Why is Hertfordshire the County of Opportunity?
As you drive across the border into the county of Hertfordshire, you’re greeted by a road sign which says “Hertfordshire. County of Opportunity”.
When Hertfordshire County Council (HCC) published its Corporate Plan for 2013-17, they explained why they came up with this slogan: “We want Hertfordshire to remain a county where people have the opportunity to live healthy, fulfilling lives in thriving, prosperous communities”.
In terms of prosperity, HCC stated it was working towards a “business-friendly environment where initiative is encouraged and celebrated” in order to create a strong, resilient and successful economy.
But the Corporate Plan went further than just making Hertfordshire a great place to do business, it also encompassed the community as a whole. The plan focused on giving residents the opportunity to maximise their potential by supporting those in difficulties, giving them a clean and green environment to live in, and tackling the overall health and wellbeing of everyone living in the county.
The current situation
According to the Council’s latest Annual Report, HCC is doing very well. According to its latest survey, 74% of residents were satisfied or very satisfied with the way HCC runs things and the Council has been shortlisted by the Local Government Chronicle for the “Best Council of the last 20 Years” Award.
To increase the opportunities available to businesses, HCC is currently working to improve transport links which will have a direct effect on local businesses. It has given the go-ahead to the Croxley Rail Link that will bring the London Underground system into Watford, making commuting more attractive at the same time as taking the strain off road links.
HCC is an active member of the London Stansted Cambridge Consortium (LSCC) which aims to promote the economic potential of the London to Cambridge corridor. The Consortium’s Growth Commission described the corridor as sharing “a set of advanced industries characterised by rapid growth and high productivity, supported by a global centre for business and financial services. Productivity is 16 per cent higher than the national average, and growing”. HCC is supporting the LSCC’s economic vision for 2036 with ambitious targets to create 400,000 new jobs – half of which will be tech, life sciences and knowledge-based – as well as growth in productivity and the creation of 10 new companies each worth in excess of £1bn. Business growth will be backed up by an education and skills system that provides a skilled, qualified workforce, as well as high quality housing and diverse and vibrant communities.
HCC is also a member of the West Anglia Taskforce which is recommending that the Government brings forward the four tracking of the West Anglia Mainline to Broxbourne as part of a strategy to bring Crossrail 2 into Hertfordshire.