Latest urban artworks unveiled in Stevenage

12 July 2024

Those travelling by foot or bicycle in Stevenage may have noticed three new pieces of underpass artworks at the Monkswood Way and Six Hills Way roundabout.

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.

These newest artworks feature three themes that were voted for by the local community earlier this year. The first theme is ‘Stevenage on Wheels’ and focuses on sustainable active travel such as cycling and roller skating. Imagery from Hampson Skatepark, Cycling UK Stevenage, and Herts Roller Speed Team has been used as part of the mural design. The unveiling also coincides with the ‘Stevenage on Wheels’ exhibition at Stevenage Museum, on until 31 August. Find out more about the exhibition and other Museum events here: https://www.stevenage.gov.uk/stevenage-museum.

The Town Centre Gardens artwork celebrates the Green Space Volunteers who dedicate their time and efforts to keeping the Town Centre Gardens, amongst others, as beautiful as they are for everyone to enjoy. The gardens feature ornamental landscapes, the pond with the ‘Women and Doves’ fountain, alongside a sensory garden and commemorative and memorial trees. Further information on the work of a Green Space Volunteer, and how to become a Volunteer can be found here: https://www.stevenage.gov.uk/leisure-culture-and-wellbeing/parks-and-open-spaces/green-space-volunteers.

The final underpass showcases a collection of images taken by Stevenage Photographers, submitted by local amateur photographers, and selected as part of a competition launched earlier this year. The photos depict a variety of interest points taken from across the town. The winning entries have been fixed to the underpass brickwork, and feature contributions from the following:

Andy Shackell

Bluebells at Box Wood

Stag at Knebworth House

Brendan Falvey

Autumn at Fairlands Valley Park

Fireworks at Fairlands Valley Park

Joyride on Towns Square

C.W.S Mural on Towns Square

Colin Munford

Lavender at the Town Centre Gardens

Katie Walker

Walking through Monks Wood

Robin on the bridge

Lee Hardy

Misty morning in Great Ashby Woodland

Autumn at Fairlands Valley Park

Flowers in bloom at the War Memorial

 Rebecca Stuart

Fox in Shephall Green

The Towers on Southgate

Congratulations to all our winners.

Cllr Richard Henry, Leader of Stevenage Borough Council, comments: “Stevenage is a town with a rich history, a strong sense of community pride, and talented artists and photographers that is all celebrated through these urban artworks. Our work with Hertfordshire County Council to improve the underpasses by highlighting the assets of the town serves as a reminder of the unique place that Stevenage is. I would like to thank all of those who voted for their favourite themes and to the amateur photographers for submitting their imagery – the results are truly incredible and I look forward to the programme continuing throughout the borough”.

Cllr Loraine Rossati, Cabinet Member for Culture, Leisure and Wellbeing at Stevenage Borough Council, comments: “Street art is a fun and expressive way to not only improve the local environment for residents, businesses and visitors, but also to recognise our achievements and encourage people to use the assets we have in Stevenage. The artists and local photographers have done an incredible job and captured the essence of Stevenage perfectly”.

The project has been funded by the Stevenage Development Board through the UK Government Towns Fund, of which Stevenage received £37.5m in March 2021. 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.

Chair of the Stevenage Development Board Adrian Hawkins OBE added: “The murals have proved to be a remarkable project as they not only improve our environment but they have also engaged the people of Stevenage.

“They have helped to highlight the heritage we have in the town and also the achievements which are taking place and the remarkable future which is ahead.”

Hertfordshire-based street artists MurWalls have designed and painted the walls of two underpasses, commissioned by Hertfordshire County Council. The third underpass featuring photos taken by local amateur photographers have been printed onto panels, supplied and installed by Banana Media UK.

Cllr Phil Bibby, Executive Member for Highways & Transport at Hertfordshire County Council, commented: “I am delighted that Hertfordshire County Council continues to partner Stevenage Borough Council in brightening up the town’s subways. These are the latest subway improvements using art to enhance the experience for pedestrians and cyclists. As a local member and the Executive Member for Highways, improvements to encourage active travel are very important to me and helps to achieve our vision of cleaner, greener and healthier Hertfordshire”.

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.

Elsewhere, the painting of two large scale urban artworks is underway as part of wider improvements to Market Square. These will add colour and vibrancy to the area, and in keeping with the urban artworks in underpasses within the town, are being painted by MurWalls.

Improvements to Market Square to begin in the Summer

As part of a series of public realm improvement works will begin later this year on Market Square in Stevenage town centre.

The council is making changes to Market Square to make this area more attractive, safer for pedestrians who use this route, and offer greater visibility to the entrances of the Market and St George’s Car Park.

The council will be installing a new and improved footpath with a raised pedestrian crossing, improved lighting and introducing greenery, which will improve and brighten the area, creating a safer and visually improved crossing, whilst still providing designated loading bays for businesses who require deliveries and collections. Pedestrian safety is a priority and these works will create easy pedestrian movement and aid those with mobility issues. Two loading bays will be relocated, and there will be no loss of blue badge parking.

In addition, and in keeping with underpass artworks already displayed or underway within the town, two large scale urban artworks will be introduced to add colour and vibrancy to the area. Hertfordshire based artists MurWalls are working on designs to reflect the area.

Cllr Richard Henry, Leader of Stevenage Borough Council, comments: “This area is frequently used by pedestrians, including those visiting our much loved Indoor Market.  The space needs an upgrade, and by delivering these changes, we are ensuring that it remains safe, more easily accessible and ties into the fabric of the surrounding areas with bright, colourful artworks. We have worked closely with surrounding businesses, including within the Indoor Market, and will continue to work in collaboration whilst these works are delivered”.

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 Stevenage Development Board with its successful Towns Fund bid is working to strategically improve facilities for the public and businesses in the town and ensuring that the Government funding is fully utilised in the most appropriate areas to provide maximum benefit for all parties.”

Stevenage welcomes new development with topping out ceremony

The Guinness Partnership, one of England’s largest housing associations, held an event to celebrate topping out of the first phase of their development at the former Matalan site in Danesgate, Stevenage – a development which will eventually provide 526 new homes.

To mark this important occasion, Kevin Williams, Group Director of Development and Commercial Services at The Guinness Partnership, was joined by Stephen McPartland MP, Cllr Jeannette Thomas, the Deputy Leader of Stevenage Borough Council, Cllr James Brown, the Deputy Mayor of the Council and Cllr Sandra Barr along with Mick Laws, Regional Managing Director from Lovell Partnerships – the appointed contractors.

The development at the prominent town centre site was granted planning permission in 2021 by Stevenage Borough Council for the provision of a new high quality residential community, designed by award-winning architects Maccreanor Lavington.

The overall plan involves the construction of 526 one and two-bedroomed apartments along with 739 sq. m of flexible commercial space located at street level which aims to create active street frontages.

With funding from Homes England, the first phase of development consists of two buildings providing 143 one and two-bedroomed apartments. All the new homes will be offered as affordable tenures, including social rent, providing new and much needed low-cost homes in the heart of Stevenage.

Kevin Williams, Group Director of Development and Commercial Services at The Guinness Partnership said: “Topping out is a significant milestone in the regeneration of this site which will bring 526 new homes to Stevenage, and we are pleased to be delivering high-quality, affordable housing for the area. We would like to thank our partners on this project, Homes England, Stevenage Borough Council, Lovell Partnerships, Turner & Townsend and Maccreanor Lavington who have all helped us get to this important stage.”

Cllr Jeannette Thomas, Deputy Leader of the Council and Executive Member for Housing and Housing Development, commented: “This phase of works focuses on the building of affordable homes, and our thanks go to The Guinness Partnership for the speedy delivery of these. Alongside homes, the development brings a wide range of other benefits that will support the town centre, and current and future residents.  Our town centre needs a variety of uses so it can continue to thrive. As a council, we strive to deliver the best for Stevenage and this development is an example of that”.

Mick Laws, Regional Managing Director at Lovell said: “We are delighted to be celebrating the topping out at this latest development we are delivering for The Guinness Partnership. We are making excellent progress in line with our programme and are on target to deliver the much-needed affordable homes early next year.”

The first phase will complete in Spring 2025.

Early works taking place on the former Swingate House site

A series of early works are underway on the former Swingate House site in Stevenage Town Centre in preparation for construction of the new development. 261 homes and a commercial unit will be built, with works expected to take two years to complete.

As part of the preparatory works, contractor Gilbert-Ash are carrying out works including the removal of some of the debris on the site, in order to level out the ground to install the piling which will create the site foundations. Material from the demolition – known as crush – will be reused as part of the foundation works.

The main construction works will begin later in the Spring.

Cllr Richard Henry, Leader of Stevenage Borough Council, commented: “It is fantastic to see these works on the site.  This scheme will help to diversify the uses within our town centre, encouraging spend and supporting our existing businesses and attracting new ones to benefit our local communities. This is a really exciting time for the town as we continue to create a thriving town for people to live, work and visit.”

The former Swingate House site forms part of the wider SG1 masterplan for Stevenage Town Centre, which in its entirety will deliver new homes, jobs, office and retail space, alongside new public spaces.

Kevin Cowin, Director at Mace, commented: “The commencement of works to enable the redevelopment of the Swingate House site is an exciting milestone in Stevenage Town Centre’s regeneration. Mace is proud to play a key role in delivering this with the Council and our local partners.”

Activity is taking place within the current hoarding line and there will be no impact to traffic using any of the surrounding roads.

Adrian Hawkins OBE, Chair of the Stevenage Development Board, added: “We are very excited to see the works being undertaken on the former Swingate site as these underline the commitment to developing a centre which will create vibrant new opportunities for the population of Stevenage.

“This work will be a catalyst to other phases that will not only benefit the town centre but also offer much improved options for leisure, dining and work. Town centres across the UK are facing up to radical changes and we are proud that Stevenage is at the forefront of this transition which will prove to be a very positive and dynamic change.”

The site is being brought forward by Mace, in partnership with Stevenage Borough Council.

A new Sports & Leisure Centre for Stevenage: Have Your Say

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

They will be re-provided in a new state of the art building with a wide range of innovative and exciting services and activities, promoting healthy living and wellbeing for residents.

It is proposed that the facility will encompass swimming, studios and gym space with flexible sports and leisure facilities, with early ideas including the inclusion of a café with access from the Town Centre Gardens.

The design of the facility is in its very early stages and we would like to hear what local communities would like from a new facility for the town. At this stage, the council is asking residents, businesses and visitors to complete a short survey to help us better understand what’s important.

The closing date for completing the survey is Friday 24 November at 3pm. The survey can be found online via https://forms.office.com/e/KCBD8BRtQ0, with hard copies available at various locations including the Stevenage Arts & Leisure Centre (located at the reception to the gym).

Cllr Richard Henry, Leader of Stevenage Borough Council, commented: “This is a really exciting opportunity for our residents to have their say on this proposed new development for the town. The existing sports, health, and wellbeing services provided within Stevenage Arts & Leisure Centre and Stevenage Swimming Centre are well used and the council is looking to future proof these services by replacing them with brand new facilities in the new building, both in terms of provision of services and capacity for the growing town and increased usage”.

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:

“The Stevenage Development Board is an independent group focused on making Stevenage Even Better. We are delighted to see the commencement of our new Sports & Leisure project in Stevenage as we remain certain that this major investment will greatly contribute to improvements in the enjoyment, health and welfare of our residents and the many employees also based within the town and locality.

“The team at the council are working very hard to deliver the many Towns Fund projects and meet the increasing interest in our town from the many UK and overseas organisations. We look forward to your kind assistance in providing feedback so that you can enjoy these facilities even more.”

Cllr Loraine Rossati, Executive Member for Culture, Leisure and Information Technology, said: “We have a vision for this new facility for the town, and the involvement of our communities is a key part of that vision. This is a new space for everyone to enjoy, and for that to be realised, we need help to shape what we want in a new, state-of-the-art building. This is the start of an extensive process with residents, the local community, businesses and visitors as we work collaboratively to deliver a facility that everyone can use and be proud of.”

Morgan Sindall Construction, who have extensive experience of building leisure facilities, have been appointed to help deliver the Sports & Leisure Hub. The upgraded facility will be managed by Everyone Active, a specialist leisure operator who operate the council’s leisure facilities within the town.

Emma Curtis, Area Director at Morgan Sindall, commented: “With previous experience in the leisure sector, we understand the value of community leisure facilities and just how much they can act as a springboard for both improved physical and mental health.

“The new sports and leisure hub will be a new focal point for the town and this opportunity will allow us to engage positively with Stevenage residents by offering both employment and apprenticeship opportunities.

“We are very proud to be working alongside Stevenage Borough Council to deliver its transformational regeneration plans and are excited to receive your feedback on what you’d like to see at your new sports and leisure hub.”

Allan Prescott, Everyone Active contract manager, said: “We are excited to be a part of this transformative project in Stevenage. The needs of residents are ever evolving and it is important that we deliver a top-notch facility that caters to the needs and aspirations of the local residents. I would urge everyone to get involved in this consultation to help shape the plans.”

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Q: What is the new Sports & Leisure Hub?

The proposed new Sports & Leisure Hub is a modern state of the art leisure facility that will encompass swimming, studios, gym space, flexible sports and leisure facilities, consolidating the sports, leisure and swimming facilities currently being provided at different locations to one new, purpose-built leisure facility.

The design of the facility is in its infancy and the council is committed to working alongside the local community on a facility that will offer something for everyone.

Q; What will the new facility include?

The new Sports & Leisure Hub will incorporate facilities including swimming, studios, gym, a sports hall, and flexible sports and leisure facilities. The venue will encompass more than just sports, becoming a place for leisure, and an additional focal point for the town. The proposals include the inclusion of a café which will be accessible to people using the Town Centre Gardens.

The Leisure Hub will be innovative and with cutting edge designs providing a wide range of diverse facilities and services to ensure that whole community will be able to take full advantage of the centre’s offerings in a comfortable, safe, accessible, and modern environment.

Q: How will it be different to our current facilities?

The proposals would see wet and dry facilities available under one roof, whereas they are currently split across two different locations. The facilities would be modern and fit-for-purpose, future proofing the facility and ensuring that those using this have access to clean and high quality areas for health, wellbeing, leisure and sports.

Q: Who will manage the facility?

The new leisure facility will be managed by Everyone Active, a specialist leisure operator who already run services in the town.  Everyone Active manage over 200 leisure facilities in the UK and work with over 60 local authorities.

Q: Why is it needed?

The existing sports and leisure centre facilities, including the current swimming pool, are well used but were designed and built in the 1960’s and 70’s. By combining leisure and sports facilities we will not only have a much better, high quality facility services on one site, but also a highly improved customer experience, lower maintenance costs, more efficient use of space and a significant reduction in our carbon footprint.

Q: When will it be opening?

The council and its delivery partners are at the very early stages of this journey. There are several more stages to go through including further opportunities for residents, communities, and businesses to have their say, prior to a planning application being submitted.

Should the application be granted permission, then there will be further preparatory work ahead of construction beginning.

Q: What will happen to the empty spaces at the Arts & Leisure Centre when the new leisure facility is built?

The council will work with Everyone Active and other key stakeholders during the period of the new leisure hub development to consider alternative options for the use of the space vacated by the existing services.

Q: When can I see the plans?

This is the start of an extensive co-production process with residents, the local community, schools and businesses as we work collaboratively to deliver a facility that everyone can use and be proud of. At this current stage, we do not have any design plans to show, and we are asking for feedback on what people would like to see from a new facility and services provided, as opposed to designs. The feedback we receive will be used to shape the look and feel of the facility. The local authority is committed to providing a facility which can be enjoyed by all.

Q: What will happen to the other services that operate in the existing building when the new building opens?

The majority of leisure, sport, health and wellbeing services will be transferred to the new and enhanced by improved facilities and additional services. The theatre will remain whilst future options will be considered.

Q: What will happen to the Gordon Craig Theatre?

The council is committed to retaining a theatre within Stevenage Town Centre. The Gordon Craig Theatre will continue to operate as normal during the development of the new Leisure Hub, but the council will continue to look at future alternative options for the theatre as an integral part for the regeneration of the town.

Q: Who is paying for this?

The project is being funded partly through Towns Fund, using some of the £37.5m awarded in March 2021. The Council is currently developing a funding strategy including working with the government and government bodies on further national funding for the facility alongside any Council funding.

 

 

 

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.

Community asked to help shape relocated Stevenage Museum

As part of long-term transformation proposals for Stevenage town centre, the relocation of Stevenage Museum is in its early stages of discussion. This would see the museum relocate from its current home in the under croft of the Church of St Andrew and St George to a space in the centre of the town. Stevenage Borough Council is asking the community to share their views on what they expect from a relocated museum.

Stevenage Museum is a key feature of Stevenage town centre. Showcasing the history of the town, along with a programme of events for all the family, the museum is a much-loved community space that celebrates the arts, culture and history of the UK’s first New Town. It deserves to be celebrated and expanded so that the rich history of the town can continue to be told.

If you’re a resident, community group or business, please complete our survey with your thoughts and ideas on what should be incorporated within a relocated museum. The aim is to create a multi-purpose museum with the flexibility to adapt to different kinds of activities, events and exhibitions.

The closing date for completing the survey is Friday 7 July at 3pm. The survey can be found online via https://forms.office.com/e/kw0cVn3aDA, with hard copies available at Stevenage Museum and Stevenage Central Library.

Cllr Richard Henry, Leader of Stevenage Borough Council, commented: “Our ambition is that this new space is an even better focal point to celebrate the arts and culture of our town, allowing us to better celebrate our heritage. We are the UK’s first New Town and throughout our regeneration we have sought to embed our heritage, arts and culture into the wider programme. The museum project sits at the epicentre of this”.

Cllr Loraine Rossati, Executive Member for Culture, Leisure and Information Technology, said: “This is only the start of our plan to involve local people and communities in how our museum develops. We have so much history to be proud of across the town, and we encourage everyone to use this opportunity to be part of this journey with the museum”.

Jo Ward, Curator at Stevenage Museum, added: “There is so much for everyone to see and enjoy at the museum, and we are constantly looking for new ways to celebrate Stevenage. Whilst we do love our current home, relocating gives us the opportunity to be more ambitious and to expand our programme more widely, all the while creating a space for the community to enjoy. We need your help and look forward to hearing people’s views!”.

Multi-Storey Car Park adjacent to Stevenage Railway Station opens

The new multi-storey car park adjacent to Stevenage Railway Station is open. The car park is operational 24 hours a day and is a long stay car park.

The new car park provides 622 spaces, an increase from the previous car park that had 339 spaces. There are 30 blue badge spaces, as well as 30 spaces that are available for electric vehicle charging. There is CCTV in the building and cashless pay machines.

In addition to vehicles, there is secure parking for 80 bicycles in a dedicated, covered space adjacent to the car park. There is also space for three larger cycles. This facility is being run by Spokesafe.

A series of Frequently Asked Questions will provide you with information on the facility, including the cycle storage. Please see these below.

Q: What is the tallest vehicle that can enter?

A: The car park has a height restriction of 2.2 m. Vehicles over this height can park in the Railway South car park.

Q: How many electric vehicle points are there?

A: 30 spaces will be immediately available for use by electric cars. There are further car parking spaces that have the necessary infrastructure to be converted to electric vehicle spaces as the demand increases.

Q: How do you pay for electric vehicle charging?

A: Payment is taken through the Blink Charging – EB Go! app, using the same provider as at St George’s multi-storey car park, The Forum car park and on-street on Swingate.

Q: Will the charging points charge all electric vehicles?

A: The charging points will give a charge at up to 7kW via a type 2 socket which is compatible with almost all EVs on the market.

Q: Where are the blue badge spaces located?

A: The blue badge spaces are split across different levels, with most of the spaces at ground level. The car park has two lifts to allow movement between floors. The spaces are located as close as possible to the lifts.

Q: What hours will the lifts be in operation?

A: The lifts are in operation during train running times.

Q: Are there columns throughout the car park?

A: No, the car park contains no columns. This design creates more unobstructed space for individual cars and to allow ease of parking and manoeuvring.

Q: Where is the entrance and exit?

A: The entrance and exit to the car park is on Lytton Way, as it was with the former surface level car park. There are two entrance barriers and two exit barriers.

Q: Does the car park use chip coins like the others in the town?

A: No. The car park uses licence plate registration. This system calculates how long a car has been in the car park without the need for chip coins.

Q: How much does it cost to park?

A: The parking costs are available here: Parking (stevenage.gov.uk). Parking charges are reviewed for all car parks annually.

Q: How do I purchase a season ticket?

A: Information about purchasing a season ticket can be found on our website: Car Park Season Tickets (stevenage.gov.uk)

Q: I have been using a season ticket in another car park. Will it transfer across?

A: As long as the appropriate details have been provided to our car parks team, this will transfer across to the new car park.

Q: Where do taxis collect people from?

A: The taxi rank remains in its usual location and pick-ups and drop offs are not affected. You cannot pick up and drop off in the new car park site.

Q: Are the two-tier cycle stands remaining?

A: The two-tier cycle stands within the taxi rank location remain as they are.

SPOKESAFE SECURE CYCLE STORAGE

Q: What is Stevenage Railway North Secure Cycle Parking?

A: Stevenage Railway North Secure Cycle Parking provides a safe place for bikes to be left, in a secure storage facility operating 24 hours a day, seven days a week. There are 80 spaces available, along with 3 spaces for larger bikes. The facility is covered to protect bikes from the elements.

Specialist operator Spokesafe will manage the storage through its purpose-built app.

Spokesafe provide cyclists with access to a network of secure places to park. The Stevenage facility accepts bikes only, with three spaces for larger cycles.

There is a repair stand available next to the storage.

Stevenage Railway North Secure Cycle Parking (spokesafe.com)

Q: Where is it located?

A: The secure cycle parking is located at the pedestrian entrance of the new multi-storey car park, which is opposite the bottom of the stairs as you exit the railway station towards the taxi rank.

Q: When is it open?

A: The cycle parking is now open. It will be open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, all year round.

Q: How does it work?

A: Cyclists can gain access to the facility via the Spokesafe app, which you will need to sign up to. When you would like to park your bike, log into the app to request a code to gain entry to the building via a keypad. You should still bring a lock to secure your bike to the stand.

Q: What is the price?

A: Membership costs £10 a month or £1 per day for Pay As You Go bookings. Monthly memberships provide unlimited access to the facility.

Q: Where do you subscribe?

A: You can sign up at www.spokesafe.app. Please note this will require a form of photo ID to complete the registration. All members receive full access instructions once they have signed up.

Q: Do I get a reserved space?

A: Membership provides users with access to the facility and you are not allocated a reserved space. However, Spokesafe monitor usage levels closely and will pause taking on new members should the facility be regularly full.

Q: How long can I leave my bike in the facility for?

A: Bicycles can be left for up to 1 month. Bike dumping is something that Spokesafe monitor. When signing up you will add your bicycle to Spokesafe’s database, and the owners of any bikes which appear to be abandoned will be contacted. If Spokesafe do not hear back from you, the bike will be donated to charity.

Q: What happens if I need help accessing the facility?

A: For general enquiries & questions, please email hello@spokesafe.com.

Spokesafe operate a 24/7 emergency helpline where you can speak to a friendly member of their team straight away. The number is 020 3488 0060.

The Guinness Partnership celebrates start of work

The Guinness Partnership, one of England’s largest Housing Associations, held an event to celebrate breaking ground on the first phase of their development at the former Matalan site in Danesgate, Stevenage.

The event was attended by The Guinness Partnership’s Head of Development Delivery, Denise Mulligan, and Lovell Regional Managing Director, Mick Laws as well as representatives from Stevenage Borough Council and Stevenage Development Board and global consultancy, Turner & Townsend.

Lovell Partnerships, the appointed contractors will be starting construction at the prominent town centre site which was granted planning permission in 2021 by Stevenage Borough Council for the development of a new high quality residential community, designed by award-winning architects Maccreanor Lavington.

Thanks to additional funding from Homes England, the overall plans involve the construction of 526 one and two-bedroomed apartments along with 779 sq. m of flexible commercial space located at street level which aims to create active street frontages.

The delivery of the new development will take place in phases, the first of which being two blocks located on the eastern part of the site facing Danestrete and the top end of Danesgate. Phase 1 will provide 143 one and two-bedroomed apartments and all new homes will be offered as affordable tenures, providing a new and very valuable source of low cost homes located in the heart of Stevenage. It will also include one of the internal landscaped gardens serving the development.

The expected construction programme for the first phase is completion by the end of 2024/early 2025. Future phases are expected to follow from 2025 onwards.

Global professional services company, Turner & Townsend, is Guinness’s Project Manager and Employer’s Agent for the contract, having provided consultancy services throughout the pre-construction design and enabling (including demolition) stages of the project.

Jon Milburn, Group Development Director, at The Guinness Partnership said: “We are pleased to start work on this important residential-led regeneration project which very much complements the Borough Council’s ambitions for a vibrant and revitalised town centre. We are grateful for the support and positive approach of Stevenage Borough Council since we first acquired the site, as well as Homes England who have injected vital financial backing to make this project a reality in a challenging economic climate.”

Mick Laws at Lovell Partnerships said: “We are delighted to be partnering Guinness on this construction project which will create a significant number of jobs on-site. We are supporters of the Considerate Constructors Scheme and will ensure, as we always do, that we engage positively with the local community to minimise construction impacts.”

Jonathan Edmondson, Senior Provider Manager at Homes England, said: “Homes England is committed to supporting partners that have ambitions to build new homes and our investment through affordable housing grant allows us to do that. The development of the Matalan site is clear evidence of the impact our Strategic Partnership with Guinness is having in providing much needed new homes in Stevenage.”

Cllr Richard Henry, Leader of the Council at Stevenage Borough Council, said: “It will be great to see work underway on this site, which forms an important part of the overall vision we have for Stevenage town centre. We are transforming the town by introducing new facilities, town centre living, transport infrastructure and activities for all, and our successful partnership working with The Guinness Partnership is helping this to be realised”.

Event Island Stevenage opening on Saturday 29 October

‘Event Island Stevenage’ will make a spooky debut when it opens on Saturday 29 October, with live music, entertainment, and a variety of Halloween themed activities. The new space is located on Danestrete on the site of the former bus station and offers a seasonal programme of events and activities in the heart of the town centre.

Event Island Stevenage will be opening on the same day as Halloween-Tastic 2022. Events taking place include free face painting, scary reptile handling, Halloween themed craft stalls and Harry Potter themed dance performances. The events will be held across the town, including in the Indoor Market, Town Square and Event Island Stevenage.

Cllr Sharon Taylor, Leader of the Council and Portfolio Holder for Regeneration, commented:  “We are so excited to open Event Island Stevenage. This is a space for the community to enjoy, and by activating an area that has historically been largely inaccessible, we are creating a destination that will introduce a variety of uses into the town.  We hope that our residents will enjoy this new space, including all the new greenery and planting that has been introduced. This is the ideal location for many popular events and activities, and I look forward to trying everything that is on offer”.

Cllr Richard Henry, Deputy Leader of the Council and Portfolio Holder for Children, Young People, Leisure & Culture, added: “Stevenage has a vibrant arts and culture scene, and Event Island Stevenage will build on this. Whilst we have some activities already planned, there is plenty of further opportunity for communities to get involved and use the space for events and performances. We have listened to ideas as we have programmed events but would encourage groups to get in contact if they wish to use the space!”.

With an activity programme designed in consultation with the local community, Event Island Stevenage offers a green space with new planting, informal play areas, and seating. Celebrating the culture of the town, the space will attract more visitors to the town centre and support our existing businesses.

The space is expected to remain for at least two years before the wider redevelopment begins.