history+

It is the former site of the renowned Hatfield Aerodrome, which was home to de Havilland, Hawker Siddley and later British Aerospace (BAE).

These companies were responsible for many aviation breakthroughs, including the Comet, the world's first commercial jetliner, halving travel times from London to New York.

Hatfield Business Park's modern history began in the 1920's when Sir Geoffrey de Havilland moved his aviation company from its original base in Edgware. The first substantial buildings opened in 1933, although planes began flying from the site in 1930.

Over 75 years since its establishment as the heart of commerce and industry in Hatfield, the new Business Park is still home to an impressive array of businesses. It has grown into one of the UK's most established and successful mixed-use business arenas.

The earliest projects to be developed at Hatfield included the Albatross Airliner, which was based on a composite ply and balsa wood construction. At the outbreak of WWII deHavilland's experience with the Albatross was used to great effect, creating the Mosquito Bomber - also known as the Wooden Wonder. With its wooden fuselage and Rolls Royce Merlin engines, the plane was renowned amongst the Luftwaffe for its ability to outrun their fighter planes. By the end of the war the Mosquito had the lowest loss rate of any aircraft in RAF Bomber Command service during WWII.

After the war de Havilland resumed development of more advanced planes and engines, including jet propelled craft. This culminated in the creation of the Comet, the worlds first Jet Airliner. In 1958 it succeeded in halving the time in took to cross the Atlantic to just six hours. Following the Comet were the Trident which was developed at the site and early versions of the Airbus A300. At its pinnacle the Aerodrome employed over 10,000 people

BAE's announcement to close the Aerodrome down in 1993 resulted in the loss of 8,000 jobs, having a devastating impact on the borough. Prior to it's closure and over the course of the 1990s Goodman (known as Arlington at the time) developed around 1m sq ft of distribution space on the former site of the Dynamic Engineering business to the north of the site. These buildings were constructed along the road known as Frobisher Way, named after the passenger carrying Frobisher, variant of the Albatross. Occupiers now include Royal Mail, DHL, Booker and Computacenter. Three office buildings were also constructed for BAE in a development know as Bishop Square, named after the Comet's designer. Alongside this new development sat the 1.8m sq ft of production space, legacy of the former Aerodrome.

Soon after its closure Goodman began the task of regenerating the site in partnership with the local authority to provide a sustainable community, bringing much needed jobs and housing back to the Welwyn Hatfield Borough. Outline planning permission for the site's development was granted in December 2000, giving consent for over 2m sq ft of business space, a district centre, school, university, 1000 homes and a country park. It also established a range of uses for the listed buildings.

Development began with a heavy remediation and asbestos removal programme, demolition of the production space and the difficult task of breaking up the runway. 2km of runways were broken up. With 50m wide and 1m thick concrete to work through a purpose built concrete crushing plant was built to carry out the task. The first construction project to start was the infrastructure programme at a cost of over £50m which included the spine roads, a strategic bus route and junction upgrade works off site. In addition an extensive S.106 Agreement was put in place to secure contributions of over £20m towards local education and transport.

Since the grant of planning permission the site has seen an additional 2.5m sq ft added to the 1m sq ft of distribution space and 2000 homes, 18 retail units, a car showroom, a hotel, a bus interchange, a police station, the University of Hertfordshire de Havilland Campus and Europe's Largest Health and Racquets complex constructed.

The Park is now one of the UK's most successful regeneration projects and the largest mixed use Park of its type. There are now over 10,000 people working on the park, with more to come

After securing planning consent in 2000, Hatfield Business Park has evolved into a sustainable community, directly generating more than 10,000 jobs for the local community. It is home to diverse business occupiers - from corporate HQs to logistics and cutting edge R&D, plus over 1,000 new residential units and the UK's leading business-facing university. Its impressive leisure facilities include the largest gym and racquets complex in Europe and an on-site amenity centre housing a number of places to eat and shop. The Galleria, one of the region's most successful out-of-town retail and leisure developments, is adjacent to the park.