Stevenage is pivotal to county’s future economic success, say business leaders

The LEP Conference is taking place at GSK.

The LEP Conference is taking place at GSK. - Credit: Archant

Stevenage could play a pivotal role in Hertfordshire’s future prosperity thanks to its globally significant cluster of industries.

Hertfordshire LEP (Local Economic Partnership) made the prediction after releasing its draft Local Industrial Strategy for consultation.

The document sets out future scenarios for the county, including building a 'science corridor' along the A1(M) - from Hatfield through Stevenage towards north Hertfordshire - to tap into the Oxford-Cambridge-London triangle.

The report states that Hertfordshire, and Stevenage in particular, has excelled over the past decade, with very strong advanced engineering credentials and world-class expertise in space science.

Hertfordshire is considered as a world-class hub for the development of cell and gene therapies thanks to the unique co-location of GSK, Stevenage Bioscience Catalyst and Cell and Gene Therapy Catapult's Manufacturing Centre.


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The LEP will be expanding upon its findings at its annual conference on Monday, which takes place at GSK in Stevenage.

Key speakers include Paul Life, head of scientific operations at GSK; Keith Thompson, chief executive of Cell and Gene Therapy Catapult; and Sally Ann Forsyth, head of Stevenage Bioscience Catalyst.

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Bim Afolami, MP for Hitchin and Harpenden, and Cllr David Williams, the leader of Hertfordshire County Council and a Hertfordshire LEP board member, will also be speaking about the wider implications of growth on the county's people and places.

The event, which has become a key fixture in the Herts business calendar, will see around 200 representatives from major corporates and research and education institutes attending together with local authorities, SMEs, not-for-profit and membership organisations.

Herts LEP chair Mark Bretton said: "This conference gives us the opportunity to share the progress we have made and our collective vision for Hertfordshire's long-term future. The strategy sets out future scenarios based on extensive analysis and engagement carried out by the LEP over nearly two years and represents one of the biggest opportunities yet to alter the county's future path and make the economy as resilient as possible."

Stevenage Bioscience Catalyst chief executive Sally Ann Forsyth added: "I am delighted to have been invited to speak at this pivotal event for the region and discuss the continued support of the Hertfordshire LEP for the life science sector. This has strengthened Stevenage's position as a globally recognised hub for cell and gene therapy, attracting international companies, investment and jobs to the area."

Hertfordshire LEP will set out how it will play to its key sector strengths to deliver a local industrial strategy for the county. The final strategy is expected to be published early next year.

To register your interest in attending the conference contact info@hertfordshirelep.co.uk.

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