Plans agreed for regeneration of key Matalan site

On 2nd March The Guinness Partnership, one of England’s largest housing associations received the overwhelming support of Stevenage Borough Council’s Planning and Development Committee for the regeneration of the Matalan site, Danesgate – a key site within Stevenage Town Centre.

The site has long been identified by Stevenage Borough Council as suitable for redevelopment.  It currently includes a retail store and associated car parking, as well as the adjacent car parking to the rear of the store and fronting Lytton Way.

In line with the outline planning permission agreed a number of years ago, 526 one and two-bedroomed apartments will be provided, along with 779 sq. m of flexible commercial space, which will be located at ground floor level.

The design, by Stirling Prize winning architects Maccreanor Lavington, was comprehensively reviewed and supported by the independent Design Council who stated that, ‘It is our view that this proposal would be an asset to Stevenage town centre’.

Jon Milburn, Group Development Director at Guinness said, “We are very pleased to receive the support of Stevenage Borough Council for this site which is a very important and integral part of the wider revitalisation of Stevenage Town Centre. Due to the site’s prominence and role in the Council’s ambitions for a new and vibrant heart to the town, we have placed a very high emphasis on achieving excellence in design. These proposals will transform an under-utilised brownfield site with excellent links to the town centre, leisure facilities and public transport including the brand-new bus interchange and the improved railway station.”

Jon Milburn, concluded, “We heard from councillors that they are very keen to see construction commence given the Council’s long-standing aspiration for the regeneration of the site. We will now take the necessary steps to deliver these exciting plans and expect construction to start in early 2022, creating an estimated 188 jobs. In line with our 130-year history of providing social homes, we will also assess our ability to increase the number of affordable homes above and beyond that which had been agreed in the outline planning permission prior to our involvement.”

SG1 Holding Direction Lifted

The Comet
Georgia Barrow

 

The development – which is the single largest within the 20-year, £1bn regeneration programme – is now under way in the town, has received public support and has been consulted on widely by its developers.

SG1 will deliver a range of new residential, commercial, leisure and retail facilities and will cover 14.5 acres of the town centre.

It will also bring 11 new buildings and include a new park in the heart of Stevenage along with a new Garden Square and Public Services Hub.

Mace expects the development to provide an additional £38.6m in new spending power per annum from the residents of the 1,800 new homes it will deliver.

It will also create over 1,000 jobs, including 36 new construction apprenticeships that can boost the skills of local residents.

Council leader Sharon Taylor said: “We are delighted that the Secretary of State has given the green light to this vital regeneration project.

“With COVID-19 bringing so many challenges to the country and to Stevenage, the regeneration of the town centre is critical to our recovery efforts.

“This project will create vital local jobs and opportunities, new public areas and green spaces, improved health and community facilities, new homes and places for people to enjoy.

“Our regeneration programme is well under way, with the finishing touches being put to the Town Square, the new bus station being built and the regeneration of part of Queensway also making great progress.

“These investments are needed now more than ever, so that we can create a vibrant town centre and hope for a brighter future.”

SG1 joins ongoing regeneration projects which form part of the wider regeneration plans for Stevenage, including the Town Square and Town Square North Block, Queensway North and the new bus interchange, all currently under construction.

Kevin Cowin, development director at Mace, said: “We’re delighted by the news that Stevenage Borough Council can now proceed to issue planning permission based on their decision last October to support the SG1 proposals.

“We look forward to continuing our partnership with the council to bring forward this exciting and ambitious project which will transform the town centre and create social and economic opportunities for the local community.’

“We will now focus on the phased delivery of the revitalisation at the heart of the town, which will be crucial for Stevenage as we emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic. We hope to start work later this year and will keep everybody up-to-date with our progress.”

A holding direction can restrict the relevant Local Planning Authority from granting planning permission essentially until the Secretary of State has had time to make a final decision on whether to call it in.

Further information about the regeneration programme is available at www.Stevenage-Even-Better.com.

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.

SG1 granted approval by Planning Committee

The single largest scheme in the regeneration of Stevenage Town Centre has received approval from Stevenage Borough Council’s Planning and Development Committee this evening.

Stevenage Borough Council’s Development Partner Mace will bring forward SG1, a new development covering 14.5 acres of the town centre and introducing 11 new buildings including residential, leisure, community, commercial and retail facilities.

This landmark proposal will create a new heart for Stevenage, which will serve the needs of local people and businesses for decades to come.

Mace’s vision is to create a new and connected heart for Stevenage, delivering sustainable housing, community facilities and public spaces which will serve the needs of local people and businesses for decades to come. With a focus on inclusivity, environmental sustainability and wellbeing, SG1 will create attractive new streets, squares and public realm as well as improving pedestrian and cycle connections across the town. The first phase of SG1 includes the demolition of Swingate House on Danestrete and the former Police Station on Southgate.

Subject to the outcome of a supplementary review by the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government, construction will now be scheduled to begin in the coming months, joining ongoing regeneration projects which form part of the wider 20-year, £1bn regeneration plans for Stevenage. These include the Town Square & Town Square North Block, Queensway North and the new Bus Interchange, all currently under construction. An additional programme is also set to start on Lytton Way which will introduce bus priority lanes and improved accessibility to the railway station whilst also supporting the Council’s efforts to reach its ambitious climate change goals.

Cllr Sharon Taylor OBE, Leader of Stevenage Borough Council, said.

 “This is a really fantastic moment for Stevenage and we’re delighted that such a major scheme has been granted planning permission. When we started this journey we aimed as high as possible and working with world-class firms like Mace will help us to achieve our goals and make the town an even better place for people to live, work, play and relax. Mace’s proposals are truly transformational and we can’t wait for work to begin. 2020 has been challenging for everyone, but hopefully this announcement, combined with the progress being made on our other ongoing developments, will give everyone cause for optimism.”

Kevin Cowin, Development Director at Mace, said:

‘We’re delighted to receive the [strong] support of the Council’s Planning and Development Committee and this marks the culmination of a huge amount of work by our team. We have developed an excellent partnership with the Council since we were selected in February 2018 to bring forward this exciting town centre regeneration. We’d like to thank the officers and elected members of Stevenage Borough Council for the proactive approach they have taken in pursuing the vision for their town and we will continue to work closely with the Council to transform the town centre, creating social and economic opportunities for the local community.’

‘This is the largest town centre regeneration plan in eastern England and a project that Stevenage deserves. We know from our extensive engagement and consultation with local people last year that residents and businesses are very eager to see SG1 become a reality. High streets and town centres face major challenges which have been amplified by the COVID-19 epidemic. SG1 is even more crucial now for the revitalisation of the heart of the town so that it can look forward to a better, brighter future.’

Cllr John Gardner, portfolio holder for Environment & Regeneration at Stevenage Borough Council, said,

“This is another major milestone in our ongoing 20-year, £1bn regeneration programme and marks a really significant moment for the town. We all know that the town has needed regeneration for some time and we are now delivering the real change that it needs. The plans for the SG1 scheme that Mace have brought forward will have an enormous impact on the town both now and in the future and are likely to encourage even further investment. We would like to take the opportunity to say thank you to everyone involved so far, this really is testament to the efforts of all who have contributed.”

Works begin on new bus interchange in Stevenage Town Centre

The first phase of construction works has started on a new bus interchange in Stevenage Town Centre. The interchange, which will be located on the car park adjacent to Stevenage Leisure Centre, and alongside Lytton Way, will improve existing connectivity and transport links across Stevenage and is part of the wider 20-year, £1bn regeneration programme currently underway in the town.

The new interchange will provide a significant upgrade on the existing bus station and will include covered waiting facilities with extensive seating areas, toilets, café, live passenger information boards, and greatly improved accessibility features. The new location, combined with the changes being delivered through the SG1 scheme, will improve routes and connections between the railway station and the town centre. It will also enhance the connection between the existing cycle network and the bus and rail networks, providing integrated links between Stevenage’s transport hubs.

The first phase of construction includes utilities and enabling works. The main phase of construction will begin this autumn and existing bus services will continue to run as normal until the new interchange is completed. The development is likely to be completed and launched to the public in autumn 2021. The work has been funded by a £9.6m Local Growth Fund investment from Hertfordshire Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP).

Cllr Sharon Taylor OBE, Leader of Stevenage Borough Council, commented on the launch of the new development.

“We’re very happy to see the launch of the new bus interchange development and it will mark another major step forward in the wider regeneration programme. This year has been exceptionally challenging, however we have made significant progress on our three live projects – the Town Square, Town Square North Block and Queensway North – which is testament to the strength of our partnerships and to the resilience of everyone we’re working with. The bus interchange development not only significantly improves transport links across the town and provides better and more secure facilities for bus users; it also facilitates the development of other projects, like SG1 taking place.

“This is a really exciting time for Stevenage and we’re optimistic that this development, combined with our others that are near completion – and the launch of the Town Investment Plan – will provide the boost that people need at the moment.”

Minister for Regional Growth and Local Government, Luke Hall MP said:

“We want to level up the connectivity of our towns across the country, boosting local economies and unlocking opportunities for our communities. That is why we have invested £9.6m, through the Local Growth Fund, in the new bus interchange in Stevenage Town Centre. I am delighted that the residents of Stevenage will soon benefit from more efficient connections, integrated transport hubs and crucially, improved accessibility.”

Adam Wood, Head of Infrastructure & Regeneration at Hertfordshire LEP, said:

“The new bus interchange will replace existing tired infrastructure with a sleek and modern design and new public amenities to improve the user experience, in a new location that greatly enhances connectivity between the town’s transport hubs to encourage a shift towards the use of public transport. The interchange is a key part of the wider regeneration of Stevenage and we look forward to seeing the work take shape over the coming months.”

For further information on the bus interchange and the Stevenage Regeneration programme visit www.Stevenage-Even-Better.com and follow on @StevenageBetter on both Twitter and Instagram

You can also leave your views on how up to £25m of funding is invested in our town by visiting the MyTown portal at www.Stevenage-Even-Better.com/my-town

Stevenage named High Potential Opportunity Zone by Government

The Department for International Trade (DIT) has classified Stevenage, Hertfordshire, as a High Potential Opportunity (HPO) zone in recognition of its thriving cell and gene therapy cluster of national and international significance. The successful HPO nomination was made by Hertfordshire Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) and is expected to help attract further overseas investment into the county.

Stevenage is at the centre of the largest cluster of cell and gene therapy companies outside of the US. The growing cell and gene therapy campus in Stevenage is delivering over 1,000 jobs and is home to over 45 companies, 13 of which are in the cell and gene therapy space.

The campus was awarded Life Science Opportunity Zone status for advanced therapies in 2019 by the Office for Life Sciences. It is jointly anchored by Stevenage Bioscience Catalyst, whose occupiers have raised over £1.6bn of investment to date, of which over 65% has been invested into cell and gene therapy companies; and the pioneering Cell and Gene Therapy Catapult, which has built its Manufacturing Centre in Stevenage, and which has been instrumental to the growth of the UK’s cell and gene therapy industry.

DIT’s High Potential Opportunities programme was launched in 2018 to encourage and accelerate foreign direct investment into the UK’s key growth sectors, in line with Government’s Industrial Strategy. There are currently 17 HPOs throughout the UK, and an additional 19 HPOs will be developed over the course of Round 2. HPO status denotes specific commercial opportunities to potential overseas investors, which are packaged into a compelling commercial proposition for promotion through DIT’s global network. This can help accelerate the growth of business and industry, boost local job creation and prosperity, and strengthen the UK’s sectorial advantage.

Cell and gene therapy is a sector of strategic importance to the UK’s life sciences industry, highlighted by the ‘Global Sales Pitch for Life Sciences’ as a core part of the country’s life sciences ecosystem. Since 2018 the UK has seen £1.7bn invested in the cell and gene therapy sector, a 60% increase in cell and gene therapy manufacturing space, and a 200% increase in industry turnover. The UK is developing further expertise and capacity in cell and gene therapies, with the global market predicted to grow to $6.6bn by 2027.

HPO status will enable the existing cell and gene therapy cluster centered around Stevenage to be promoted more effectively on the world stage to bring about fresh opportunities for growth. Hertfordshire LEP, the Cell and Gene Therapy Catapult and Stevenage Bioscience Catalyst will work closely with DIT over the coming months to help progress opportunities for inward investment.

Adrian Hawkins, Chairman of the Stevenage Development Board, said: “In line with the Government’s Town Investment Plan, and our wider 20-year, £1bn programme, we are not only regenerating Stevenage but also focusing intently on building opportunities for local people. Our town is on the up and this is yet another example that Stevenage is at the forefront of bioscience development and expertise across Europe and beyond. We are delighted that the collective impact of our cell and gene therapy businesses has enabled the town to be named a High Potential Opportunity zone, which will shine the spotlight on Stevenage on a global stage and in turn, support the delivery of real opportunities for local people.”

Cllr John Gardner, portfolio holder for Environment and Regeneration at Stevenage Borough Council “We’re delighted to see Stevenage gain further recognition and be named as one of the UK’s HPO zones. It’s indicative of some of the amazing work that’s carried out in our town and will hopefully encourage further growth and investment. Stevenage has a lot to be proud of and this represents another fantastic accolade for our town.”

Nitin Dahad, Chair of Hertfordshire LEP’s Enterprise & Innovation Board, said: “We are delighted with the success of our HPO nomination for Stevenage. The HPO underlines the significance of Hertfordshire’s burgeoning advanced therapies cluster to UK plc, as well as its major growth potential. The sheer concentration of cell and gene expertise, R&D and manufacturing capability in Stevenage makes a compelling case for the inward investment needed to catalyse expansion and create high quality local jobs.”

Matthew Durdy, Chief Executive Officer at Cell and Gene Therapy Catapult commented: “The UK cell and gene therapy industry is continuing to grow thanks to the strong Government backing and the unique supportive ecosystem that enables companies to develop and therapies to reach patients effectively. With one in four European cell and gene therapy companies already operating here, and the UK accounting for 12% of the global clinical trials, we are looking forward to this additional recognition providing further opportunities to develop additional capabilities for the UK to maintain its world renowned position.”

Sally Ann Forsyth, Chief Executive Officer at Stevenage Bioscience Catalyst commented: “We are delighted that Stevenage is being recognised for its significant contribution to the cell and gene therapy field. The new HPO status ensures we can support the pioneering work of our occupiers and continue to grow as Europe’s cell and gene therapy hub.”

Minister for Investment Gerry Grimstone said“The UK has so much to offer international investors across a variety of key sectors and regions. Our HPO programme looks at some of the sectors and sites across the UK where we see some of the world’s greatest challenges being solved. Inward investment will help the UK build back better while levelling up all parts of the UK. This is just the start of the steps we are taking to increase inward investment and drive economic recovery.”

Hertfordshire LEP is also part-funding a new Cell and Gene Integration Lab in Stevenage to cultivate the skills pipeline crucial to meeting current and future business needs. The lab will harness the expertise of the Cell and Gene Therapy Catapult and provide the UK’s first digital training centre specifically equipped for advanced therapy manufacturing. It is one of five ‘shovel-ready’ projects selected to receive a share of Hertfordshire LEP’s £16.8m allocation from Government’s Getting Building Fund, launched in response to COVID-19 to help accelerate economic recovery and job creation across the country.

 

 

Plan for over 500 new homes in Stevenage announced

More than 500 new homes look set to be built in the centre of Stevenage, the latest boost for the regeneration of the town centre.

The Guinness Partnership, one of England’s largest housing associations, has today announced that it will bring forward detailed plans to deliver another part of the revitalisation of Stevenage’s town centre.

Their plans will focus on the Matalan site in Danestrete, and includes the retail space and associated car park, as well as the adjacent car park that fronts onto Lytton Way.

Linda Robinson, development director at TGP, described this announcement as an “exciting time for the town”.

She said:

“We’re very pleased to be part of the Council’s ambitious plans to transform Stevenage Town Centre and the Matalan site is a key element in delivering the overall vision.

Our proposals are designed to closely align with the SG1 plan being brought forward by Mace and the Council and also complement other recent new developments.

We have been working with our design team since we acquired the site and are now able to share our draft proposals for the first time prior to the submission of a Reserved Matters Application

This application will seek approval for detailed design of the new buildings based on the outline planning permission previously granted for 526 new homes.”

TGP acquired the Matalan site from its previous owners in 2019, in addition to the adjacent car parking from Stevenage Borough Council

The overall site was granted planning permission a number of years ago by SBC, with 526 homes, 1,700sq metres of ground floor retail space and 175 car parking spaces all part of the development.

Initially, the planning permission had a provision of just five per cent affordable housing. TGP has confirmed they intend to increase this, meaning more affordable homes located in the heart of Stevenage’s town centre.

The proposal will also fall in line with the latest thinking on environmental sustainability, with 775 cycle spaces to be installed.

Linda added:

“The site is ideally placed for access to public transport, given the relocation of the bus station to its boundary and the very short distance to the recently extended railway station.

In this time of climate emergency, we will also include environmentally friendly measures such as energy efficiency, rainwater harvesting, green spaces and roofs to promote biodiversity.

We see the proposals as very much part of a more vibrant town centre and the new residents and active ground floor uses will bring new spending power and activity to the heart of the town.”

For more information or to leave your thoughts, visit matalansitestevenage.info.

 

Stevenage Town Centre Regeneration: What’s changing?

The Comet
Georgia Barrow
15 January 2020

Visitors to the town centre in recent months will have noticed a major increase in development activity.

So far, Market Place has benefitted from the introduction of a play trail, work has started on Queensway North – the former Marks & Spencer building – and the Town Square, which have both seen new retail outlets and leisure and residential facilities.

There have also been a number of private developments – such as Park Place – nearing completion.

Hundreds of residents have taken part in a number of consultations held by the council as well as private firms hoping to be a part of the huge redevelopment of the town centre, including Mace, which has recently submitted a planning application for the biggest development in the regeneration plans, called SG1.

Stevenage is set to benefit from the provision of up to £25m from the New Towns Fund to further develop its regeneration plans. All in all, there’s a significant amount of activity taking place in the town at the moment.

The regeneration programme is a boost for those looking to see upgrades to the central areas of the town.

Across the country, town and city centres are facing challenges. Reports from late last year by PriceWaterhouseCooper revealed that around 16 shops are closing every day, the highest rate since the survey began in 2010.

In Stevenage, the regeneration plan is to revitalise the town, to provide a place for people to live, work, relax and play. This plan learns from studies like The Grimsey Review, that recommend kickstarting town and city centres by including a combination of shops, bars, restaurants and leisure facilities, creating a more vibrant town, more demand and a place to spend time both in the day and during the evening.

The SG1 planning application for the Stevenage town centre regeneration has been submitted. Picture: Mace

The SG1 planning application for the Stevenage town centre regeneration has been submitted. Picture: Mace

But how will the regeneration reshape Stevenage? Partnerships have been signed with organisations including Mace, the firm that built the Shard and the London Eye, and Reef Estates to deliver the major, 20-year, £1bn programme that’s set to transform Stevenage.

Reef is currently redeveloping Queensway North while Mace – working in partnership with Ashe – has started work on the major upgrade of the Town Square in the past few months.

Mace is also delivering the single largest scheme – SG1 – which will transform the existing town centre, creating a new Garden Square, a new linear park at Southgate Park and a new boulevard in the centre of the town. Those behind the plans say The Hub is a key part of SG1 and will provide a shared space featuring a new library along with health, voluntary, council and other groups under one roof making services significantly more convenient.

Part of Queensway is under development, with contractors from Reef already on site in the former M&S unit and the adjacent buildings.

The redevelopment of Park Place, if given the go ahead, is set to kick-start the regeneration of Stevenage town centre.

SG1 from above – Picture: Park Place

Work is also under way to upgrade and relocate the existing bus station to meet 21st century needs.

The new interchange will provide bus users with a modern, heated, indoor waiting area and café, with significantly improved facilities, toilets, and live passenger information boards.

The relocation closer to the railway station combined with the introduction of new streets that are part of the SG1 development, will also aim to improve public transport links across Stevenage and beyond.

The redevelopment of Park Place, if given the go ahead, is set to kick-start the regeneration of Stevenage town centre.
SG1 Proposals

 

Stevenage Borough Council is set to submit planning permission for the new bus station, located in what is currently a car park south of the Stevenage Arts and Leisure Centre, with hopes of opening it in 2021.

The existing bus station site will become a location for a new Garden Square in the heart of the town that will offer an attractive location relax and enjoy, with new cafes and places to eat and drink.

SG1 explained – the detail

The proposals for the SG1 project submitted by construction company Mace is set to cost £350 million and will come in a number of phases.

The redevelopment of Park Place, if given the go ahead, is set to kick-start the regeneration of Stevenage town centre.
The redevelopment of Park Place

 

The large development – which will be financed by private funding and land sales – is due to begin its first phase this year, subject to planning permission.

If adopted, phase one will see the development of Swingate House and car park – the opposite Westgate multi-storey – the old police bullding and social services, which are currently derelict, and adjacent garages.

It will also see 760 new homes with a new Southgate Park.

The second phase, which will begin in approximately 2023, will see the development of the new Garden Square, located where the current bus station is.

Stevenage Borough Council has plans to move the bus station to a site south of the Stevenage Arts and Leisure Centre, with hopes of completion by 2021 – subject to planning.

Phase three and four – set for 2024 and 2027 respectively – will include the development of the new public services hub and two new residential blocks and the demolition of the Plaza, council office, Mecca Bingo. The current library and ear clinic will be developed into 750 new homes.

Councillor Sharon Taylor, leader of Stevenage Borough Council, said: “It is crucial that we adapt and improve Stevenage to help make the town centre a place for us all to enjoy.

“I am proud of the heritage of the town and looking forward to a bright future.”

Computer-generated images of what the new development will look like. Picture: Reef Group.
Computer-generated images of what the new development will look like. Picture: Reef Group.

 

For more on the developments go to www.stevenage-even-better.com, or visit the Visitor Centre, which is open in the Town Square, from Wednesday to Saturday, 10am to 5pm.

Consultations will continue to take place as planning proposals are brought forward, so that residents can have their say on the plans.

https://www.thecomet.net/news/stevenage-regeneration-what-s-happened-so-far-1-6466110

 

 

BBC Look East came to town on 13 January 2020 to discuss the ongoing work on the Town Square and our wider plans for SG1 – take a look at the footage and let us know your thoughts

Stevenage Bioscience Catalyst chosen as Opportunity Zone

Local Enterprise Partnership – Stevenage Bioscience Catalyst chosen as Life Sciences Opportunity Zone
8 October 2019

Nadhim Zahawi MP has announced that Stevenage Bioscience Catalyst (SBC) has been successful in its application to become a Life Sciences Opportunity Zone.

The assessment panel consisted of senior industry life science experts and senior government officials. In a letter to Stevenage Bioscience Catalyst Chief Executive Officer Dr Sally Ann Forsyth, the Minister stated: “l am delighted to tell you that your application has been successful. The panel were impressed by your plans to grow what is already a successful biomedical campus.”

The Minister made the formal announcement at Hertfordshire Local Enterprise Partnership’s Annual Conference on Monday 7th October, addressing 200 delegates. The audience heard how GlaxoSmithKline, Cell and Gene Therapy Catapult and SBC have built a world-class cluster in advanced therapies on the Campus that is delivering a positive impact on UK plc and global healthcare.

With both SBC and the Cell and Gene Therapy Catapult’s first large scale manufacturing centre on the Campus, companies can benefit from close proximity to research, development and manufacturing. This unique co-location has been a key driver of growth in this revolutionary therapy area. Occupiers of the SBC Campus have raised almost £1bn of investment, of which over 60% has been invested into cell and gene therapy companies.

Dr Sally Ann Forsyth, Chief Executive Officer at Stevenage Bioscience Catalyst, commented: “We are delighted to receive Life Sciences Opportunity Zone designation for the Stevenage Advanced Therapeutics Campus. I would like to thank our supporting partners in the successful bid, namely GlaxoSmithKline, Cell & Gene Therapy Catapult, LifeArc, Kadans Science Partner, University of Hertfordshire, Royal Veterinary College and Hertfordshire Local Enterprise Partnership. I look forward to working together to accelerate the growth of this globally recognised cluster for advanced therapeutics.”

Paul Witcombe, Head of Enterprise and Innovation, Hertfordshire Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP), said: “Stevenage Bioscience Catalyst has made a huge contribution to the rapid clustering of world-class corporate and academic research excellence on the GSK Campus at Stevenage. By awarding it opportunity zone status, SBC can strengthen the UK’s sectorial advantage and Hertfordshire’s position within the Oxford-London-Cambridge golden research triangle.”

Dr Stephen Ward, Chief Manufacturing Officer, Cell and Gene Therapy Catapult, stated: “The global uniqueness of having research, development and manufacturing closely connected within the campus and its surrounding geography is a key driver for growth and needs to be capitalised upon to ensure the economic and health benefits can be fully realised for the UK.”

Stevenage Bioscience Catalyst is one of six Life Sciences Opportunity Zones that will connect together to promote the sector on an international stage.

In the second Life Sciences Sector Deal, the government committed to take action to help areas with clear life sciences strengths to grow. Life Sciences Opportunity Zones (LSOZ) are a key part of this and will promote life science parks to potential investors. They highlight the opportunities of the area, such as vacant lab space, land to build new facilities, or links with higher education, amongst others. This helps to deliver the recommendation of the Life Sciences Industrial Strategy for government to support the growth of life sciences clusters.

In its emerging Local Industrial Strategy, Hertfordshire LEP recognises the importance of this sector to the local and UK economy. Over the past decade, it states, the county has excelled in growing a cell and gene cluster which is of global significance. “This must flourish with synergistic links to London and Cambridge…there is a particular concentration on which to build along a “science corridor” along the A1(M) – from Hatfield through Stevenage towards the north Hertfordshire towns.”

https://www.hertfordshirelep.com/news-events/news/business-and-industry-minister-announces-stevenage-bioscience-catalyst-as-one-of-six-new-life-sciences-opportunity-zones-in-uk/

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