The Guinness Partnership, one of England’s largest Housing Associations has announced today that it will bring forward detailed plans to deliver another key element in the revitalisation of Stevenage Town Centre.

The plans focus on the Matalan site, Danestrete and includes the retail store and associated car parking as well as the adjacent car parking to the rear of the store and fronting Lytton Way.

The Guinness Partnership acquired the Matalan store from its previous owners last year as well as the adjacent car parking from Stevenage Borough Council. The overall site was granted outline planning permission a number of years ago for 526 new homes, 1,700 sq. metres of ground floor retail space and 175 car parking spaces.

“This is an exciting time for the town. We’re very pleased to be part of the Council’s ambitious plans to transform Stevenage town centre and the Matalan site is a key element in delivering the overall vision as it is located at an important gateway into the town centre.”
Linda Robinson, The Guinness Partnership’s Development Director

Linda Robinson, The Guinness Partnership’s Development Director said, “This is an exciting time for the town. We’re very pleased to be part of the Council’s ambitious plans to transform Stevenage town centre and the Matalan site is a key element in delivering the overall vision as it is located at an important gateway into the town centre. Our proposals are designed to closely align with the SG1 masterplan being brought forward by Mace in partnership with the Council and also complement other recent new developments that have taken place or are under construction.”

“We have been working with our design team since we acquired the site and are now able to share our draft proposals for the first time prior to the submission of a Reserved Matters Application. This application will seek approval for detailed design of the new buildings based on the outline planning permission previously granted for 526 new homes.”

Linda Robinson, The Guinness Partnership’s Development Director added, “Although the current COVID-19 epidemic limits our availability to meet with residents, businesses and other stakeholders face to face, we have launched a website www.matalansitestevenage.info where there is more information and a simple way to give feedback. We will also make special arrangements to discuss our plans with our immediate neighbours.”

Although Guinness have used the outline permission as the framework for the new proposals, one very important difference is that instead of the 5 per cent provision for affordable homes, Guinness intends to increase this, meaning that more high quality affordable homes will be located in the heart of the town centre.

Guinness will also ensure that the proposal is in line with the latest thinking on environmental sustainability, with the provision of 48 car parking spaces and 775 cycle spaces.

Linda Robinson, The Guinness Partnership’s Development Director said, “The site is ideally placed for access to public transport, given the relocation of the bus station to its boundary and the very short distance to the recently extended railway station. In this time of climate emergency, we will also include environmentally friendly measures such as energy efficiency, rainwater harvesting, green spaces and roofs to promote biodiversity.”

“Our proposals will bring high quality new homes in an attractive setting with an emphasis on affordability for local people.”
Linda Robinson, The Guinness Partnership’s Development Director

Linda Robinson, The Guinness Partnership’s Development Director concluded, “Our proposals will bring high quality new homes in an attractive setting with an emphasis on affordability for local people. We see the proposals as very much part of a more vibrant town centre and the new residents and active ground floor uses will bring new spending power and activity to the heart of the town.”