A planning application to build 526 new flats on Stevenage's Matalan store site has been approved by Stevenage Borough Council's Planning and Development Committee.

The plans by The Guinness Partnership received the support of councillors, with the site in Danesgate previously being identified as suitable for redevelopment.

The Comet: View of proposed internal courtyard showing tower element and perimeter buildingsView of proposed internal courtyard showing tower element and perimeter buildings (Image: Guinness Partnership)

It currently includes a retail store and associated car parking, as well as the adjacent car parking to the rear of the store and fronting Lytton Way.

In line with the outline planning permission agreed a number of years ago, 526 one and two-bedroomed apartments will be provided, along with 779 sq m of flexible commercial space, which will be located at ground floor level.

The design, by architects Maccreanor Lavington, was comprehensively reviewed and supported by the independent design council who stated that ‘this proposal would be an asset to Stevenage town centre’.

Jon Milburn, group development director, at Guinness said, “We are very pleased to receive the support of Stevenage Borough Council for this site which is a very important and integral part of the wider revitalisation of Stevenage Town Centre.

"Due to the site’s prominence and role in the council’s ambitions for a new and vibrant heart to the town, we have placed a very high emphasis on achieving excellence in design.

The Comet: View of the approved development from the junction of Danestrete and DanesgateView of the approved development from the junction of Danestrete and Danesgate (Image: Guinness Partnership)

"These proposals will transform an under-utilised brownfield site with excellent links to the town centre, leisure facilities and public transport including the brand-new bus interchange and the improved railway station.”

Jon concluded: "We heard from councillors that they are very keen to see construction commence given the council’s long-standing aspiration for the regeneration of the site.

"We will now take the necessary steps to deliver these exciting plans and expect construction to start in early 2022, creating an estimated 188 jobs.

"In line with our 130-year history of providing social homes, we will also assess our ability to increase the number of affordable homes above and beyond that which had been agreed in the outline planning permission prior to our involvement.”

Last week it was announced that the town's wider regeneration project would receive an extra £37 million in central government funding, following a successful bid by Stevenage Development Board through the MyTown initiative.