden Communities planning policies within the Local Plans. It explains the background, context, policy, governance and progress on the HGC Programme and how it aligns with the Local Plans’ processes and other related strategic programmes. The HGC Position Statement also sets out the next steps for these workstreams.


What does this mean for housing growth for the two Local Authorities?

The Hemel Garden Communities proposals are expected to contribute to each Local Authority’s respective housing supply and deliver much needed housing for the local area. This is because the proposed Hemel Garden Communities land falls within both Dacorum and St Albans Local Authority land boundaries. The exact distribution of this housing supply is yet to be determined.

When are the houses and jobs likely to be built/delivered?

The Hemel Garden Communities proposals and vision stretches beyond the new Local Plan period of 2036, with a current vision of 2050+. The proposed development will be delivered in phases, with the first phase expected to be delivered to the East of Hemel Hempstead within the next 5 years. This first phase of development falls within St Albans City and District Council land. The first phase of development includes the delivery of Hertfordshire Innovation Quarter, creating approximately 8,000 jobs for the area.

What types of homes will be delivered?

Hemel Garden Communities proposes a mix of new homes with a range of sizes. Tenures and types which will provide for people at all stages in life. The proposals also include opportunities for self and custom built homes, as well as affordable homes as per Local Plan policy.