I'm a big fan of the regeneration of Stevenage town centre. There's just one problem with the project - there aren't enough flats.

Many of you reading this will probably think that's a joke, but I promise you that it isn't.

House prices have risen to astronomical levels over the last few decades, while wages have increased at a far lower rate. An entire generation has been locked out of the housing market as a result.

The average property in Stevenage now costs the equivalent of 8.4 times the average annual salary in the town - that's a rise from 5.1 times the average annual salary in 2003.

Housing has become significantly less affordable, and the percentage of young people owning their own homes has collapsed.

For many, the prospect of ever owning a property seems remote unless they find a particularly well-paid job or are given money by parents or grandparents. Most people agree that this isn't a good thing.

How do we fix this? By building. Fewer properties means more competition for the limited supply, with bidding wars and high prices ensuing. Building more homes fixes this, helping supply meet the huge demand.

Most people agree. They'll say "we need to build, we just need to do it in the right places".

That's true. And what better place than an already built-on town centre, next to excellent transport links, and with most of your everyday needs covered by shops and facilities right on your doorstep?

Many people have reservations about, for example, the decision to build houses on Forster Country - a beautiful piece of countryside which is being destroyed for the benefit of the people who move into the new homes there. Whether you agree with that decision or not, there's an undeniable trade-off.

That doesn't really exist with the town centre, where old and unlovely buildings are being replaced by snazzy new developments.

When I was a kid growing up in Stevenage, I quickly learned that the town centre was somewhere that was best avoided at night. It was unpleasant and almost deserted. Everybody complained that something needed to be done - something more than the ludicrous 'g-string' canopy that cost £58,000.

Now, something is being done. More restaurants and night-time venues are moving in, making the town centre feel safer in the evenings. Geek Retreat, among others, provide a shining example of how a wider variety of businesses can help bring a sense of life and community to the town centre.

There's a reason why property prices are high in London, other major cities, and in town centres. People want to live in these places, surrounded by things to do, places to shop and eat, and people to meet.

Building plenty of flats in the town centre will help turn it into an area that offers these amenities, without directly impacting those of us who prefer to live in a quieter part of the town.

It will create a ready-made customer base for any new shops looking to open in the town centre, where we all want there to be a thriving retail offering.

What could be more likely to increase footfall in the town centre than to build 3,000 flats, with 3,000 more households spending their time and money there?

It's never going to be perfect - the flats aren't cheap, successful shops in the Forum are having to move away, and it's unclear what will happen to the indoor market. But the theory is right, and the more flats are built, the more the town centre economy will be boosted.

Some people criticise the regeneration for attracting people from London, rather than being designed for locals. But how many of you reading this article have a long family history in Stevenage?

For most of us, our links with Stevenage began only after the Second World War, and many of us moved here from London, or have parents or grandparents who did so. And for decades, many Stevenage residents have commuted into London for work.

These people helped make this town what it is - they contributed to its wonderful community spirit, spent their money here, and made it a great place to live.

Stevenage's expansion as a new town after the War was specifically designed to solve a housing crisis. At the time, some existing residents referred to it as 'Silkingrad', expressing their discontent with the development plans that were led by Lewis Silkin.

How many of us now would say that he was wrong? How many of us can say that we have not benefited from his decision to build Stevenage up despite objections from residents? And who are we to deny other people the same opportunity to live in Stevenage that we have benefited from?