Photography competition launched following results of urban artworks survey

Over the last three weeks, Stevenage Borough Council has been asking the local community to choose their favourite themes for the next set of underpass artworks, located at the Monkswood Way and Six Hills Way roundabout. Over 500 responses were received.

Six themes, each with links to the town’s history and culture, were identified and the local community asked to select their favourite three.

The winning themes are:

Stevenage Photographers

Town Centre Gardens

‘Stevenage on Wheels’

Hertfordshire based artists MurWalls will now progress the designs for the artworks, with the exception of one of the walls, which will be dedicated to Stevenage Photographers. This will give amateur photographers the opportunity to share their beautiful imagery of interest points in Stevenage.

We are today asking local people with an interest in photography, who would like their images to be considered for this category, to submit up to three images. Each image must have been taken in Stevenage and should be accompanied with up to 100 words detailing what the image depicts, where in Stevenage it was taken, and any interesting facts that you’d like to share as part of your submission.

Entries should be submitted to regeneration@stevenage.gov.uk by 5pm on Monday 25th March. The entry form with further details can be found at the bottom of this page.

When the competition closes, a panel of judges will select the final imagery to be used within the underpass.

Cllr Richard Henry, Leader of Stevenage Borough Council, comments: “We were thrilled to receive over 500 responses to this survey, demonstrating the passion that our communities have for artworks within the town. The photography competition provides further opportunity for this artwork to be truly reflective of everything Stevenage has to offer and have images of the town from local photographers utilised for everyone to enjoy. Thank you to everyone who participated in the survey, and good luck to all of those who choose to enter their photography for the next stage”.

Cllr Loraine Rossati, Executive Member for Culture, Leisure and Information Technology at Stevenage Borough Council, comments: “Our public art projects are a celebration of our town and our people.  We hope, too, that it will lead to more people choosing to use our walkways on foot or on wheels.  I know from social media that we have some superb location photographers.  I’m looking forward to seeing what our talented local photographers submit, and to showcasing their work.”

These underpass artworks form part of a wider programme of underpass improvements within the borough, as a partnership between Stevenage Borough Council and Hertfordshire County Council.

The project is being funded by the Stevenage Development Board through national government’s Towns Fund, of which Stevenage received £37.5m in March 2021.

Chair of the Stevenage Development Board Adrian Hawkins OBE added: “It has been a great pleasure to see such remarkable engagement from the people of Stevenage when has it come to our murals sited in our underpasses. This project really has captured the imagination, both within Stevenage, but also externally and underlines just how much thought and planning is going into developing a town which we can all be proud of. We hope that they continue to underline our heritage, our purpose and our future as the Town continues its fascinating pathway to the future”.

Stevenage Borough Council and Hertfordshire County Council are working together to improve a number of underpasses throughout Stevenage, improving these for pedestrians and cyclists and celebrating everything that the town has to offer.

A new Sports & Leisure Centre for Stevenage: Your Feedback

Stevenage Borough Council recently asked local communities to share their views on a proposed new Sports & Leisure Centre for Stevenage. The proposed new facility will bring together all under one roof the sports and swimming facilities, currently provided at Stevenage Arts & Leisure Centre, and Stevenage Swimming Centre.

We asked residents, businesses and visitors to complete a short survey to help us better understand what’s important. Over 400 responses were received and this feedback, of which the headlines can be found below, will help us to begin to shape a new state of the art building for Stevenage, promoting healthy living and wellbeing for residents.

Most of you told us that a modern building with sports, wellbeing and swimming under one roof would encourage you to use the facilities, which you would like to see in an accessible location with safe access for pedestrians. There needs to be adequate parking, including blue badge spaces, alongside cycle parking and cycle storage.

There should be improved changing facilities and a café provided. Spaces for groups and classes is a must, as is the need for spaces for indoor sports and leisure. There needs to be a schedule of events and activities for people of all ages and abilities.

The swimming pool should allow space for lane swimming alongside lessons and swimming clubs. The water should be deep with provision for interactive water play and a spectator area for the pool. Wellbeing is a key focus of this proposed upgraded offering for the town, and some of you asked for a spa alongside provision for mental health and mindfulness activities.

Many of you have further questions around the facility. This is a facility for the local community and this survey is the start of a process to work together on a building with something for everyone. We will now work with a design team on the next stages and will share further information in due course, including around the future opportunities for the community to comment.

Cllr Richard Henry, Leader of Stevenage Borough Council, commented: “My thanks go to everyone who completed our recent survey. Feedback is invaluable as we work with our communities on this proposed new facility and continue to deliver the best for Stevenage. We know how well-used the current facilities are and this new building will increase the user experience, future proofing these services for increased usage and modern living. Our teams are working hard to meet as many of your needs as possible, and we look forward to providing an update in due course”.

The project will be partially funded through the Government’s Towns Fund. The Stevenage Development Board secured £37.5m in March 2021, and a proportion of this will be used for this new facility.

Adrian Hawkins OBE, Chair of the Stevenage Development Board, commented: “We have been delighted that more than 400 people have taken the time and the trouble to take part in our recent survey which centred on providing a new Sports and Leisure Centre for Stevenage.

“The insight gained has of course proved invaluable, but just as importantly it has shown that the people of this town view our regeneration scheme as a key part not just of their futures but that of their children’s as well.

“The remarkable technology sector and our advances in STEM can only come to fruition if we are also able to underpin and develop our sporting heritage. Stevenage has become world famous for sporting men and women who have triumphed on the biggest stages and our commitment to a new Sports and Leisure facility shows that we take seriously all aspects of this development.”

Cllr Loraine Rossati, Executive Member for Culture, Leisure and Information Technology, said: “We have a vision for this new facility for the town, and we are committed to working with our communities to realise this. Collaboration is key, both with our residents and project partners, and I would also like to thank Everyone Active and Morgan Sindall as we work together to provide the best in class. We won’t be able to deliver everything, but by understanding what is most important to you, we can further explore the art of the possible and sharing the next stages of this proposal. There will be further opportunities to comment and we encourage everyone to have their say at the next available opportunity.”

Allan Prescott, Everyone Active contract manager, said: “We’re thrilled to see such positive feedback from the local community regarding the proposed new Sports & Leisure Centre for Stevenage. These headline findings reflect a clear desire for modern, accessible facilities that cater to the diverse needs of our residents. We’re excited about the potential of this state-of-the-art building to promote healthy living and wellbeing for all, and we look forward to working closely with Stevenage Borough Council to bring this vision to life.”

FAQs

Q: What will happen to the Gordon Craig Theatre?

The proposed new facility is focused on bringing together the sports and swimming facilities currently provided at Stevenage Arts & Leisure Centre, and Stevenage Swimming Centre. The theatre will not be moving to the new facility, and it will continue to operate as normal during the development and after the delivery of the new Sports & Leisure Centre.

Stevenage has a history of celebrating arts and culture and we are proud of the theatre and what it offers, and the council is committed to retaining a theatre within Stevenage Town Centre.

Q: What will happen to Bowes Lyon and the skatepark?

In November 2023, the council asked people to share their views on what they would like to see in a proposed new Sports & Leisure Centre for Stevenage. This survey marked the start of a process to work with the local community, and there will be plenty more opportunities for people to comment and have their say. Nothing has been approved – there is no planning application or decision – and the project is at a very early stage. No detailed design work has started.

Questions have been raised about a possible location for the proposed new facility, including the possible use of Bowes Lyon and the skatepark, both owned and managed by Hertfordshire County Council (HCC). Following discussions with HCC, we are now working up proposals that will not require the demolition of either of these facilities.

Community invited to vote on new urban artworks in Stevenage

In 2023, a partnership between Stevenage Borough Council and Hertfordshire County Council saw three new pieces of urban artworks unveiled in Stevenage, at the underpass located by Stevenage FC and Wickes at the Broadhall Way roundabout.

As part of an ongoing programme of works, Stevenage Borough Council is asking the local community for their help as the next set of artworks – located at the Monkswood Way and Six Hills Way roundabout – enter their design phase.

Six themes, each with links to the town’s history and culture, have been identified. Yet only three can feature in the final designs, and help is needed to determine which of these will be used.

The council is asking the community and businesses to pick their three favourites through a survey which can be found https://forms.office.com/e/9ZiiWg7vzL.

The themes are:

1. Eric Claxton

An ode to the engineer who designed the 25-mile segregated cycle network in Stevenage in the 1960s and 70s.

2. Town Centre Gardens

Highlighting the nearby gardens that feature a pond, public art, a sensory garden, and ancient lane hedgerows.

3. William Mitchell

An ode to the world-renowned sculptor, artist and designer, whose art is already celebrated in Stevenage.

4. ‘Stevenage on wheels’

Promoting active travel through cycling, scooting, skating, and wheeling through Stevenage.

5. Stevenage Town Centre

Celebrating Stevenage becoming the first pedestrianised town centre in the UK in 1958.

6. Stevenage photographers

Sharing beautiful imagery of interest points in Stevenage taken by local amateur photographers.

Cllr Richard Henry, Leader of Stevenage Borough Council, comments: “We were delighted with the reaction to the underpasses completed in 2023, and the sense of community pride that they have instilled. In collaboration with Hertfordshire County Council we want to make further improvements to the town’s underpasses and this next phase of works provides another opportunity to place our communities, achievements and assets in the centre of the town. This is a project for our communities and we encourage everyone to get involved to help us shape this next set of artworks for Stevenage!”.

Cllr Loraine Rossati, Executive Member for Culture, Leisure and Information Technology at Stevenage Borough Council, comments: “The artworks already in place, designed and painted by Hertfordshire-based street artists Murwalls, are a fantastic addition to Stevenage. Fresh, relevant and celebrating the town, they demonstrate how other underpasses in the town have the potential to look.  We want to work with our local communities to help shape the designs for this next set of artworks, and others in the future, and we are delighted to be able to announce this survey today. We look forward to seeing the results!”.

The survey closes at midday on Friday 8 March 2024.

The project is being funded by the Stevenage Development Board through national government’s Towns Fund, of which Stevenage received £37.5m in March 2021.

Chair of the Stevenage Development Board Adrian Hawkins OBE added: “The rich diversity of Stevenage in terms of technology, innovation, sport and history are clear to all in the town. I am delighted that the project to design uplifting murals in underpasses and other area have also been able to reflect this.

“Our town is undergoing a massive period of positive change and the opportunities for all are now tangible. Schemes such as the murals allow us all to visualise just what there is on offer in Stevenage and just what potential we have, not just in our town but also in our people.”

Stevenage Borough Council and Hertfordshire County Council are working together to improve a number of underpasses throughout Stevenage, improving these for pedestrians and cyclists and celebrating everything that the town has to offer.

Cllr Phil Bibby, Cabinet Member for Highways & Transport at Hertfordshire County Council, said: “I am delighted that Hertfordshire County Council continues to partner Stevenage Borough Council in brightening up the town’s subways. We are working with local schools, communities and artists on many subways across the County to make them much more inviting, encouraging walking and cycling. This supports the Council’s aim to make Hertfordshire cleaner, greener and healthier.”

New artworks celebrating Stevenage unveiled

Three new pieces of artwork have been unveiled in Stevenage, at the underpass located by Stevenage FC and Wickes at the Broadhall Way roundabout.

The artworks on the walls of the underpass are themed to represent the town’s achievements in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM), the town’s green spaces and active travel routes, and Stevenage Football Club (Stevenage F.C). The three designs reflect the areas to and from the underpasses.

Stevenage Borough Council and Hertfordshire County Council have worked in partnership to improve the underpasses, creating a colourful, welcoming pathway to key areas within the town. Stevenage has incredible qualities and opportunities for residents, communities and businesses to enjoy, with the new artwork celebrating this.

Cllr Richard Henry, Leader of Stevenage Borough Council, comments: “We want Stevenage to be a place that continues to be bright and vibrant. As we move forward with our programme of transformation to the town centre, we remain committed to making improvements to the wider area and this collaboration with Hertfordshire County Council celebrates some of the many reasons we have to be proud of our town. We work with a range of fantastic partners throughout the town, and our thanks go to everyone who has made this project a reality, including the Stevenage Development Board and the Stevenage FC Foundation”.

Cllr Loraine Rossati, Executive Member for Culture, Leisure and Information Technology at Stevenage Borough Council, comments: “The use of street art to improve our local environment is a fun and engaging way to recognise our achievements and the heritage that has created the Stevenage we know and love today. The artists have done a fantastic job with this artwork. We are exploring further opportunities to work with Hertfordshire County Council to improve other underpasses in the town and to continue to showcase the best of Stevenage”.

The project has been funded by the Stevenage Development Board through national government’s Towns Fund. Part of the funding is allocated to improving cycling and pedestrian connectivity, and artworks to the underpasses and cycleways throughout the town are a key part of this, creating some stunning visuals in areas close to key parts of Stevenage.

Chair of the Stevenage Development Board Adrian Hawkins OBE added: “We are delighted to see these artworks completed. They represent some of the key qualities of our town and celebrate the achievements which are ongoing, such as our STEM based industries that offer great employment opportunities and skills to local people. We hope that this work will inspire the future generation to work towards the next set of scientific achievements to come from the town.”

Hertfordshire-based street artists MurWalls have designed and painted the walls of the three underpasses, commissioned by Hertfordshire County Council.

Cllr Phil Bibby, Cabinet Member for Highways & Transport at Hertfordshire County Council, commented: “The murals are a fantastic addition to Stevenage and will hopefully encourage more people to walk and cycle, especially to and from the Stadium. I’d like to thank MurWalls for creating such wonderful artwork, as well as Stevenage Borough Council and Stevenage Football Club who have done a great job bringing the area to life.

“Our aim is to offer all residents a cleaner, greener, healthier Hertfordshire. Providing attractive places to walk and cycle encourages more active travel, protects the environment and helps reduce traffic congestion.”

Mike Pink, Chief Executive Officer at Stevenage Football Club, added: “On behalf of Stevenage Football Club, I would like to thank Hertfordshire County Council, The Stevenage Development Board and Murwalls for the wonderfully painted historic and community-based murals which now feature in the underpass leading to the Lamex Stadium. The addition of the murals has added considerably to the overall experience of arriving at Stevenage Football Club for a match day and I encourage all our supporters whether using public transport, driving, cycling or walking to pay them a visit.”

Anti-graffiti protection has been added to the top of the artworks to prevent vandalism, and Stevenage Borough Council and Hertfordshire County Council ask that this is respected so the artwork is not damaged, and that residents and visitors can enjoy the scenes.

The First New Town – An Exciting Future

Innovation Corridor
Adrian Hawkins
22 october 2020

When times are at their most difficult it can often be hard to look ahead and see the positives which are there for us all. It is important though that we do seize the opportunities that present themselves and now is just such a point in time, for Stevenage.

As the independent Chairman of the Stevenage Development Board, I am so proud of the transition which the first New Town is now making, as it becomes such a progressive place to live and work.

The recent classification by the Department of International Trade of Stevenage as a High Potential Opportunity zone (HPO) underlines just how much progress the town has made in such a short space of time – and just what an exciting future it has.

The HPO classification was made in recognition of Stevenage’s thriving cell and gene therapy cluster, and it underlines what a centre of innovation the town has become.

And while of course we must recognise that Covid-19 is having a major impact on our present, towns such as Stevenage are proving to be resilient to this and are clearly going to be the places of the future, where shrewd investment, both Public and Private, will help to create high quality local jobs and truly great lifetime opportunities with the support of an ever growing Business sector in the Town.

Our Towns Fund bid is nearing completion and will shortly be submitted to Government for due consideration. It will create the opportunity for the long- term development of the Town as the ideal environment for our innovative businesses and our very capable residents to continue to develop.