Council to build new car park to improve entrance into town
Matthew Smith, local democracy reporter
- Credit: Huber/Stevenage Borough Council
Plans to build a new £9m car park as part of work to improve the “front door” to Stevenage have been given the green light by councillors.
The six-storey car park in Lytton Way will see the amount of spaces available almost doubled, while also celebrating the town’s involvement in the scheduled Mars landings.
The council has previously said the increase in spaces will replace parking lost to regeneration projects elsewhere in the town.
Last month, Stevenage Borough Council confirmed its outline business case for the car park, as well as the adjoining Station Gateway project, which involves improvement works for the area between the railway station and new bus interchange.
On Tuesday, January 11, the plans moved a step closer after councillors agreed to grant planning permission to the development.
The scheme, developed by German company Huber, will receive funding from the £37.5m pot allocated to the council from central government’s Towns Fund.
It will be given a budget of £9.7m, with a target construction price of £8.9m.
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The car park will include 622 car parking spaces, including 30 blue badge spaces and up to 25 per cent of spaces will be with active electric vehicle charging points with the ability to later activate up to 50 per cent.
The cycle hub will include room for 80 bikes, as well as 27 motorcycle spaces.
The developers have also said the design will reflect the town’s history, with perforated panels used to create a huge image for those passing to serve as a billboard publicising Stevenage.
To the western elevation, an image will showcase the role Stevenage’s Airbus base has played in building the ExoMars rover, set to be launched in autumn.
To the east, the car park will display the town’s motto ‘the heart of a town lies in its people’.
In their application, the developers add the site area represents around 60 per cent of the existing car park, with the remaining site to the north left in its existing condition in anticipation of future development.
One resident objected to the plans, raising concerns about access from the car park into Lytton Way at peak times.
However, Hertfordshire County Council said they did not believe there would be a “material impact on the local highway network” and said the car park was well placed to benefit access to both the old and new towns.
Council officers recommended the scheme for approval, and councillors backed the plans at a meeting of the Planning Committee on January 11.
Planning permission will be granted for the scheme, subject to conditions, upon consideration of the configuration of disabled parking and subject to any comments made by the police in relation to safety concerns raised by the committee.
The council has previously said once final commitments are in place work on the car park could begin in April.