£50m Park Place redevelopment is a sign of things to come for Stevenage town centre
- Credit: Archant
These exclusive images of the proposed £50 million redevelopment of Stevenage’s Park Place backed by an investment bank give hope that some of the cash needed to regenerate the town centre has arrived.
A planning application for 14 to 39 Park Place in the town centre is currently with Stevenage Borough Council, with the proposal to build a further three storeys on top of the existing three storeys and create 202 homes, as well as retain a retail element.
In an exclusive interview with Ajaz Ahmed, the managing partner of investment bank MBU Capital, which acquired the site in 2014, told the Comet this is just the beginning of the bank’s financial investment in the regeneration of Stevenage.
He said: “We are working quite closely with Stevenage Borough Council, not just on Park Place, but also on other schemes,” he said.
“We would love to get involved with more and more schemes, which are part of the wider strategy.”
Mr Ahmed, who lives in Knebworth, added: “Stevenage is my local shopping centre and we have lived here as a family for 15 years.
“I have been monitoring the state of our town centre and started to feel sad seeing it so run down.
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“Retailers were getting very concerned. Footfall was falling rapidly. Losing the big stores – such as Marks & Spencer and BHS – was of great concern to us.
“We want to see some life breathed back into Stevenage.”
While Park Place is an area people have long been complaining needs regenerating, some are concerned six storeys is too high, while others are worried about the strain on services such as GP surgeries.
If given the go-ahead, the development is expected to take 18 months.
Park Place is not officially part of redevelopment plans being put together by the Stevenage First partnership, but council leader Sharon Taylor said it is exactly the kind of development it is welcoming.
SF is currently drawing up plans to remodel the station followed by the town plaza area. These plans include total redevelopment of the station with a fifth platform, a new theatre, public buildings, a library and community. Details are available at www.hertfordshirelep.com/Stevenage_First_Partnership.aspx.