Does Stevenage need more flats? That is the question we asked our readers in light of several separate plans to build flats on pockets of land in the town, and the answer was a resounding no.

Plans in the pipeline include 200 new flats with a building height of up to 15 storeys on the former Office Outlet site on Fairlands Way.

Planning permission has already been granted for 526 flats to be built on the Matalan site in Danestrete - the store permanently closed on Sunday to make way for the residential development - and for an eight-storey building of 64 apartments on the car park next to Six Hills House on the corner of Six Hills Way and London Road.

A planning application for 1,500 homes to the west of Stevenage, with proposed access through Meadway and Bessemer Drive, also includes several flat blocks.

More than 250 people commented on the Comet's story revealing the flats plan for the former Office Outlet site, with the overwhelming majority of the opinion that Stevenage does not need more flats.

Amanda Wright said: "Fast forward 20 years and it will be a concrete jungle with high rise flats on every bit of land they can squeeze them in.
"It will be more like a busy, overcrowded city than the little leafy town surrounded by countryside I grew up in and had so much green space to play on. I had two big greens just outside my door in Shephall - now they are both built on. It’s sad to see it go this way."

Katrina Johnson said: "High rise flats will be an eyesore. We are turning into a concrete jungle, without facilities to cope with even more dwellings in our town. We need to be encouraging businesses back, to bring the life back. Making it into an overcrowded living area just doesn't work."

Paul Elkington added: "Why do we need tower blocks everywhere? They are not nice to live in, look at or maintain. Why not build family homes with outdoor spaces which people want and need?"

With the population growing, Stevenage Borough Council's Local Plan 2011-2031 includes delivering 7,600 new homes. Even if the population size stayed the same, the local authority says more houses would still be needed because the average household size has been falling as more people live alone.