Stevenage-based businesses, including those based at the Wenta-run Business and Technology Centre, have welcomed new town centre regeneration plans announced last month, which will see £350m of private investment brought into the town. Several of Stevenage’s biggest business names have publicly expressed their support, recognising the confidence that this promotes in the town’s future, and calling for investment in infrastructure to support further development.
In a joint statement, global businesses Airbus, GSK and MBDA, said, “As global businesses based in Stevenage, we welcome the news of this substantial investment in the future of the town centre. It demonstrates significant confidence in Stevenage and opens up opportunities for further investment, which can only benefit existing business in the town and the wider economy.
“We are pleased to see that the regeneration scheme addresses many of the priorities that, as businesses, we would want to see a thriving regional centre provide: enhanced retail and leisure, new homes, and employment opportunities. These elements echo the original principles that the success of Stevenage New Town was built on and to provide a strong foundation for the future.
“Longer term development and construction in the town centre will need enhanced infrastructure to support it. This means investment in the railway station and the A1M are crucial if the town is to fulfil its growth potential. We welcome longer-term investment into the town.”
The news was also well-received by the wider Stevenage business community:
As a member of the Stevenage First board Neville Reyner CBE DL HonDLitt, Chairman of Hertfordshire Chamber of Commerce, said, “The Chamber has actively supported the regeneration of Stevenage town centre, and is confident that major change will now occur with the appointment of Mace. It is hoped this is one of many exciting projects being brought forward over the coming years. With its superb location and proximity to London, Cambridge and Oxford, the town is ideally located to benefit from the economic opportunities that increased confidence and competitiveness will bring. This new development will further boost the town's position as a leading, affordable at all levels, attractive place to work and live with working out leisure and socialising facilities. It is also key that this is complemented by some good infrastructure such as broadband and mobile connectivity, roads, trains and airports.”
Adrian Hawkins, Co-founder and Chairman biz4Biz and Deputy Chair of Hertfordshire LEP, said, “The long awaited announcement of a developer to deliver this important first phase of regeneration in Stevenage town centre shows what can be done in partnership between committed public and private sector partners with shared aims and values. Stevenage and Hertfordshire more widely is a great place to invest, and in return both residents and businesses we benefit from the delivery of new housing and retail alongside improved public services”
Ed Jordan, Chief Executive of Wenta, which runs the Business and Technology Centre, said,
“The SG1 scheme is an exciting project that, fully realised, will provide a whole host of economic activity and opportunity for the Stevenage community. Small businesses tell us that they value fast, efficient and cost-effective infrastructure and it’s hoped that a resolution can be found to successfully invest in the Stevenage station proposals as these will benefit businesses, residents and the wider community. Wenta are looking forward to the future in Stevenage.”