Work starts on Stevenage Costco ahead of planned July 2019 opening
PUBLISHED: 15:46 11 July 2018 | UPDATED: 15:46 11 July 2018
Work has finally begun on Stevenage's Costco store, which is now set to open in July 2019.
Builders JF Finnegan have started work to turn the Grade II-listed former John Lewis distribution centre off Cavendish Road into a 14,030-square-metre megastore with parking for 611 cars.
It is more than two years since Stevenage Borough Council’s planning committee unanimously approved the Costco plans for the site, prompting an enormous and mostly positive public response.
Costco’s James Cheesemore initially told the Comet the firm hoped to open in “the summer of 2017”, but revised this last march to “the latter half of 2018”.
Supporters of the store said it could bring up to 250 new jobs over the next five years, as well as new trade and investment into Stevenage.
Opponents, mostly living in Angotts Mead on the other side of Gunnels Wood Road, argued that the development could clog up the area with unmanageable traffic and pollution – a view shared at the time by council leader Sharon Taylor, who unsuccessfully urged the planning committee to reject the application.
Under the Costco plans the building will retain its Grade II-listed idiosyncratic reinforced concrete roof, designed by the noted architect Felix Candela. The main entry point will be on the site’s northern side, from Gunnels Wood Road. A junction with traffic lights will be created next to it.
The closest existing Costco to Stevenage is its Watford branch, which also houses Costco UK’s head office.