Hertfordshire Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) yesterday (Monday 31 March) put in a bid to deliver its ambitious plans to bring economic growth, housing and jobs to Hertfordshire – calling for long term government investment in Hertfordshire of £346million, the LEP is seeking initial investment of £46 million in 2015/16 to jump start the county’s economy.

The LEP’s plans will direct focused investment into projects across Hertfordshire to unlock the county’s economic potential.

In 2015/16, the LEP plans to address congestion in the county’s transport infrastructure, build more homes and invest in Hertfordshire’s thriving businesses, particularly in science, manufacturing and creative industries.

The LEP will deliver by 2030:

-16,600 additional homes

-Over 38,000 additional new jobs

-£3bn additional economic output

-Leverage £370 million private sector investment

John Gourd, Chair of Hertfordshire LEP, said: “We are delighted to announce our plans for Hertfordshire – the county has world class businesses and world class people, and we will deliver the transport, homes and skills we need to keep growing. It’s been great to have so much support from local businesses, politicians and residents, and we plan to keep working together to make sure that Hertfordshire continues to be a great place to live, work and do business”.

The Minister for Cities, the Rt Hon Greg Clark MP, said: “The Government welcomes the Strategic Economic Plan that the Hertfordshire LEP has published today and looks forward to continued engagement with local civic and business leaders over the next few months on the negotiation of their Growth Deal.

“The Growth Deal provides a fantastic opportunity for the Hertfordshire LEP to seek freedoms, flexibilities and influence over resources from government, and a share of the Local Growth Fund to put towards their the growth priorities set out in this Strategic Economic Plan. This provides the opportunity to unleash the ambition and creativity of Hertfordshire's local leaders, by devolving resource and responsibility in return for compelling local economic leadership in pursuit of growth”.

As a first step, the LEP has asked for £12.0 million in 2015/16 and £8.5 million in 2016/17 to complete planned upgrades to Croxley Rail Link, extending the Watford branch of the Metropolitan line to Watford Junction via Watford High Street. This will include new stations at Ascot Road (“Cassiobridge”) and adjacent to the Watford General Hospital (“Watford Vicarage Road”). In addition, the LEP has requested £11 million for incremental investments in the transport network around Watford and Hemel Hempstead.

There are also planned station access improvements in Broxbourne, Bishop’s Stortford, Hertford East and Rye House, and £930,000 requested for short-term upgrades to the A1(M). In the longer term, the LEP is also asking the Government to alleviate pressure on the A1(M) between junctions 6-8.

To meet the needs of Hertfordshire’s growing population, the LEP has significant plans to deliver more housing, and is requesting £2 million investment to accelerate housing delivery in Stevenage.

Skills and business growth are also priorities, and the LEP will direct £2.85 million to support Hertfordshire’s 52,000 private businesses and launch, with the University of Hertfordshire, a Growth Hub to support the growth ambitions of over 5,000 SMEs.