Building a science laboratory on a town centre car park site will boost the local economy and create more than 300 jobs, the developer has promised.

A planning application for a part four-storey, part five-storey bio-pharmaceutical lab on Marshgate car park in St George's Way, Stevenage, has been submitted to Stevenage Borough Council.

Plans for the 6,290 sq m site also include a workspace facility and public car park with 48 car spaces, compared to the existing 156.

Developer Reef Group - also responsible for the Queensway North project - says this development represents a £65million investment in the local economy, bringing in excess of 300 jobs to Stevenage town centre to support the day and night time economy.

Jobs are set to include office workers, lab staff, technicians, programmers and clinical specialists.

The building will be the European headquarters of bio-pharmaceutical firm Autolus, which researches immune therapies to fight cancer.

The council has so far received comments in favour and against the plans in equal measure.

Those supporting the application point to investment, jobs and a boost to the local economy.

Stevenage's town centre manager, Tina Bennett, said: "It will be a significant boost for businesses and shops, with the employees shopping, eating and socialising within the town and surrounding facilities.

"It can only be seen as a positive step for the survival of many town centre businesses."

Sally Ann Forsyth, chief executive of the Stevenage Bioscience Catalyst - a life sciences hub on Gunnels Wood Road, where Autolus has had a base since 2018, said: "This will be a significant win for the town, especially in a post-Brexit economy."

With the site close to residential properties - including the recently-built Park Place apartments - objections include concerns about noise and loss of light and privacy.

A noise assessment for the plant, which will operate 24/7, recommends measures such as an acoustic barrier to control the impact on residents.

HGV deliveries will be restricted to daytime, but 'white van' deliveries will occur at night.

Kevin Smith, a Park Place property owner, said: "I have major concerns on noise" and "the proposed building dwarfs the surrounding buildings and does not fit in".

He said light will be blocked from flats, where "balconies and windows will be overlooked, leading to complete loss of privacy".

Dawn Nicholls, who lives in Park Place, added: "This development will disrupt the views, as well as cause a lot more traffic in the area.

"The building will be best built somewhere out of the town centre."

Reef says it will help "build a strong 24-hour economy and assist with the regeneration of Stevenage town centre".