Photography competition launched following results of urban artworks survey

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

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

The winning themes are:

Stevenage Photographers

Town Centre Gardens

‘Stevenage on Wheels’

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A new Sports & Leisure Centre for Stevenage: Your Feedback

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

FAQs

Q: What will happen to the Gordon Craig Theatre?

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

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

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

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

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

Community invited to vote on new urban artworks in Stevenage

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

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

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

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

The themes are:

1. Eric Claxton

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

2. Town Centre Gardens

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

3. William Mitchell

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

4. ‘Stevenage on wheels’

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

5. Stevenage Town Centre

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

6. Stevenage photographers

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

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

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

The survey closes at midday on Friday 8 March 2024.

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

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

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

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

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

Stevenage featured in Harrington Review of Foreign Direct Investment

Stevenage and its expanding Life Sciences sector has been featured in the Harrington Review of Foreign Direct Investment (November 2023). Lord Harrington’s Review looks at how the UK can better attract foreign direct investment into key growth sectors, ensuring the UK is the most attractive destination in Europe for internationally mobile investment.

With the third largest cluster in the world of cell and gene therapy companies, the case study from Stevenage and partners Reef Group and investor UBS focuses on delivering inward investment through a proactive planning approach, providing growth for the local area and the local cluster, as well as supporting Life Sciences nationally.

Stevenage is a proud home to companies from across the STEM industries, and this case study demonstrates why the town is so important for Life Sciences.

Turn to page 78 to find out more, and to see how we are uniquely placed to continue to encourage growth and secure investment which will bring huge benefits such as jobs and opportunities for local people, strengthening our local economy and communities.

231123_Harrington-Review-Report-FINAL-2__HH_Global_.pdf (publishing.service.gov.uk)

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.

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.”

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!”.

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.

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.

Stevenage Borough Council backs Town’s Fund projects

Stevenage Borough Council’s Executive approved recommendations through business cases for a new Garden Square , Stevenage Innovation & Technology Centre (SITEC) and Cycling & Pedestrian Connectivity and Heritage Trail on Friday 4 March 2022.  These three projects seek to bring together a range of arts, culture, leisure, food, community events, transport and learning facilities to the town centre and are about delivering high quality, rejuvenated places for local residents to enjoy.  The proposals also address the skills and training gap, creating opportunities for our young people and welcoming different sectors and audiences to the town centre as a part of Stevenage’s Town Investment Plan.

The Garden Square development (part of the SG1 scheme by Mace) brings forward a new high quality public square for leisure, food & drink, and community performances adjacent to Stevenage Town Square and seeks to transform the current bus station into a vibrant multi-purpose space.

Drawing on the principles of the Grimsey Review and the Stevenage Central Framework, these plans from our £37.5 million Town’s Fund (the second highest awarded in the country), seek to use leisure, culture, hospitality and an exciting events programme to create a vibrant town centre for all to enjoy.  Collectively these schemes will also help to create a diverse town centre economy, whilst utilising retail, leisure, culture and experience to attract footfall to ensure that new and existing businesses can thrive, and provide the amenities that residents, businesses and visitors need to make Stevenage a vibrant 21st century town.

The Stevenage Innovation and Technology Centre (SITEC) – a new purpose-built learning facility located in the heart of Stevenage town centre will help address the skills deficits that underpin the gap in employment and earnings, and is important in delivering an interface between Stevenage’s residents and the high-tech, high-value national and international businesses located in the town.

The SITEC will provide Level 3, 4 and 5 courses and act as a bridge between further and higher education, providing skilled local labour to local industries and showcase the town’s industries to inspire our young people.  Courses could offer specialisms in Engineering, Life sciences, Biotechnology, Digital and Computing Innovation and Advanced Construction Skills – all critical to the Stevenage area and the wider Hertfordshire and UK economy.

Cllr Sharon Taylor, Leader of Stevenage Borough Council, said: “I am delighted to see the Garden Square proposals coming forward in the heart of the town centre and utilisation of empty town centre retail spaces to help create a better experience for our residents and visitors alike.”

“These plans will additionally help our businesses, with greater footfall and spending power within the town centre to support our local economy.”

“The SITEC is an important development, providing education, skills and training for better life chances for our young people, whilst capitalising on our unique heritage of technology, life sciences and pharma industries that have made Stevenage their home. Unlocking these opportunities by working with businesses and providing local young people with skills and employment is also a priority for us.”

“Stevenage is going through exciting transformation, and our residents sit at the heart of these ambitious plans. We are leading a period of change that will celebrate our legacy as the first post-war town, whilst creating a modern, diversified town centre offering something for everyone.  We look forward to delivering these ambitious plans together with the Stevenage Development Board and our private sector partners.”

The third proposal to be considered by the Stevenage Borough Council Executive is The Cycling & Pedestrian Connectivity and Heritage Trail, which includes the delivery of enhanced pedestrian and cycling infrastructure that will link between new developments in the town centre and other growth schemes our impressive 45km cycling network – increasing accessibility and levels of health and wellbeing through increased cycling and walking. The proposal also includes a heritage and arts trail that will connect with the public realm and provide opportunities to showcase the wide range of arts and culture assets that the town has to offer.

Adrian Hawkins OBE, the independent Chair of the Stevenage Development Board, said:  “The final three cases which are being recommended to the council’s executive represent the culmination of a very successful submission to government in 2021. This led to the securing of a £37.5m contribution as part of the Town’s Fund and I am proud to say that this is the second highest received anywhere in the country.

“As the first new town ever to be created in the UK, Stevenage is a post war vision of modern life and the need for this funding has arisen because some of this infrastructure requires enhancement and other aspects replacement, with services more representative of current times.

“The first of the final three business cases deals with cycling and heritage connectivity, everyone knows that our 45km of cycleway within the town was simply a visionary investment and that it connects our heritage for all to enjoy – it clearly is the future of our town.

“The second case supports the replacement of our vast 1950’s bus station with a remarkable collaboration, leading to the delivery of our new Garden Square and diversification of retail space – recognising absolutely that “the heart of a town lies in its people”.

“But it is my opinion that of all these excellent developments, it is SITEC which offers the biggest opportunity. There can be little doubt that agreement to this case means that we have the means to deliver social mobility by creating a radical change in people’s lives, creating local employment opportunities, supporting our local businesses, and providing higher incomes to those that wish to aspire to a better way of life.

“The town has seen the continued development of advanced manufacturing, life sciences, technology and pharmaceuticals with various employers already basing themselves within the Town. More will of course follow, and this means that in the next five to seven years we will see some 7,000 jobs created requiring level 3 qualifications and above. As a result, the need is clear for the Stevenage Innovation and Technology Centre (SITEC) and it will be launched to provide a clear focus and delivery of skills at this level and above.

“It is real world differences to people’s lives such as these, which I am most proud to be delivering as part of this regeneration of our town.”

These projects form part of the transformation of the Town Centre through the Town’s Fund and will be delivered by the Stevenage Development Board and Stevenage Borough Council, as part of the Stevenage Even Better £1bn regeneration programme.   Planning permission has been granted for a number of developments in the town to deliver new homes, jobs and transformation of our public spaces to create a vibrant destination.