WHBC Chief Executive set to depart for new role

Chief Executive of Welwyn Hatfield Borough Council, Rob Bridge, is set to step down this autumn for a new post at North Northampton Unitary Council, subject to approval at a meeting of the newly formed unitary authority next week.

Rob Bridge

In his three years in the borough, Rob has worked tirelessly to oversee the successful delivery of a wide range of projects to make Welwyn Hatfield a better place to live, work and do business. These include:

  • Securing a £10.6m investment from Homes England to fund further residential-led regeneration of Hatfield and Welwyn Garden City town centres.
  • Unveiling a revamped town centre square in Hatfield, funded by a £1.2m grant from Hertfordshire Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP), part of a wider £6m LEP-funded investment in the town.
  • Delivering a new, hugely popular £2.2m wet and dry adventure and play facility in Stanborough Park, Welwyn Garden City, this summer.
  • Attracting a £750k LEP funding boost to set-up HatTech business centre, providing flexible office space for small and medium-sized businesses, entrepreneurs and solo workers.
  • Overseeing an Affordable Housing Programme that delivered hundreds of new properties for local people on lower incomes, and the first council-built homes in a generation.

During Rob's time as Chief Executive, the council has embarked on an ambitious modernisation programme to ensure services are delivered in the best way possible for local residents, businesses and communities.

Cllr Tony Kingsbury, Leader of Welwyn Hatfield Borough Council, said:

I have worked very closely with Rob throughout his time at Welwyn Hatfield and I am pleased for him that he is taking on this exciting new challenge. He has made a big impact in the three years he has been here, and I am very grateful to him for the commitment and passion he has brought to the role in that time.

As I have said in my recent messages to all staff, it is more important than ever that we continue to drive forward with our modernisation programme and other major projects. We have a strong team here and we are well placed to do so.

Rob will be Chief Executive for the new North Northamptonshire Unitary Council, which has been created by government and will serve the areas of Wellingborough, Kettering, Corby and East Northants with district and county services from April 2021. 

Rob commented:

It has been an absolute honour and privilege serving as Welwyn Hatfield's Chief Executive, working with our diverse communities who care so passionately about where they live.

I have served alongside a very talented and committed team of officers and members during my time here, including former leader, Cllr Mandy Perkins who we sadly lost far too soon, and current council leader, Cllr Tony Kingsbury. Both have been remarkable in their ability to combine such a wealth of knowledge and experience with a deep compassion and commitment to their communities.

I cannot thank everyone enough for all their work over what has been an extremely busy three years.

Discussions will take place in the coming weeks on the way forward to appoint Rob Bridge's successor.