Stevenage town squares become leafy seating areas as regeneration plans move closer
- Credit: Archant
Two of Stevenage’s notoriously dated town squares have been transformed into leafy seating areas – and were officially unveiled on Saturday.
The square outside the main entrance of the Westgate Shopping Centre and another at The Forum outside Barclays Bank have been given much-needed makeovers as the town gears up for the start of a full regeneration programme.
Robinia trees, granite seating, feature lighting, paving and shrubs have all been installed to smarten up the previously concreted areas and there are performance spaces where artists can perform.
Speaking to the Comet, Stevenage Borough Council’s deputy leader, John Gardner, said: “It’s wonderful to see these public squares brightened up with new trees and lighting, and plenty of places to sit. They will provide a great backdrop for some of the events our new town centre manager is bringing to Stevenage.
“With new homes being built on Park Place and new shops opening, we’re already starting to see a difference in our town centre and I look forward to further developments.”
Councillor Gardner gave a speech before the opening ceremony, with council leader Sharon Taylor and Stevenage mayor Pam Stuart.
There was also a very well-attended family fun day with live music, face painting. and an astronomy demonstration centred around the astronomical sculpture in Forum Square.
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The square is now to be the town centre’s main event space, with a busy programme planned for half term by town centre manager Tina Benson.
Councillor Gardner added: “The shoppers who are here already like it and it will help to attract more into the town centre.
It makes it a pleasant place to walk around and people will stay longer and go into more shops, so it’s good for the town all round.”
More public spaces are to be improved next year.
Early in 2018, the council will announce the successful bidder to take forward the first major phase of town centre redevelopment in the area known as SG1.
This covers the existing library, town square and bus station, and will include new shops, housing, restaurants and bars as well as new health facilities and a library.
A number of developers are currently in talks with the council over the scheme.