A leading Labour councillor has welcomed proposals to spend £20,000 putting the most deprived area in Hertfordshire under the microscope.

Cowley Hill ward in Borehamwood ranks among the top 10 per cent most deprived areas in the country and highest in the county, according to the latest ‘Indices of Multiple Deprivation’ (IMD) data for 2019.

The IMD data, which was published in September, divides the country into 32,844 pockets of land, and then ranks those areas according to deprivation – taking into account measures of income, employment, education, health, crime, barriers to housing and services and living environment.

This year the Cowley Hill ward, which focuses around Leeming Road, ranked as the 2,503rd most deprived area in the country – 546 places higher than in 2015.

Now councillors in Hertsmere have agreed to fund a detailed study to establish the causes of deprivation in Cowley Hill.

The findings will be used to draw up recommendations, to address challenges in the area in a targeted way.

Council leader Morris Bright stressed during the meeting of the council's executive, held on November 13, that the area in the deprivation rankings was a small part of Cowley Hill – an 'area within an area' and not the whole.

He said the study would drill down to see what could be brought forward to improve the situation.

Labour group leader and Cowley Hill ward councillor Jeremy Newmark said: "This is an important intervention. Over the past few decades a vast amount of money has been designated for this area and yet the net result is that things have got worse.

"We asked Hertsmere to acknowledge that you can’t just throw money at a problem. A solid evidence and research base will be critical in ensuring that any future plans have positive and enduring impact.

"We would like to thank the interim managing director and Cllr Paul Morris for accepting the invitation of the three ward councillors to visit the Leeming Road area, speak to people and businesses and see the situation at first hand.

"We are grateful for their swift action in taking forward our recommendation to commission this research. We will relentlessly pursue our campaign to improve things for people in the Cowley Hill Ward and ensure that the findings of this research are implemented in partnership with other key agencies."