Gresley Park: New name and Stevenage funding agreed

Artist's impression of a house for the Gresley Park development in Stevenage

'The Letchworth' is one of 12 styles of houses which will make up the Gresley Park development in Stevenage, now called Hamilton Park - Credit: Redrow

Concerns have been allayed that a quirk in town planning could mean Stevenage missing out on funding to bolster its infrastructure to withstand an influx of residents as a result of a 600-home development.

Outline planning permission for 618 homes, a primary and pre-school, an 80-bed care home and a site for travelling showpeople on the outskirts of Stevenage, on Gresley Way, was granted by East Herts Council in 2020.

This was despite more than 1,200 objections, with concerns including traffic congestion, insufficient infrastructure and loss of the Beane Valley view.

Known locally as Gresley Park, housebuilder Redrow acquired the 93-acre site in July 2021 and has now named it Hamilton Park, after Formula 1 racing driver Lewis Hamilton, who grew up in Stevenage.

The site lies within East Herts Council's boundary, prompting concern from Stevenage Borough Council and others that Section 106 money - financial contributions from developers towards community and social infrastructure - will be paid to East Herts Council, despite Redrow promoting Stevenage's facilities to potential buyers.

Redrow says the development will generate more than £15 million towards infrastructure improvements, with money paid to East Herts Council and Herts County Council.

Sharon Taylor, leader of Stevenage Borough Council, says working with East Herts Council has resulted in ring-fenced funding for schools, doctors' surgeries and sports and leisure facilities in Stevenage.

She said: "It was acknowledged the new residents would use much of Stevenage’s infrastructure.

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"Working collaboratively with East Herts planning, we were able to secure direct payments in the S106 agreement to SBC for £668,000 for leisure and sports facilities in Stevenage; £437,000 to the NHS for Stevenage surgeries; and £5.5 million to Herts County Council for secondary schools in Stevenage, onsite primary school, subsidised bus routes into Stevenage and extended cycle routes and crossings into Stevenage.

"We trust this will go some way towards mitigating the impacts of the development and providing access for the new residents to Stevenage."