Major developer set to be revealed as Stevenage regeneration to begin in earnest
Despite the doubters, the long, long-awaited regeneration of Stevenage town centre is finally set to begin in earnest – with Stevenage Borough Council set to unveil a major international developer who will pump £350 million into rebuilding the town’s heart.
The Comet has seen the first exclusive preview of the scheme and will unveil the identity of the high-profile firm, which will be spearheading the regeneration, in our February 22 edition.
The core ‘SG1’ area – which consists of Town Square, Mecca Bingo, The Plaza, the existing library, Swingate and Southgate car park – is a new public services hub which will contain a library, health support services, an exhibition space, cafes and new more compact council offices.
The aim is to streamline public services and create a one-stop shop for most services people need access to.
Town Square will be regenerated and a second square will be created, as well as a new linear park.
There will be space for new cafes, bars and shops in a bid to keep people in the town centre after traditional opening hours – a challenge faced by most UK towns.
New flats and homes will be created in the central area complimenting areas like the nearby Skyline scheme which have already been renovated by private developers.
The aim is that these residents will be able to use and enjoy the new town centre throughout the day and evening.
The 1960s heritage and culture of the town will also be drawn on in the design of the new buildings and in new tourism opportunities to help people understand the important role played by the first post-war new town.
The council believes the SG1 scheme will act as a catalyst to bring private developers in to rejuvenate many other areas including the Matalan site, which is already subject to a planning application, Queensway – which has recently drawn interest from new landlords – and result in more regeneration schemes like that at Park Place springing up.
The council had originally hoped to begin its regeneration around a newly built railway station, but plans for this were thwarted after government funding could not be secured.
However the council team is confident developers will come forward for the station in the wake of the SG1 scheme.
The leader of Stevenage Borough Council, Councillor Sharon Taylor, said: “We are well on our way to transforming the town centre for the people of Stevenage and will have an exciting announcement to make over the next two weeks. We’re pleased with the progress of the SG1 scheme and are on track for construction to start in the town centre next year.”