Lower borrowing rate to help council in Evolution scheme

Artist's impression of The Forum, Hemel Hempstead

Artist's impression of The Forum, Hemel Hempstead

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Dacorum Borough Council is to benefit from a reduced borrowing rate in order to support its town centre regeneration projects in Hemel Hempstead.

The Hemel Evolution plans are being aided by a sum of £19.63million in discounted borrowing, secured by the the Hertfordshire Local Enterprise Partnership from the Public Works Loan Board.

The LEP succeeded in getting the ‘project rate’ approved to help the borough council revitalise Hemel Hempstead’s economy by making it a more attractive place to shop, visit and do business.

The authority is already investing £30m of public funds in a top-to-toe redevelopment of its main high street, creating new homes, jobs and leisure opportunities and also supporting local businesses.

The discounted rate, set at 40 basis points or 0.4%, below the Board’s standard lending rate, will help advance projects including ‘The Forum’ public service quarter linking council, police and library services along with 200 new homes, a retirement home and a leisure offer including a cinema, restaurants and retail in the Combe Street, Marlowes and Market Square areas.

The new bus interchange at the lower end of the shopping area as well as pedestrian improvement works along Marlowes and the Water Gardens restoration also form part of the wider scheme.

The reduced ‘project’ rate secured builds on the LEP’s £5million commitment to develop the West Herts College campus secured as part of its £200m Growth Deal last year.

Andrew Percival, chair of the LEP’s infrastructure board, said: “We are delighted that securing this rate for Dacorum Borough Council will enable it to progress its plans to revitalise the town for visitors, residents and businesses and help unlock Hemel’s future economic potential.”

The council’s chief executive Sally Marshall added: “Regeneration has already become a reality, with our Hemel Evolution programme transforming the town centre.

“By making our own substantial investment, we’re giving local businesses, investment companies and property owners the confidence and reassurance they need to contribute themselves. And now thanks to the LEP’s support, we can stimulate growth in Dacorum at a lower cost. The reduced loan rate shows the Government’s commitment to our local economy.”

For more about the evolution scheme, visit dacorum.gov.uk/hemelevolution, or for details on the LEP go to hertfordshirelep.com.