Town’s carbuncle

On reading the article in The Comet I feel compelled to give you my opinion as a resident of Fox Road. What a marvellous picture the artist paints, without a thought for us living nearby. We have endured this carbuncle on the town for too many years and

On reading the article in The Comet I feel compelled to give you my opinion as a resident of Fox Road.

What a marvellous picture the artist paints, without a thought for us living nearby. We have endured this carbuncle on the town for too many years and still they want to drag it on.

There are several reasons for my objection to the idea. The first being where are all these people going to park? Let me guess Fox Road and Penn Road, just the same as when it was the Manulife building until we complained to the council. This of course would be a 24 hour operation so it would be seven days a week, 24 hours a day.

Secondly the artist has painted floodlights up the side of the building. Imagine trying to sleep if you were one of the residents in the flats that are very close or any of the houses in the bottom of Penn Road.

Thirdly the picture shows a car stopping at the front of the building where there is no space for cars or coaches to stop without blocking one lane of the dual carriageway, an accident waiting to happen.

All in all there is only one thing to do with that building - pull the thing down!!!!!

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And the sooner the better.

Finally do I think the concerns of those of us living in the shadow of this building will be taken into consideration? Well, pigs might fly!


* Many thanks for publishing an artist's impression of a refurbished Manulife building on the front page of last week's edition.

Apart from a differently shaped set of windows on the top five floors and a more cubic appearance overall the proposed upgrade is just as grotesque as the present monstrosity.

There is no indication of the practicalities. St Georges Way is an important cross-town dual carriageway with no stopping or parking allowed. It is frequently very busy and at times congested. In order for vehicles to drop guests off at a main entrance to a hotel there would need to be a slip road or a through flow arrival and exit system. Having arrived at the hotel by car, where is the car park or is there a plan to sell off and demolish the Fire and Rescue Service station? One hundred and forty rooms, conference facilities plus staff indicate a need for around 200 car parking spaces. Where is the service area and how is it planned for daily deliveries, maintenance and refuse vehicles to access that part of the building?

Once again I raise the question does the town really need a large Holiday Inn type hotel at the edge of a residential area. Please Borough Council stop trying to flatter us with pretty pictures and explain how the complex logistics of such a hotel could be made to work in this very limited location.


* Further to your article in this week's Comet regarding the Manulife building.

With all the debate and political discussion regarding the quantity of new affordable housing required for the Stevenage area would it not make much more sense to either convert the ex-Manulife building or demolish it and rebuild affordable apartments for key workers such as hospital staff or teachers.

This would seem much more sensible than converting it into another hotel of which Stevenage already has too many as can be verified by the fact that the existing ones are already having to reduce prices to attract custom.

If a prime town centre hotel cannot gain sufficient custom to fill its rooms at full rate, what point in having another, after all Stevenage does not have a great deal to offer visitors with its run down shopping centre and lack of worthy leisure attractions, this being said by a resident born and bred in the town.


* Is the Manulife building to become the laughing stock of Hertfordshire?

The artist's impression shows Bluebirds Holdings' awful vision of the future of this eyesore by adding floodlights to this hideous 1960s white elephant, thus ensuring the local residents a 24/7 floodlit opportunity to view this monstrosity that even darkness can no longer hide.

Artistic licence is also given to the fact that only one car is shown parked in the Manulife minimalist car park of this proposed and unwanted 140-bedroom hotel. Are the residents to again suffer the parking chaos similar to when this building was used as offices causing problems between 9am and 5pm, now to be extended to all hours?

Finally St George's Church with its beautiful stained-glass window is again seen squeezed under the dark shadow of this revolting building.

Stevenage Borough Council, please bring the curtain down on this 40 year tragedy with a compulsory purchase order, knock the Manulife building down and regenerate the area with low-rise affordable housing for the young residents of Stevenage which is desperately needed, unlike another hotel.


* In my opinion, there should be no building of the proposed size; it would be as the present building is, completely at odds with the church and the nearby gardens. I would like to see the present gardens extended and improved, perhaps with the inclusion of a quality cafe or restaurant, with open-air facilities.

Not, repeat not, another bar or public house.

DAVID CLARKE, Mildmay Road, Stevenage