Learning from the community

We have been in conversation with you, the local community, over the past five years to understand your needs and hopes now and for the future. This has informed our vision.
As we look to the future, we want to continue that conversation and work in partnership with you as we bring together a plan for East Hemel that delivers what you want and need.

Engagement Timeline


East Hemel public engagement launch
First public consultation

c.1,000 local residents


Second public consultation

c.1,000 local residents


East Hemel Forum launch


Government grants Hemel Garden Communities 'Garden' status

First round of public perception polling


Focus groups with young people

Two groups of 8-10 young people (aged 16-26) from St Albans, Hemel Hempstead and Rebourn


Second round of public perception polling.

500+ members of the public


East Hemel vision work created.

Hannah Fear appointed as dedicated Community Partnership Manager by The Crown Estate.



We have developed relationships with many local environmental, heritage and community groups who continue to provide valuable insights and recomendations as the vision evolves.

What we learnt:

We want to make sure that East Hemel is a place that is inclusive and delivers for everyone. Based on our conversations, we have learned about what is important to people living in our community now and what will be important to you in the future

We need to:


  • To offer greater accessibility, with more local public transport
  • To have more sustainable modes of transport
  • To increase the amount of affordable housing
  • To create more jobs for local residents
  • To improve access to economic opportunities for younger people


  • Green space as much as possible
  • Wildlife as much as possible
  • The community feel – design must be in-keeping with the local area
  • The safety of all, especially children and the elderly


  • An enhanced local economy, with local employment opportunities and support for local businesses to grow, thrive and innovate
  • A more sustainable community to meet climate change demands, with environmental stewardship
  • Increased and enhanced biodiversity
  • Accessible green space for everyone, including new play areas
  • Exemplary design, including for all affordable housing


Learning lessons from history

The Crown Estate first acquired the Gorhambury Estate in 1931. Since then, learning about the area’s history has helped us to understand how we can best respect and build upon its legacies together.

Pioneering spirit

Hemel Hempstead was one of the country’s first ‘New Towns’. It was landscape architect Sir Geoffrey Jellicoe’s original ‘town in a park’ which not only responded to the housing problem of the day but also represented a bold experiment in finding a better way of living and opened up the countryside for the many. Although not everything in Jellicoe’s vision came to fruition, his New Town paved the way for the future and signalled the pioneering spirit of Hemel – something that continues to inspire our vision for East Hemel as a place with a strong entrepreneurial spirit and a legacy in smart food production and putting children first.

A place for children

Hemel has long been a place with the best interests of children at its heart. Those who were evacuees to the area during The Blitz recall the beauty of the landscape from their childhoods as a greener place, and many residents remember events such as the Great Carnival, with its fireworks and funfair in Gadebridge Park. That is why we will protect and enhance the stories and places that make East Hemel special, recreating classic events which bring our community together, creating a safe space for our children to grow up and increasing accessibility to good quality, useable green space.

Innovation in food

The economic history in Hemel Hempstead has long been closely connected with food, through its grain markets, cherry orchards and exports relying on Hemel Hempstead’s connectivity to London and Birmingham. Self-sufficient food production was also central to the vision for the Garden City Movement, from which the New Town Movement grew – something at the heart of our vision for East Hemel as we create places that feed and nurture the next generation.

Sign up to our newsletter for the latest updates