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Multi-million pound Town’s Fund award for Stevenage

Stevenage Development Board has been awarded a multi-million pound cash injection by government as part of a radical programme for innovative change.

The funding had been sought as part of the government’s Towns Fund Initiative in which 100 UK towns were selected to apply for support to bring about major transformation.

After submitting a comprehensive bid and passing through a detailed review by the Government, Adrian Hawkins OBE, announced that Stevenage has successfully been awarded £37.5million.

Mr. Hawkins, who was recently named in the New Year honours, commented: “Our vision was ambitious, our plan clearly deliverable, and the message was simple: investing this money in the future of Stevenage is an investment in the future of our country, in the future of our children, and will unleash over £600m of private investment to supercharge UK businesses, as we once again unify in a time of great national need and set a new blueprint for innovation at the heart of a 21st Century New Town.

“I am delighted to announce this, not least because Stevenage is the town where I grew up in a council house, the town which gave me the chance to build my own business and a place which I hold so dear.

“This will now see not just an investment in buildings and infrastructure, but an investment in the people, to improve their lives and to boost their skills to enable them to engage with local employers and local employment.

“It is urgent that we now consider how we accommodate, expand and deliver skills to our important science-based industries in the Town and ensure that they have the environment to develop, expand and employ locally. The businesses and sectors located in Stevenage are competing on a global level, and their success is intrinsically linked to our national economy - our residents simply cannot and will not be left behind.”

Projects which have been submitted relate to a number of key areas including connectivity, arts and culture, regeneration and land use and skills and enterprise.

The successful bid aimed to boost the growth of businesses in Stevenage which have a national and international base. Heritage of the first New Town was also a key focus and it will now offer the chance to reflect on and reinterpret this for future generations.

Cllr Sharon Taylor OBE, Leader of Stevenage Borough Council said: "We have an unprecedented opportunity, a once in a generation moment to revitalise the town and provide outstanding opportunities for local people and businesses. Proposals that will create jobs, a thriving heart of the town, support the growth of world class businesses and boost the national economy. A unique chance to accelerate the regeneration of the town centre, providing vibrancy and places for people to enjoy. The plan will build resilience for Stevenage in the face of the threats presented by Covid-19 and recession, by providing creative employment and upskilling for local people. We have a united, broad and strong partnership, pride in our heritage, determination to make regeneration happen, and the passion to deliver a pioneering future."

Mark Bretton, Chair of Hertfordshire LEP and the LEP Network commented: “As the UK’s first ever New Town, Stevenage holds the legacy of Hertfordshire’s pioneering spirit. There has never before been such a strong collective determination to build on this proud heritage and rejuvenate the town for the 21st century. Hertfordshire LEP’s wholehearted support for this ambitious transformation is evidenced through our significant Local Growth Fund investment, which will help bring forth modern infrastructure and amenities; quality homes, retail and business space; and a host of vital interventions that will instil confidence in young people, raise the aspirations of local residents and strengthen the skills pipeline serving the town’s world-class employers.”

David Williams, Leader Hertfordshire County, Council and Chair of Hertfordshire Growth Board said: “This Town Deal Investment Plan will accelerate Stevenage’s game changing regeneration strategy. Stevenage’s clear sighted ambition to evolve from pioneer post war new town to a 21st century national hub for science, technology and advanced manufacturing excellence will be delivered faster and with greater certainty. Hertfordshire County Council shares the ambition for Stevenage to exceed its potential and has supported this endeavour as an active partner from the start.

Further details of the Town Investment Plan and the Members of the Stevenage Development Board, can be found on the Stevenage Even Better website.