Business briefing on economic development measures

Posted: 5th December 2012, 3:23pm


Business briefing on economic development measures

Business leaders in St Albans District heard today (5 December) about plans to support the local economy.

St Albans City & District Council were guests at a business breakfast organised by St Albans and District Chamber of Commerce. The event was the latest in a number of annual in-depth business breakfast briefings presented by the Council over the last few years.

The Council has prioritised four main areas of focus for economic development. These are: retail and the public realm, a focus on the District’s core strengths, being business friendly and development of the visitor economy. 

Chamber members heard about the Council’s plan to work actively to boost shopping and the visitor economy in the District.

The Council is working with retailers and local property owners, investing in the public realm and identifying sites to offer free one-hour on street parking. It is also improving signage and way-finding for visitors in the city.

To boost the visitor economy, the Council is investing in the promotion of the District as a visitor destination. It has recently launched a new visitor website and is developing a new visitor strategy to help focus investment in the visitor economy.

The Council is continuing to support the Retailer of the Year Awards and the Chamber of Commerce Business Awards. We also support the Hertfordshire Federation of Small Business Awards and the Food and Drink Festival to help local businesses raise their profile. We will also invest in festivals and other celebratory events in 2013 designed to bring visitors into the city centre.

The Business Breakfast audience heard how the Council is working to capitalise on the District’s strengths and develop its opportunities.

We are developing a Green Triangle – a specialist green business cluster - underpinned by local centres of environmental excellence. These are the Building Research Establishment in Bricket Wood, Rothamsted Institute in Harpenden and the University of Hertfordshire in Hatfield. We are working to promote the huge contribution that these organisations make to the local area and their high-skill, high-value employment opportunities. We hope to capitalise on this green business cluster to encourage more environmental businesses to set up operations in the area.

 Professional services, especially accountancy, legal and consultancy business and creative and cultural industries are also well represented locally. The Council is examining the potential for the District to become a local cluster for these sectors too. We are, for example, supporting a Private Members Bill which would help bring more film crews to Hertfordshire.


Cllr Julian Daly, Leader of the Council, commented: “Councillor Beric Read and I have been meeting individually with representatives of key local businesses over the last eighteen months to listen to their views and concerns.

“Key areas highlighted during these meetings include access to broadband, planning, parking and the need for flexible office space. Issues associated with high house prices in the District have also been raised. 

“The Council is working with BT to ensure broadband is accessible throughout the District. High house prices are a fact of life for many localities in the south-east of England. One of the things we want to do is to encourage more two- bedroom accommodation so people can get their foot on the property ladder. We will be doing our best to manage sustainable development in a controlled and coherent way, whilst still protecting our Green Belt land. We will be taking forward the other business concerns identified as priority areas.”

Councillor contact:

Cllr Julian Daly, Executive Leader and Portfolio Holder for Resources, St Albans City and District Council, Tel: 01582 715645, Mobile: 07775 657200, E-mail:

Contact for the media:

Claire Wainwright, Principal Communications and Marketing Officer, St Albans City and District Council, Tel: 01727 819572, E-mail:



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