Town's multi-million pound investment is 'once in a generation' opportunity
- Credit: Archant
More than £37 million worth of investment will be coming to help realise "radical and innovative" change in Stevenage, after the town successfully bid for its share of central government grant funds.
Stevenage Development Board, set up in 2020 to organise government funding through the MyTown initiative, has confirmed it has been awarded tens of millions in grant funding from central government.
After submitting a comprehensive bid and passing through a detailed government review, Adrian Hawkins OBE, chair of Stevenage Development Board, announced the town had been awarded £37.5 million.
The successful bid aimed to boost the growth of businesses in Stevenage which have a national and international base. The heritage of the UK's inaugural new town was also a key focus and it will now offer the chance to reflect on and reinterpret this for future generations.
Mr Hawkins said: "Our vision was ambitious, our plan clearly deliverable, and the message was simple: Investing this money in the future of Stevenage is an investment in the future of our country, of our children, and will unleash more than £600m of private investment to supercharge UK businesses, as we once again unify in a time of great national need and set a new blueprint for innovation.
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“I am delighted to announce this, not least because Stevenage is the town where I grew up in a council house, the town which gave me the chance to build my own business and a place which I hold so dear.
“This will now see not just an investment in buildings and infrastructure, but an investment in the people, to improve their lives and to boost their skills to enable them to engage with local employers and local employment.
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“It is urgent that we now consider how we accommodate, expand and deliver skills to our important science-based industries in the Town and ensure that they have the environment to develop, expand and employ locally. The businesses and sectors located in Stevenage are competing on a global level, and their success is intrinsically linked to our national economy - our residents simply cannot and will not be left behind.”
Projects which have been submitted relate to a number of key areas including connectivity, arts and culture, regeneration and land use and skills and enterprise.
Cllr Sharon Taylor OBE, leader of Stevenage Borough Council, commented: "We have an unprecedented opportunity, a once in a generation moment to re-vitalise the town and provide outstanding opportunities for local people and businesses.
"Proposals that will create jobs, a thriving heart of the town, support the growth of world class businesses and boost the national economy. A unique chance to accelerate the regeneration of the town centre, providing vibrancy and places for people to enjoy.
"The plan will build resilience for Stevenage in the face of the threats presented by COVID-19 and recession, by providing creative employment and upskilling for local people.
"We have a united, broad and strong partnership, pride in our heritage, determination to make regeneration happen, and the passion to deliver a pioneering future."
Mark Bretton, chair of Hertfordshire LEP and the LEP Network, commented: “As the UK’s first new town, Stevenage holds the legacy of Hertfordshire’s pioneering spirit.
"There has never before been such a strong collective determination to build on this proud heritage and rejuvenate the town for the 21st century."
David Williams, leader at Hertfordshire County Council and chair of Hertfordshire Growth Board, added: “This Town Deal Investment Plan will accelerate Stevenage’s game changing regeneration strategy.
"Stevenage’s clear sighted ambition to evolve from pioneer post war new town to a 21st century national hub for science, technology and advanced manufacturing excellence will be delivered faster and with greater certainty.
"Hertfordshire County Council shares the ambition for Stevenage to exceed its potential and has supported this endeavour as an active partner from the start."