A new Economic Development Strategy for St Albans District has been unveiled, focused around building a flourishing local economy to deliver a broad range of high-quality jobs.
Produced by St Albans City and District Council, it aims to make the most of opportunities for future growth, in particular in the enviro-tech and green science sectors.
The strategy says that St Albans District has one of the most vibrant local economies in Hertfordshire with 9,375 business enterprises and a highly skilled workforce. More than half (56.6 per cent) of residents are educated to degree level, compared to 38.6 per cent in Great Britain.
The Economic Development Strategy for St Albans District recognises this and is focused around three priorities:
- To promote the District’s strengths, by building a vibrant and thriving economy, with a focus on digital technology, professional services, environmental institutions, retail and the visitor economy.
- To identify the right skills, by ensuring educational and training opportunities are focused on developing a highly-skilled local workforce for future jobs.
- To provide the right infrastructure, by using the Council’s strategic planning role to secure high-quality office space and relevant support, from transport to digital services.
The strategy highlights significant potential for future economic growth and the creation of thousands of new jobs. There is a push to develop green science industries in the District. This has been initiated by the Green Triangle which is a collaboration between The Building Research Establishment (BRE), Rothamsted Research, the University of Hertfordshire, Oaklands College and the Council. The development of green science industries will be delivered through the multi-site Hertfordshire Enviro-Tech Enterprise Zone (EZ). It includes BRE and Rothamsted Research, as well as major sites at Maylands Business Park, east of Hemel Hempstead and close to junction 8 of the M1. The Council expects the EZ to create 8,000 to 12,000 new jobs in St Albans District in the next 25 years.
Cllr Alec Campbell, Leader of St Albans City and District Council, said: “The Council’s Economic Development Strategy sets outs the strengths of the local economy and the opportunities for growth. It also acknowledges some of the challenges faced by local businesses, for example, around recruitment and lack of suitable premises.
“Although unemployment is low, the majority of people work outside the District and there is pressure on office space from residential conversions.
“It is vitally important that we understand, encourage and support our local economy. It is right to support business to grow and provide a range of high-quality local jobs aligned with the resources and capabilities of the District.
“We will continue to listen to and work with local business, schools, colleges and the University of Hertfordshire in delivering our economic strategy.”
Covering the period 2018 to 2021, the Economic Development Strategy has been developed with the input of local partners. These include members of the Green Triangle, the City of Expertise professional services partnership, St Albans Visitor Partnership and St Albans Business Improvement District.
The Council will use the strategy to feed into Hertfordshire’s Local Industrial Strategy currently being developed by Hertfordshire’s Local Enterprise Partnership. The Government has tasked Local Enterprise Partnerships across the country to develop Local Industrial Strategies to support the national Industrial Strategy focused on increasing productivity.
A copy of the St Albans City & District Council’s Economic Development Strategy is available at: https://www.stalbans.gov.uk/business/Business-in-St-Albans/Support-for-Businesses/economic-development-strategy/default.aspx