Plans for Stevenage town centre redevelopment back on table

An application for a long-awaited redevelopment which would transform a town centre will be considered by a council next week.

The resubmitted scheme for Stevenage town centre includes a mix of shops, including a department store, residential, hotel, office and leisure developments, as well as a new bus station, magistrates’ court and parking. The proposed redevelopment site covers nearly 19 hectares and would involve major changes to the current layout of the town centre.

The �250m plans by Stevenage Regeneration Limited – a partnership between developers ING and Stanhope – are a scaled-back version of the original �500m plans for a two-tier shopping street submitted in 2007. The new layout is mainly on one level. The changes were made in response to the economic downturn.

The listed clock tower and Joyride statue are incorporated into the design.

A council spokesman said the new layout respects the conservation area and emphasises the Town Square as the primary town centre space.

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Council officers have recommended members on the authority’s planning and development committee approve the scheme at a meeting on Tuesday night.

Leader of the council Sharon Taylor said the submission was a positive step but its fruition is dependent on good economic conditions.

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“To get the application through is the first part of the process. The takes care of the technical side. Then it will rely on the economic circumstances to be right. It will take a very considerable investment.

“It’s a good, positive step forward but there may still be a way forward before it can proceed. It would be more helpful if the neighbouring councils weren’t resisting development in the town.

“We know it’s a top priority for Stevenage. We will do everything we can to push this through to make this plan happen so it is not just a plan on a bit of paper.”

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