High-rise flats planned for former BHS building in Stevenage

PUBLISHED: 06:56 20 November 2019

An 11-storey residential block has been earmarked for the site of the former BHS store in Stevenage town centre. Picture: Urbana Town Planning

An 11-storey residential block has been earmarked for the site of the former BHS store in Stevenage town centre. Picture: Urbana Town Planning

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Plans for an 11-storey residential tower block in Stevenage town centre have been submitted for approval.

An 11-storey residential block has been earmarked for the site of the former BHS store in Stevenage town centre. Picture: Urbana Town PlanningAn 11-storey residential block has been earmarked for the site of the former BHS store in Stevenage town centre. Picture: Urbana Town Planning

A planning application by Urbana Town Planning - on behalf of Glide Investments - reveals proposals for 277 new flats and apartments at the site of the former BHS building at The Forum in Stevenage town centre.

The 11-storey tower block will include 130 one-bed, 113 two-bed and 34 larger studio apartments, with the allocation of 21 car parking spaces, bicycle storage and a large ground floor retail space.

If permission is approved, the flats and apartments are set to be sold on the private-sector housing market, with none of the 277 homes currently allocated as 'affordable' - which is to say, subsidized below market rates.

Stevenage Borough Council's Local Plan - adopted in May this year - states that 25 per cent of new homes on previously developed sites should be designated as 'affordable'.

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The building has been vacant for three years since BHS ceased trading in 2016, with developers identifying the site "in its current state as has having limited value and contributing little to its surroundings."

Charles Dunn, associate at Urbana Planning, says "the close proximity of the site to public transport routes makes it an extremely sustainable location", arguing that the flats will bring "significant footfall to the high street", and "attract businesses who are considering establishing a presence in the area."

Mr Dunn also acknowledged that "the proposals involve a significant increase in height over the existing building", but he argued that the location "opposite the Hotel Ibis creates a context in which taller buildings can be acceptable".

This is the latest in a wave of residential developments in the town centre, as Stevenage Borough Council aims to deliver on its pledge to provide 3,000 new homes as part of its town centre regeneration programme.

The Skyline House and Park Place developments have provided nearly 350 new homes, while the site of the Matalan store - on Danestrete - was bought by fresh developers earlier this year, after outline permission for 500 new homes was granted in 2017.

The neighbourhood consultation phase ends on December 3, with a planning decision due in February 2020.

To have your say, visit https://publicaccess.stevenage.gov.uk

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