Welwyn Hatfield Borough Council’s Development Management Committee voted last night (Thursday, 6 February) to approve plans for a new multi-storey car park in Hatfield town centre. With over a third of the town centre currently being used for surface level parking, the multi-storey, part funded by Hertfordshire LEP, will consolidate parking into one place and free up sites elsewhere for new homes, shops and leisure.

The multi-storey is set to provide 420 spaces over four floors, including 18 disabled spaces, ten parent/child spaces, and eight electric vehicle charging bays. Located on The Common car park, it will also feature iconic aircraft designs, symbolic of Hatfield’s proud aviation heritage.

The application was submitted by Bourne Parking on behalf of the council. Applications for two redevelopment sites – One Town Centre and Link Drive – both made possible by the multi-storey – are expected to go before the same committee later this month.

The multi-storey is part funded by a £4.8m Local Growth Fund contribution from Hertfordshire Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP), with the council funding the remaining £1.2m of the £6m budget. This forms part of the LEP's wider £6m investment into the town centre, which included the recent refurbishment of White Lion Square

Adam Wood, Head of Infrastructure & Regeneration at Hertfordshire LEP, said: “We are delighted that planning permission has been granted for the new space-efficient multi-storey car park, vital to unlocking land for the continued regeneration of Hatfield town centre.

“Our £4.8m Local Growth Fund investment for this project will enable land once used for surface level parking to be transformed into vibrant hubs for the community, with attractive housing, retail and landscaped spaces. This is part of our wider £6m programme of support to ensure the town is ready to meet the challenges of the future, and will benefit local businesses and people for generations to come.”

Duncan Bell, Executive Member for Resources, said: “The regeneration of Hatfield rests on the multi-storey unlocking pivotal space that we need to deliver the changes our residents want to see. As well as providing more parking and better access to shops and businesses, the multi-storey will enable us to deliver a mix of housing, new shopping and leisure in the heart of the town centre. This is a significant milestone in the ongoing regeneration of Hatfield and another important step in achieving our 2030+ vision for the town’s renewal.”

Discussions are ongoing through the cross-party Hatfield Town Centre Regeneration Board regarding how the running costs of the car park will be funded. This will also be considered as part of the council’s budget setting process going forward.