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.

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.

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.

 

 

 

Railway North Car Park wins award

Stevenage’s Railway North car park, adjacent to Stevenage Railway Station, has been jointly awarded ‘Best New Car Park’ in a town or city at this year’s British Parking Awards.

The award recognises outstanding design and construction techniques that turn car parks into landmark structures. The car park must deliver an excellent driving and parking experience, alongside creating an attractive, safe and aesthetically pleasing environment that displays green thinking.

Opened in May 2023 with 622 spaces, including spaces for electric vehicle charging and blue badge parking, driver experience is at the heart of the car park. This includes no columns for ease of manoeuvring. The facility benefits from solar panels to aid sustainability.

Delivered by contractor HUBER car park systems UK Ltd, the car park received funding from the Government’s Towns Fund. Stevenage Development Board secured £37.5m, the second joint highest bid in the country. £1.1m was contributed as part of the multi-million pound Growth Deal funding secured by Hertfordshire Local Enterprise Partnership for Stevenage regeneration.

The exterior is distinguishable due to its unique façade. The bold design marks the entrance to the town from the Railway Station, celebrating the achievements of Stevenage in the fields of science and technology alongside recognising the communities of the town.

The Railway North car park has recently also been awarded the Park Mark Plus award, the first car park in Hertfordshire to receive this. Park Mark Plus is a comprehensive assessment demonstrating the highest quality of today’s modern car parks in services, operations, design and build. The award of Park Mark Plus demonstrates that its facility provides police-approved accredited parking and has reached the standards of the Disabled Parking Accreditation and a range of environmental, structural, operational and customer services criteria.

Cllr Richard Henry, Leader of Stevenage Borough Council, commented: “Receiving two awards for the multi-storey car park demonstrates our commitment to providing the best. This facility has been judged as being best in class and through its bold design marks not only the scientific milestones that have come from the town but also creates a real welcome to Stevenage. We are meeting the expectations of consumers in the modern day and providing for the future with a car park with experience and useability at its heart, which includes dedicated secure cycle parking. Both of these accreditations are fantastic and set the standard for partnership working across the town and county”.

Adrian Hawkins OBE, Chair of Stevenage Development Board and Chair of Hertfordshire LEP, commented: “Stevenage Development Board is delivering a visionary regeneration programme supported by a diverse range of stakeholders including the LEP, to transform the town into a vibrant and thriving STEM hub. We are raising the bar for town centre transformations by planning and delivering to the highest specification, and this award is a brilliant reflection of our shared commitment to excellence.”

Cllr Lloyd Briscoe, Executive Member for Economy and Transport at Stevenage Borough Council commented: “This facility provides an enhanced user experience, contributing to a sustainable travel hub which offers people choices as to how they can travel. We are strengthening what the town has to offer, enhancing the welcome to visitors, encouraging businesses to expand and supporting communities across Hertfordshire. I hope that people enjoy using an award winning car park which is safe, accessible and well-maintained”.

Markus Lauble, Managing Director, HUBER car park systems UK Ltd, added: “Right from the start of this project, we enjoyed a positive, open and transparent working partnership with Stevenage Borough Council, and are delighted that the end product proved to be an award-winning mobility hub we can all be extremely proud of.”

Park Mark Plus awarded to Stevenage Railway North car park

Stevenage Borough Council once again demonstrates the highest standards across its parking operations as its new Railway Station North car park has been awarded the Park Mark Plus award, the first car park in Hertfordshire to receive this.

Park Mark Plus is a comprehensive assessment demonstrating the highest quality of today’s modern car parks in services, operations, design and build.  To achieve the award, car parks must demonstrate a wide range of responsibilities.

Building on the well-regarded Safer Parking Scheme’s Park Mark award, Park Mark Plus recognises only the highest quality car parks. The Railway North car park in Stevenage opened in May 2023.  Adjacent to Stevenage Railway Station, the 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. There is secure storage for 80 bicycles in a dedicated, covered space adjacent to the car park. The car park built by contractor Huber has no columns, which greatly aids vehicle movements.

The award of Park Mark Plus demonstrates that its facility provides police-approved accredited parking, and has reached the standards of the Disabled Parking Accreditation and a range of environmental, structural, operational and customer services criteria. This is a fantastic achievement and recognises that Stevenage Borough Council has parking facilities with measures in place that actively deter crime and the fear of crime in car parks.

Cllr Richard Henry, Leader of Stevenage Borough Council, commented: “We strive for excellence in all projects that we deliver and being awarded the Park Mark Plus accreditation is a testament to the fantastic team who helped to deliver this facility. Our transport infrastructure needs to be modern and meet the needs of the consumers of today, and the car park certainly achieves this. It is a real honour to be the first car park in Hertfordshire to have achieved this accreditation and my thanks go to everyone who made this possible”.

The car park received funding from the Government’s Towns Fund. Stevenage Development Board secured £37.5m, the second joint highest bid in the country. £1.1m was contributed as part of the multi-million-pound Growth Deal funding secured by Hertfordshire Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) for Stevenage regeneration.

Adrian Hawkins OBE, Chair of Hertfordshire LEP and Stevenage Development Board, said: “Stevenage Development Board brings together diverse stakeholders to take forward a clear vision for the town. We want our town to be a top destination to live, work and visit. This car park, together with the new bus interchange and improved sustainable transport links, acts as a central gateway to our STEM city, widening opportunities and access for all. We are delighted to receive this award.”

Cllr Lloyd Briscoe, Executive Member for Economy and Transport at Stevenage Borough Council, said, “Stevenage town centre is being transformed and a key part of this is making our town centre accessible and linking different modes of transport. This accreditation recognises the standards that are included within the car park to make it safe, accessible, and well maintained for our residents, communities, businesses, and visitors.”

Chief Inspector Graeme Walsingham said, “The regeneration of the town is an exciting project and has our full support. We will continue working with our local partners to help keep the area a safe place to live, work and visit.”

Mark Montgomery, Crime Prevention Design Officer/Designing Out Crime Officer, Hertfordshire Constabulary said, “It is a pleasure to work with Stevenage Borough Council on their regeneration projects and I am especially pleased to see that not only did they achieve The Safer Parking Park Mark award, they have also won the distinction of achieving the first Park Mark Plus award within Hertfordshire. Another first for Stevenage.”

Antony Powell, BPA Area Manager said, “Many congratulations to Stevenage Borough Council in gaining Park Mark Plus accreditation for the new Railway Station North multi-storey car park. Everyone involved in the design, construction, management and operation of this excellent facility should be proud of this achievement.”

For more information visit www.britishparking.co.uk/Park-Mark-Plus

To find Park Mark awarded car parks visit www.parkmark.co.uk

 Photo left to right:

  • Chief Inspector Graeme Walsingham, Hertfordshire Constabulary
  • Cllr Richard Henry, Leader of Stevenage Borough Council
  • Cllr Lloyd Briscoe, Executive Member for Economy and Transport at Stevenage Borough Council
  • Adrian Hawkins OBE, Chair of the Hertfordshire LEP and Chair of the Stevenage Development Board
  • Mayor of Stevenage, Cllr Myla Arceno
  • Inspector Nick Redfearn, Hertfordshire Constabulary
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.

Morgan Sindall dives into Stevenage Sports and Leisure Hub

Morgan Sindall Construction’s Northern Home Counties business has been appointed by Stevenage Borough Council (SBC) to help deliver a multi-million-pound Sports and Leisure Hub, as part of the town’s wider regeneration plans.

Procured through SCAPE’s National Construction Framework, the project is part of the council’s wider regeneration plans funded by the Government’s Town’s Fund initiative.

Set to be situated adjacent to the main Town Centre Gardens on St George’s Way, it will consolidate Stevenage’s health and wellbeing offering, which is currently positioned across three different sites.

Stevenage Sports and Leisure Hub will be a flexible state-of-the-art facility with swimming, studios, gym space and flexible sports facilities.

Not only will the Stevenage Sports and Leisure Hub deliver significantly improved sports facilities that will promote healthy living for Stevenage residents but it will also provide improved links between The Forum, Town Centre Gardens, Stevenage Old Town, King George V Playing Fields, and residential areas beyond. Throughout construction, local swimming provision will remain in operation.

As part of Morgan Sindall’s Intelligent Solutions approach, the project team will be working closely with SBC to embed sustainability into the design of the facility at all stages.

Morgan Sindall makes a commitment to deliver at least 30% of the contract value in social value to where it is most needed in the communities in which it operates. In line with this, the project team plan to bring its Knowledge Quad to site, exposing young people in Stevenage to career opportunities within the construction industry, which they previously may not have considered.

David Rowsell, area director for Morgan Sindall Construction in the Northern Home Counties, said: “We understand the value of community leisure facilities and how they can act as a springboard for better physical and mental health outcomes.

“Stevenage Sports and Leisure Hub will be a new focal point for the town. Having a new state-of-the-art facility with the whole health and wellbeing offering under one roof, will encourage greater levels of participation in sport, delivering improvements to quality of life across Stevenage.

“We are very proud to be working alongside Stevenage Borough Council to deliver its transformational regeneration plans, as it continues to Level Up its town centre.”

Cllr Richard Henry, Leader of Stevenage Borough Council, said: “We are really pleased to have appointed Morgan Sindall to deliver this new Sports and Leisure Hub for Stevenage, with the proposed new facilities modernising and increasing our sports and leisure offering. We need the help of our residents and communities as we progress this scheme, and will be inviting everyone to have their say in the coming months so that the community can help to design a facility with benefits and activities for all. Having recently confirmed Everyone Active as the new operator for our leisure facilities, this is a really exciting time for sports, leisure & culture provision in our town”.

Adrian Hawkins OBE, Chair of the Stevenage Development Board, said: “I can remember the joy and importance attached to our current swimming pool opening in Stevenage and look forward to this new development enhancing our current dated facilities. I am delighted that the Stevenage Development Board secured the funding for this project and what it will mean to so many people. Being specialists in delivering state-of-the-art leisure facilities, we look forward to working with Morgan Sindall in the development of this scheme, further demonstrating the high standards that the Stevenage regeneration schemes is setting.”

Mark Robinson, Group Chief Executive at SCAPE, added: “We are pleased to be supporting our partner, Morgan Sindall in the delivery of a new sports and leisure hub, bringing much-needed facilities to the community of Stevenage. In addition to utilising sustainable methods, the scheme will provide excellent social value opportunities, helping to create a lasting legacy for many years for the local people.