Stevenage Borough Council set to invite developers to oversee town centre regeneration

Tina Benson and Mena Caldbeck

Tina Benson and Mena Caldbeck - Credit: Archant

The first phase of the long-awaited regeneration of Stevenage town centre is underway with the council looking for a developer to transform the Town Square area.

The council plans to build new civic offices, a library, shops, restaurants, bars, flats and a new park at the site, known as SG1 – the first stage of a planned regeneration of the entire town in partnership with the Stevenage First agency.

At a meeting of the council’s executive committee on Tuesday, councillors agreed that having carried out studies and worked with a commercial agent to secure land in the area, developers will now get the opportunity to formally demonstrate their interest and commitment to what it hopes will be the beginning of one of the largest town centre regeneration programmes in the east of England.

Councillor John Gardner, executive member for environment and regeneration at the council, said: “The wheels are in motion and we are now on our way to transforming the town centre for the people of Stevenage. We are looking for a partner who will share our vision for the renaissance of our town centre that looks to the future, while complementing Stevenage’s rich New Town heritage.

“We have already received very positive feedback from developers and the commercial world over the attractiveness of the scheme.

“The right partner will be selected by the end of the year, with planning permission to be sought in 2018 and development to start the year after.”

The council has also appointed a new town centre manager to build links between the council and businesses.

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Tina Benson has started her role as town centre manager, and is joined by Mena Caldbeck as business relationship manager.

Tina – from Stevenage – joins from Welwyn Hatfield Borough Council, where she worked with the town centre team.

She will oversee a programme of events in the town centre and build relationships with the shops to ensure the town centre attracts new visitors.

Mena arrives in Stevenage from Aylesbury Vale District Council, where she spent 12 years as economic development manager

She will be the first point of contact in the council for businesses in Stevenage, will help to attract new companies to the area, and will strategically manage the Business Technology Centre.

Tina said: “I’m excited to have joined the council at this particular time, with so much happening with the regeneration of the town centre. Being a Stevenage resident, my aim is to truly put locals and businesses at the heart of improvements.

“Over the next few months, I will be out and about getting to know the businesses as I am keen to hear how, together, we can make the town centre a more vibrant and attractive place to shop. Along with colleagues, we’ll also be developing an exciting 2017 events programme that we hope to announce this spring.”

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