New plan proposed for derelict building

PUBLISHED: 11:57 08 June 2006 | UPDATED: 10:17 06 May 2010

THE future of the controversial ManuLife House site in Stevenage took another turn this week with the news that a second planning application has been received by the borough council. The derelict building, which has been empty and unused for years, is ow

THE future of the controversial ManuLife House site in Stevenage took another turn this week with the news that a second planning application has been received by the borough council.

The derelict building, which has been empty and unused for years, is owned by Bluebird Holdings which has already applied for permission to convert it into a hotel.

Now a rival application has been submitted to the council for the comprehensive redevelopment of both ManuLife House and the adjoining fire and ambulance station to provide 187 new homes, of which 65 will be affordable.

The proposal includes a new fire and ambulance station on St George's Way.

Bidding for the housing plan is Gentech Homes which is a partnership made up of Genesis Housing Association, Hill Partnerships and the Social Housing Partnership.

"Both of these applications have to be considered by us on their planning merits," said a council spokesman.

Executive councillor for economic regeneration John Gardner said: "ManuLife House is a key site in the regeneration of the town centre and its development should complement our proposals to enhance the area."

The housing plan includes relocating the fire and ambulance station on its existing site to make a bigger space for the homes.

A fire service spokesman said: "We are comfortable to be part of this proposed regeneration scheme in an effort to maximise potential for a mixed-use site.

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