Splashing the cash to improve the image of Hemel Hempstead is vital to change ideas about the town, says Dacorum Borough Council’s leader.
Councillor Andrew Williams defended the policy this week after the council came under fire for earmarking too much money for plans to revitalise the town centre at the expense of other areas.
Former Berkhamsted town councillor Lindy Foster-Weinreb challenged the plans and said: “The balance of our resources appears to be shifting to the centre of Hemel Hempstead.
“The Maylands Industrial Area combined with the more attractive outlying towns and villages attract inward investment to the borough.
“Why is major investment is being focused on one single town centre?”
She claims the borough council formed a focus group to gather public opinion on its investment plans – but ignored the group’s recommendations.
Mr Williams said: “The retail environment in Berkhamsted is thriving and obviously it’s better there than it is in Hemel Hempstead.
“St Albans, Berkhamsted and the Hemel’s old town are quaint and nice for people to go to.
“The 1950s new town type of environment does not have the same appeal as the more historic settings. People will see Hemel Hempstead has a lot of concrete.
“You would not visit it because the architecture is nice, so you have to make it so people visit it because of the shopping, seating, lighting and general ambience.”