Tackling housing delivery: February’s meeting
At our first event of the year, we reflected on the HIDB’s impact across 2022, but critically, looked ahead to sustaining that momentum into 2023 and beyond.
Despite economic headwinds, the event underpinned real positivity and eagerness to facilitate growth across the county.
Meeting Place’s Chris Criscione was joined in a panel discussion with Neil Farnsworth (Cala Homes), Jayne Hall (Hertfordshire Building Control), David Rowsell (Morgan Sindall) and Helen Town, (Watford Community Housing).
What rang clear – across private and public sector attendees – was a clear ambition to deliver more homes and growth in the county, but a sector which increasingly feels restrained by a lack of direction and clarity from central government.
Some key talking points included the Council’s Development Charter (currently in the early stages), which is hoped will set a real benchmark for the industry – beyond pure planning compliance – delivering stewardship and rewarding best-practice.
Despite recent price hikes and inflationary pressures, it was observed the industry is starting to see welcome green shoots of normalised growth and less market volatility. However, against the sunnier economic outlook, an urgent effort was identified as a need to bridge the skills gap.
There was also a clear call to the government for greater clarity and direction when it comes to policy – especially in the wake of the draft NPPF report which removed homebuilding mandates.
By joining together as one group, events like HIDB will speak to the government with one voice on behalf of Hertfordshire, delivering growth and putting the region in the best possible position to tackle economic headwinds.
We’ll be bringing that collaborative ethos to the fore this month; coming together to write to the Secretary of State to address concerns.
Last, but by no means least, we gave a heartfelt thanks to Patsy Dell, the Executive Director of Sustainable Growth at Hertfordshire County Council and Director of the Hertfordshire Growth Board, who will be retiring later in the year – with the indelible contribution she leaves behind on HIDB and broader impact across the county plain for all to see.