The Guinness Partnership (‘Guinness’), one of England’s largest Housing Associations has announced that following local consultation it has submitted a planning application for the regeneration of the Matalan site, Danesgate, a key site within Stevenage Town Centre.

The site has long been identified by Stevenage Borough Council as suitable for redevelopment and currently includes a retail store and associated car parking as well as the adjacent car parking to the rear of the store and fronting Lytton Way. The overall site was granted outline planning permission a number of years ago for 526 new homes, 1,700 sq. metres of ground floor commercial space and 175 car parking spaces.

In line with the outline planning permission, the application seeks to provide 526 one and two-bedroomed apartments along with 779 sq. m of flexible commercial space, which will be located at ground floor level and activate street frontages.

The design by Stirling Prize winning architects Maccreanor Lavington has been independently reviewed by the Design Council. It includes a twenty-storey tower element on the north west corner of the site at Lytton Way and lower perimeter buildings between four to nine-storeys along the rest of the site’s boundaries. The tower will be a new distinctive landmark in Stevenage and the perimeter buildings frame two new landscaped courtyard gardens.

Jon Milburn, Group Development Director at Guinness said, “Since we acquired this site last year from its previous owners, we have been working hard to bring forward excellent design and new attractive green open space. The site presents a very important opportunity to transform an under-utilised brownfield site which benefits from excellent links to the town centre, leisure facilities and public transport.”

“We are grateful for the feedback we received from local people and organisations as we shaped these plans. One of the key things we heard consistently was the need to provide affordable homes for local people. We have inherited an existing planning permission which only allowed for around 5% affordable housing, but in line with our 130-year history of meeting local community needs, we plan to increase this and provide up to half the homes as affordable.”

Jon Milburn, Group Development Director at Guinness added, “In working up the plans, we have been careful to ensure that we are sensitive to our nearest neighbours. We will continue to talk to our neighbours on issues like fencing and landscaping as well as the provision of public realm around the site.”

Jon Milburn, concluded, “We also heard during consultation that providing an environmentally sustainable development was a priority for local people and we have addressed that through initiatives that promote ecology, biodiversity and energy efficiency. We have significantly reduced the car parking provision by 123 spaces in comparison with the outline permission. We also had a very positive dialogue with the Stevenage Cycle UK group to discuss improved cycle routes and on-site cycle storage. We very much share the Council’s ambition to tackle the climate emergency and promote healthy lifestyles.”