Regeneration plans submitted to 'breathe new life' into Stevenage retail park
Matthew Smith, Local democracy reporter
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Plans to redevelop Stevenage’s Roebuck Retail Park have been submitted to the borough council in an effort to “breathe new life” into the site.
The retail park in London Road has seen its largest unit remain empty since Curry’s PC World vacated for a site in the nearby Roaring Meg Retail Park, while three other units are also currently standing empty.
The new plans will see the terrace of retail units extended, as well as a new self-storage business moving into the park.
Roebuck Retail Park is currently occupied by Halfords, American Golf and Leaner Life, with a standalone ‘In ‘n’ Out’ MOT centre, but there are hopes that the proposals will bring more business to the area.
According to the plans, self-storage company SureStore is lined up to take over the former Curry’s PC World unit, with two new retail units proposed at either side of the existing terrace as well as a new café or coffee shop pod onto one end of the terrace.
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The application for full planning permission has been submitted to Stevenage Borough Council by JLL on behalf of Legal & General Property Partners.
A planning statement submitted alongside the plans said: “The proposed development seeks to regenerate and secure the long term economic future of the site, which is presently experiencing high levels of vacancy and has been an underperforming asset for some time.”
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It adds that the approval of more employment space will “result in significant levels of job creation, prosperity and investment”.
Pre-application advice had already been sought by the owners and that noted other benefits of the plan would include contributing to meeting an identified shortfall of employment land and would bring vacant commercial units back into use.
The current tenants are expected to remain in place following the development work.
As the proposals are for land already functioning as a retail park, the developers and owners believe it is fully compliant with Stevenage Borough Council’s Local Plan, and will strengthen the town’s economy.
No public comments have been made yet in relation to the application, but in the past week Hertfordshire County Council, as Highway Authority, and Network Rail, who maintain the nearby railway line, have expressed they have no concerns with the proposals.
The planning application - reference 21/00754/FPM - was submitted to the council on July 7, with a decision expected by early October.