‘Something has to be done as it’s so run down’ – Planning application submitted for two six-storey flat blocks at Stevenage’s Park Place
- Credit: Archant
A planning application to build more than 200 homes in “a very run down” part of Stevenage town centre has been submitted to the local authority.
Stevenage Borough Council has received a planning application for 14 to 38 Park Place – an area people have long been complaining looks shabby and needs regenerating.
All the retail units are currently empty, with Farmfoods the final business to permanently close its doors earlier this month.
Park Place Plaza Ltd, which owns the properties, wants to build a further three storeys on top of the existing three storeys and create 202 homes – 44 studio units, 120 one-bed flats and 38 two-bed flats – as well as retaining a retail element.
As part of the application, it says: ‘The area now has a very run down feel’, but people are concerned about the plans, particularly the proposed height of the development.
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Gloria Allen, who lives in Stevenage and shops in the town centre, said: “Why would you want to build higher than it already is?
“They are going to block out the sun and make it a dark and intimidating alleyway.”
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Shopper Brian Peacock added: “It’s supposed to be a shopping town, but they are making too many residential places now.
“I don’t think this will help the town, but they have got to do something with it as it’s so run down.”
Another shopper, who did not want to be named, said: “The changes to people’s shopping habits warrants something being done around here, so in that sense it’s a good idea. It will keep the town centre lively and active, but I don’t think they should build any higher. It’s too much.”
Jason Elmes, who lives in Park Place Chambers, said: “I’m not happy with the plans because the flats are going to be privately rented and we need more social housing in Stevenage. Also, there is the problem of parking. Where are the residents of more than 200 flats going to park?”
Sharon Taylor, leader of the borough council, said: “I know people have been concerned about shops closing in that area and we are very keen to see all parts of the town centre redeveloped. Hopefully it’s a sign of things to come.”
A Park Place Plaza Ltd spokesman said: “The Park Place scheme is seen as a key part of the Stevenage regeneration strategy and much needed investment into the local area. Our vision is to kick start the process of breathing life back into the local economy and uplifting the image of Stevenage as a whole.
“The scheme has been designed with a lot of care and attention given to local characteristics, current amenities, transport links and the current over-supply of public car parking provisions across the town centre. Our design promotes healthier lifestyles around the use of public transport and cycling.
“By increasing the number of living spaces at affordable prices in combination with a fresh new retail-mix and improved public realms, Park Place seeks to be the catalyst in bringing forward Stevenage Borough Council’s vision for regeneration bringing a new level of vitality to the town centre.”
A public consultation on the plans – which could be decided by November – is now open and runs until September 2. Visit stevenage.gov.uk/planning to have your say.
Following the consultation, the proposals could be put forward to a Stevenage Borough Council planning and development committee, where councillors would decide whether to approve the scheme.
No date has been set for such a meeting, but a decision deadline has been provisionally earmarked for Friday, November 4.