A multi-million pound regeneration project which will see a pub demolished and a community centre moved to make way for a town’s first new council-built homes in almost three decades was agreed last night (Wednesday).

The Comet: The community centre in Archer Road is set to move to Hampson ParkThe community centre in Archer Road is set to move to Hampson Park (Image: Archant)

Plans for the Archer Road neighbourhood centre in Stevenage were unanimously agreed by all members of Stevenage Borough Council, in what has been described as a “landmark” decision.

The project will see the demolition of six three-bedroom flats above the shops and The King Pin pub, which closed in May.

The Pin Green Community Centre opposite the pub will also be replaced with a new community facility based at Hampson Park.

The vacated space at the neighbourhood centre will be used to build up to 30 energy efficient homes available for social rent, as well as extra retail units to go alongside the existing convenience store and pharmacy.

The plans also include extra parking facilities for residents and visitors.

Stevenage Borough Council leader Sharon Taylor said: “I am delighted we have been able to take this landmark decision as it means we will be offering the first new council-built homes for almost 30 years and taking forward work for a much-needed facelift of Archer Road.”

Councillor Ann Webb, executive member for housing, said: “It’s great news for local residents and businesses who have told us they want improvements for the area and have been involved in the proposals from the start. It’s also a positive step toward realising our long-term ambitions to build more new housing in Stevenage and deliver better community facilities for our growing town.

“We will continue to work closely with residents and commercial tenants during the project to ensure there is as little disruption as possible.”

A number of feasibility studies have been carried out over the past few years, but last night’s meeting held in private was the first time a regeneration project has been agree.

Jo Walker, who lives in one of the flats earmarked for demolition, said: “I would love them to knock the flats down and just get on with it. It feels like we’ve been in limbo. I know there have been complications, but to wait this long is a joke.”

About the possibility of the community centre moving, she added: “Hampson Park is the perfect place for a community centre, but on the flip side what does that mean for the older people living here that go to the centre for their lunch and for coffee mornings? They may not be able to get there.”

Demolition work will begin on The King Pin shortly while work to find a developer for the project continues.

A public consultation on the designed proposals will then be held, and once agreed, plans are expected to be put to the council’s planning and development committee next year.