Revealed: Where more than 5,000 new homes could be built in Stevenage

PUBLISHED: 11:08 08 September 2020 | UPDATED: 13:09 08 September 2020

Archant Investigations Unit has produced an interactive map, showing all the areas where major housing developments are included in Stevenage Council's Local Plan.

Archant Investigations Unit has produced an interactive map, showing all the areas where major housing developments are included in Stevenage Council's Local Plan.

Archant

This interactive map shows sites across Stevenage where more than 5,000 homes are set to be built in the next 11 years.

More than 7,600 new homes will need to be built in Stevenage by 2031 - this is where they are going to go.

The council said last year that more than 2,000 had already been granted permission, leaving just over 5,400 outstanding.

According to a Stevenage Council report, “There is a lack of affordable homes. Entry-level housing costs seven times more than salaries.

“Access to mortgages has become increasingly difficult... The average age of people buying their first house is rising.”

Thousands of homes are planned in and around Stevenage town centre as part of its regeneration. Picture: The Reef Group.Thousands of homes are planned in and around Stevenage town centre as part of its regeneration. Picture: The Reef Group.

Some of Stevenage’s new homes will be spread across smaller development sites, but its Local Plan includes four areas where new communities of more than 500 homes are planned. Three would require development on green belt land.

•Town centre

The largest proposed development is in and around the town centre, where roughly 3,000 homes are planned.

Stevenage's Local Plan said the town centre badly needed an overhaul.Stevenage's Local Plan said the town centre badly needed an overhaul.

A “major public-private sector regeneration programme” would deliver the homes as well as “an improved range of shopping, bars, restaurants, leisure, community, civic and cultural facilities”.

Homes would be built on sites including seven neighbourhood centres, a former school playing field and a former car showroom.

The other three major developments would be on green land.

A council report said: “We have... found it necessary to roll back the inner green belt boundary.”

•West

The largest site is west of Stevenage, where roughly 1,350 homes are planned by 2031, alongside ten square kilometres of employment space.

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Thirty per cent of the new homes would be designated “affordable”, whereas five per cent would be “aspirational”.

In addition to the homes, the developer would be required to build a GP surgery - although that would be “subject to demand” - a primary school and sport facilities.

•North

North of Stevenage, the council has allocated 800 homes to green land once described by novelist E M Forster as one of the most beautiful parts of Hertfordshire.

Five per cent would be “aspirational” and placed primarily in a conservation area. A primary school is also planned for the north Stevenage development.

Campaign group Friends of Forster Country has protested against the 800-home development north of Stevenage.

Chairman John Spiers said: “I’ve spent half of my life on this for the last few years and we are still hoping we can stop this going ahead.”

Mr Spiers said the group disputed the need for more than 7,500 new homes, as data published by the Office for National Statistics since the Local Plan was drawn up suggests the future housing need in Stevenage is half of what was initially projected.

He added that a register of brownfield (previously developed, non-green belt) sites in Stevenage, not made public until after the Local Plan had been approved, contained a number of viable sites.

Mr Spiers said he believed that between the reduction in housing need and the volume of available brownfield sites, the “destruction of the countryside” was not necessary.

However, a planning application for the new development is due to be considered next month.

•South east

The fourth major development would be south east of Stevenage, where roughly 400 would be built south of the A602, with another 150 north of the main road on playing fields which the council claims “do not require replacement”.

A new roundabout would have to be built on the A602, to allow access to the two new estates.


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