Welwyn Hatfield Borough Council aimed to accelerate Hatfield Town Centre’s regeneration by developing a series of Council-owned sites. Inner Circle was commissioned to consolidate a series of undelivered masterplans, stakeholders’ strategic objectives and planning policies, and create a new series of strategic development brief documents for key regeneration sites. These documents were unanimously agreed by all stakeholders, generating a lasting consensus and unblocking the Town Centre’s regeneration.
Hatfield town centre has a unique character. The smallest of the new towns developed in the immediate post-war period, the town developed alongside the historic settlement of Hatfield old town. The Old Town, which had grown over a number of centuries, holds a direct relationship to the Grade I-listed Hatfield House, which overlooks the historic and charming town.
The new town had struggled economically with the decline of traditional manufacturing industries, however the location, setting (including Hatfield House) and particularly the appealing proximity to London provided a basis for regeneration. The Council was keen to see regeneration accelerated as it owns a number of town centre sites and wanted to leverage key locations to kickstart redevelopment of the wider town.
Stakeholders are essential to the regeneration process and ensuring that new development is sensitive to competing needs, concerns, and desires of residents. We took an approach that recognised the need for development proposals to be appropriate to the historic setting, which the Council supported and has since commissioned work on the townscape and heritage to support this.
Following discussion on design principles with stakeholders, the Council’s main objective was to draw together key points from a wealth of work that has already been done on the town centre into an overarching strategic design statement for the town centre. We brought together detailed and design-led planning and development briefs for the first three of its targeted regeneration sites:
- 1-9 Town Centre
- New Multi Storey Car Park site
- Link Drive
Hatfield Town Centre. © Inner Circle Consulting.
Pedestrian access to Hatfield Town Centre. © Inner Circle Consulting.
We considered this commission as a collaborative piece of work, guided by local stakeholders’ knowledge, to inform and create the developing strategy for the Town Centre and specific Site Briefs.
Inner Circle’s multidisciplinary approach was critical to achieving a positive result. A team of Inner Circle experts in planning, urban design, and architecture created documents which extracted the essential points of all strategic and planning policy previous undelivered plans, combining them with a design and feasibility analysis for each site. The final result was specific and detailed, yet not prescriptive, so that the Council could unlock economic development and create a better place for the community.