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.

Photography competition launched following results of urban artworks survey

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

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

The winning themes are:

Stevenage Photographers

Town Centre Gardens

‘Stevenage on Wheels’

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A new Sports & Leisure Centre for Stevenage: Your Feedback

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

FAQs

Q: What will happen to the Gordon Craig Theatre?

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

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

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

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

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

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.

 

 

 

A relocated Stevenage Museum: Your feedback

As part of long-term transformation proposals for Stevenage Town Centre, the relocation of Stevenage Museum is in its early stages of discussion. Earlier this year, Stevenage Borough Council asked the local community to share their views on what people would expect from a relocated museum.

Almost 300 people completed the survey, providing important feedback as we look to further celebrate and expand the museum so that the rich history of the town can continue to be told.

Stevenage Museum is well loved by the community and you told us that it is friendly and welcoming with informative and educational displays. However, you find it to be small and dark, and hard to find. The community would like to see the museum relocated to a more central location with different opening hours, and improved facilities including a café and better toilet facilities, including accessible toilets.

Questions were also asked about future activities and events within the future space. Family friendly activities, educational events such as object handling and interactive experiences such as virtual reality, were most important to you.

Cllr Richard Henry, Leader of Stevenage Borough Council, commented: “I would like to thank everyone who answered this survey, providing important information which will help us to deliver a museum that our communities have helped to shape.  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”.

Cllr Loraine Rossati, Executive Member for Culture, Leisure and Information Technology, said: “We are committed to working with our communities, and will continue to involve local people and communities in developing our future museum. The feedback shared demonstrates how people are keen to work with us, and we look forward to returning with further opportunities for feedback in due course”.

Jo Ward, Curator at Stevenage Museum, added: “There is so much for everyone to see and enjoy at the museum, and we value feedback shared to help us create exhibitions and exhibits that are enjoyed by everyone. Relocation gives us this opportunity to be more ambitious and to expand our programme more widely. Thank you to everyone who participated!”

Work continues on the museum relocation and updates – including further opportunities to comment – will be shared in the future.

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
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.

Construction work set to begin on new multi-storey car park

Construction is set to begin on a new £9m multi-storey car park for Stevenage. The new car parking facility, to be built on the existing Railway North car park, is being delivered by specialist contractor Huber and was granted planning permission by Stevenage Borough Council in January 2022.

The new parking facility will deliver an increased number of spaces on this site. 622 spaces will be provided – up from 339 on the existing car park – and includes 30 blue badge spaces. Initially 30 spaces will be available for electric vehicles, with capacity to increase charging facilities significantly as demand increases. Secure parking for 80 bikes is included as part of the scheme.

The design of the car park highlights some of the best features of the town, creating a unique car park to support commuters and residents, and the economic growth of Stevenage.

Cllr Sharon Taylor OBE, Leader of Stevenage Borough Council said: “This is a hugely exciting development for Stevenage. Situated at the gateway to the town, we are creating a car park to support commuters and residents and providing an improved experience for those using the facilities. By future proofing the scheme, we are responding to changing customer requirements. The new car park on this site will perfectly complement the Bus Interchange and offer a number of ways for people to travel”.

The construction work means that the Railway North car park will be closing on Monday 23 May, for approximately a year. There is alternative parking provision within the town, and it is recommended to park at St George’s Way Multi-Storey car park (SG1 1EP) or Westgate Multi-Storey (SG1 1QR) car park during this closure.

Cllr John Gardner, Executive Portfolio Holder for Regeneration & Environment at Stevenage Borough Council said: “We understand that there will be a degree of frustration that we are closing the Railway North car park, and we would like to reassure residents that there is alternative parking provision in the town. Our town centre is being transformed through a £1bn regeneration programme, and as part of this, we want to ensure that our town centre is as accessible as possible and that people have travel choices when visiting the town.”

Huber is a specialist Multi storey car park design and build contractor working across the UK with variety of public and private development. Tomer Meirom of Huber said: “We are very excited to take part in the regeneration of Stevenage, the plans are grand, and we are proud to have been chosen to design and build this unique facility in such pivotal place in town. We hope to keep the disturbance to the public to the minimum necessary.”

These improved facilities will offer more for those using the railway station and improve the gateway to Stevenage. Together with the Stevenage Bus Interchange, this development will help to create a sustainable travel hub. By investing in sustainable facilities, including car parking for electric vehicles, secure storage for bicycles and the easy connection to the new bus interchange, people will have choices about how they travel.

Community ideas to transform bus station on Danestrete revealed

Earlier this year Stevenage Borough Council asked the local community to share their thoughts on how they would like to see the soon to-be-vacant bus station on Danestrete transformed. Almost 300 people responded with their views, with a wide range of ideas that will help to transform this space in the heart of the town centre.

We asked people to complete a survey which included sharing views on what leisure activities, events and food facilities should be provided in the space. There was support for music performances with other suggestions for a community area including dance shows, comedy performances, markets, parks and art exhibitions. A high proportion of those who responded would like to see ice skating or roller skating as part of the leisure offering, with other ideas including arcade games and community yoga.

The majority of respondents would like to see street food on offer.

In response to feedback, the planning application submitted features a large multi-purpose events space at one end, surrounded by seating and canopies. This will allow spectators to enjoy the area in most weathers, including impromptu performances. We recognise the importance of this being an active space even without events, and so green space, seating and lighting are proposed to act as a ‘pop-up park’ with informal play features and natural seating areas that face the performance area.

The planning application for the scheme has been submitted to the local planning authority. If approved, construction works are expected to begin in the summer.

Cllr Sharon Taylor OBE, Leader of Stevenage Borough Council said: “Providing active spaces for our communities in the heart of the town centre is important to us. Not only are we building on what we already offer in the town, but we will be providing an area that people can enjoy throughout the year with a range of activities for everyone. 82% of people who responded to the survey would like to see new facilities in the space, highlighting the need for this area to be transformed.”

Cllr John Gardner, Executive Portfolio Holder for Regeneration & Environment at Stevenage Borough Council said: “I would like to thank everyone who shared their views with us. This is an important space for the town and we want to continue to work together as we move these designs forward. Stevenage town centre is going through a really exciting period of change, and the work we are doing on this particular site reflects our community spirit and will increase the time people spend in the town centre, in turn supporting our businesses”.

The number of new elements in the space will be limited where possible to make the designs sustainable. We are aiming to retain and relocate the elements in the space where possible. This includes utilising the existing trees on site and working with the SDS service to see whether we can use recycled elements in our proposed design.

The current station will close when the new Bus Interchange opens and the council will be delivering a first phase of works to begin to transform the area to provide a very different look and feel. Although the wider redevelopment of the current bus station site will happen later as part of the SG1 masterplan, when these works begin in full we would like some of these ideas to be integrated into the permanent scheme.