The Forum in Dacorum – cross-functional hub gets Roman-inspired name

Artist's impression of the 'atrium' inside the new Forum public service quarter building
Artist's impression of the 'atrium' inside the new Forum public service quarter building

A modern, multi-purpose building set to change the landscape of Hemel Hempstead has been branded The Forum.

Last week, Dacorum Borough Council’s development control committee gave the green flag to the futuristic development, which will merge local authority, police and library services in one, and last night, the council’s Cabinet agreed on Roman-inspired name The Forum.

Artist's impression of what the new Public Service Quarter in Hemel Hempstead will look like

Artist's impression of what the new Public Service Quarter in Hemel Hempstead will look like

Under the new roof, which will be completed by 2017, the Hertfordshire Registration and Citizenship Service and voluntary services including Citizen’s Advice Bureau, Relate, Mediation and Community Trust Dacorum will also share space.

The services will focus around a new state-of-the-art library – in place of the town’s existing library on the corner of Combe Street and Marlowes – and a café, all housed in a spacious atrium.

Frances Button, Herts County Council cabinet member for libraries, said: “Moving Hemel Hempstead library to The Forum is in line with our ambition that all Hertfordshire libraries should be inspiring places at the heart of the community.The Registration Service will also be able to move from its home at The Bury into an exciting new facility and will be able to provide a service that is accessible to all in the centre of Hemel Hempstead.”

Herts Police’s head of estates and facilities Ian Potter said: “Sharing this modern new facility with Dacorum Borough Council and other partner organisations will help ensure that our Safe Neighbourhood Team are even more effective in working with and protecting local communities. This will ensure a long term presence by the Police in Hemel Hempstead and in particular the town centre.”

Council leader Andrew Williams added: “Helping our community access a wide range of services from a single point has obvious benefits for individuals, but there are also benefits for the town as a whole. The new building will kickstart development, boost footfall in the centre and, together with the residential and leisure developments, create hundreds of jobs. We’ll be saving around £300,000 in running costs each year as well as the immediate injection of £5 million required to refurbish the obsolete, inefficient existing Civic Centre – plus substantial on-going investment.”

Planning applications for 200 homes around the site are to be submitted soon.