A New Shopping Experience in the Heart of Stevenage Town

13 Dec 2018

Stevenage Borough Council (SBC) has partnered with one of the UK’s leading mixed-use developers, Reef Group, to spearhead the £50m Queensway North regeneration scheme comprising the former Marks & Spencer and adjoining retail parade.
Development of the Queensway North area, which is being funded by Aviva Investors, will form a significant early and important part of Stevenage’s £1bn, 20-year regeneration programme. The ambitious scheme will be the first of Stevenage Borough Council’s mixed-use regeneration projects.
The major commercial and residential regeneration includes plans to extensively refurbish and improve the existing main shopping area in and around the block on the east side of Queensway North, and build new housing. The development consists of approximately 45,000 square foot of new retail and restaurant space, a gym, new offices, an innovation and technology centre, and 116 apartments.
Planning permission was obtained in August of this year and construction will start on-site early next year. The first phase comprising the commercial aspect of the scheme will be complete at the end of 2019, with the second phase consisting of more than 100 new homes is set to be completed 12 months later at the end of 2020.
SBC has outlined the following motivations for undertaking the Queensway North scheme:

  1. The Queensway North regeneration scheme is transformational, and will update tired and dated buildings and shopping areas for the first time in many years. This will be done with a new range of retail and leisure uses, bringing retail spend and shoppers back into the town, and most importantly reviving the town’s night time economy.
  2. SBC is meeting the public’s changing retail expectations by reinventing traditional high street shopping and modernising our town centre. This will give shoppers somewhere not just to shop, but to also enjoy dining out, keeping fit and socialising with friends, colleagues and family.
  3. These significant improvements will help make Stevenage a more attractive destination.
    The Queensway North scheme forms a major part of our plans and ambitions to revitalise the town centre, by introducing new bars and restaurants, better public spaces, new homes, and high quality design, whilst celebrating the town’s heritage and improving our culture.
  4. To provide much-needed new housing for the borough, which will bring activity into the town centre to support businesses alongside SBC’s other regeneration plans.

Leader of Stevenage Borough Council, Sharon Taylor, gave the following comment regarding the upcoming partnership with Reef Group:

“Our vision is to reinvigorate the centre of Stevenage, and with Reef Group now on board we’re in a great position to deliver on this vision. Together we’re bringing a new and different type of shopping experience, an innovation and technology centre, and more homes into the heart of our town, which will create a new and vibrant place for more people to shop, work and play”.
Chief Executive of Reef Group, Piers Slater, said:

“Working closely with Stevenage Borough Council, Reef Group are excited to have been able to embark on our shared vision to regenerate this important area of Stevenage. We’re delighted to be bringing new investment, occupiers and uses to create a new district where people want to work, shop, and live.”
Mark Wells, Director, Aviva Investors, said:

“We are delighted to have entered into this long term partnership with Stevenage Borough Council and Reef Group. Reef and the council have impressive plans for the scheme which will give the town centre a new lease of life, supporting both housing need and economic development.”

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