What does the future hold for Stevenage and its people? Earlier this month, the Comet reflected on 75 years of the first new town, and looked at the immense changes in our town since then.

We are arguably in the midst of one of the biggest changes since the designation in 1946 - which brought new homes, schools, and the first pedestrianised shopping precinct in the country.

It seems every week we're reporting on another large-scale development going through the motions of the planning process - not least the major town centre regeneration which will completely overhaul the existing and, some might say, no longer fit for purpose new town.

Love it or loathe it - change is afoot for Stevenage, along with the rest of the country. The pandemic spurred on the decline of an already dwindling high street shopping model as we rely on online platforms to deliver our goods.

The current regeneration looks to diversify the town centre, taking it away from just shopping and cafés, but using the space for new homes and restaurants to boost the night time economy. So perhaps in another 75 years - when no doubt robots will be hand delivering shopping to people's doors - our town centre will still be of use to us.

The council housing shortage, and often unattainable cost to buy, leaves young working adults in the town - and no doubt across the UK - stuck living with parents, using most of their salaries on privately renting, or moving away to somewhere more affordable.

Last year there were more than 2,000 people on Stevenage Borough Council's housing register vying for a home, when the council lets no more than 300 homes a year.

The Comet: Swathes of open countryside will make way for the 800 homes and a primary school in Stevenage's Forster CountrySwathes of open countryside will make way for the 800 homes and a primary school in Stevenage's Forster Country (Image: Brendan Falvey)

The elephant in the room is that major housing developments have been causing a stir regarding Stevenage's green spaces - including the controversial plans for 800 new homes on Green Belt land known as Forster Country.

While we're faced with a housing shortage, we're also faced with a responsibility to protect our green spaces, countryside and planet as a whole.

There's no doubt that Stevenage will continue to grow in size. Hopefully, that growth makes way for opportunities to live, work and enjoy the town for residents of the future.