71 new flats can be added to Stevenage town centre after plans were approved by Stevenage Borough Council's planning committee yesterday (Tuesday, April 2).

Two additional storeys will be added to 58-90 Queensway and Forum Chambers, with 42 flats on the new levels and 29 flats on the existing first and second floors.

The flats would be located above the shops at 58-90 Queensway and Forum Chambers, which include Clintons, EE and Maysons. The site covers the entire stretch of units between the two main entrances to the Westgate shopping centre.

Units on the ground floor will continue to be used for retail, though the empty unit at 80 Queensway - previously home to Brighthouse - will be halved in size to allow for entry to the flats on upper floors. It has lain empty since September 2020.

There will be 55 one-bedroom flats in the development, along with 14 two-bedroom flats and two three-bedroom flats.

No additional car parking will be provided. Previously, 138 cycle spaces were to be provided, but this has been reduced to 49 after potential noise issues were raised in relation to two-tier storage racks.

At the meeting, Cllr Claire Parris asked whether any disabled parking would be included in the plans.


In response, the planning officer said that the council had "looked at it", but there was "limited opportunity" to provide it in an area that is already "saturated with disabled parking". There was no requirement for the development to include disabled parking spaces.

According to the transport note submitted as part of the application, "the principle of car free development was accepted by Stevenage Borough Council as part of the pre-application stage".

None of the housing in the scheme will be 'affordable' according to the government definition of the term, though a £76,000 contribution towards affordable homes will be made by the developer.

Following a recommendation from Hertfordshire Highways, residents will be given a £50 public transport voucher per flat.

A Section 106 agreement will also be in place, with the developers paying £126,000 towards the increased primary education costs arising from the flats.

The council's planning officer had recommended that permission be granted subject to conditions and the Section 106 agreement. Prior approval for a change of use had already been granted for part of the development.

The 2011-2031 Local Plan for Stevenage, adopted by the council in 2019, set a target for at least 7,600 homes to be built during that period. More than 3,000 properties are being constructed as part of the regeneration of Stevenage town centre.