A planning application has been approved to demolish the former bus station in Stevenage town centre to make way for an "exciting project" that will "preserve and enhance the character and heritage significance of the area".

Following the opening of the newly-constructed Stevenage Bus Interchange on Lytton Way, the bus station on Danestrete is redundant.

Stevenage Borough Council's planning and development committee has now granted permission for the bus station to be demolished to make way for a new public square with a performance stage, flexible multi-use space and landscaping.

The approved works are only temporary though, as the area currently occupied by the bus station will eventually be redeveloped to become a public services hub, residential development and new Garden Square as part of the 20-year Stevenage town centre regeneration programme worth £1billion.

The planning application, submitted by designers BDP on behalf of Stevenage Borough Council, explained: "This area falls into phase two of the plans, and so will not be utilised for approximately two years, creating an opportunity to transform a significant empty open space into a town centre attraction until it is required for development.

"It is an exciting opportunity to temporarily use the redundant bus station as a dynamic public space, improve linkages to the town square and provide public realm improvements that will preserve and enhance the character and heritage significance of the area.

"While temporary, they have the potential to make an important contribution to the health of the town centre, and support local businesses and vibrancy while the multi-phase SG1 development is taken forward."

The application was informed by feedback through a public consultation, with the community asked to share their views on what leisure activities, events and food facilities should be provided in the space.

Popular choices included music performances, ice skating and rollerskating, art and craft activities, rock climbing and crazy golf, as well as a food court and street food.

Stevenage town centre manager, Ausra Bitinaite, said: "The final project is very exciting and a great benefit for the town, hopefully attracting more people to spend more time here."

Construction is expected to begin in the summer.