Four buildings to be built in town centre’s conservation area

Stanton Williams Stevenage 1

The scheme will be built in Stevenage town centre’s conservation area

Stanton Williams has been given the green light for plans to create a 400,000sq ft life sciences quarter in the centre of Stevenage.

The scheme for Reef Group and UBS Asset Management will create a new mixed-use neighbourhood including retail, cafes, restaurants and laboratory space.

Specialist biopharmaceutical manufacturing facilities will be housed in four new buildings alongside workspace which has been designed to encourage interaction between tenants.

Stevenage was the first of Britain’s New Towns, which were built just outside of London in the aftermath of the Second World War to relocate poor people in the capital whose homes had been bombed.

The heart of Stevenage is now a conservation area with a number of listed buildings and structures.

Stanton Williams’ scheme has sought to reflect the character of the town’s original post-war buildings with sheltered walkways, “calmly ordered” facades and artwork placed around the public realm.

Stanton Williams Stevenage 2

Laboratory space will be housed across the scheme’s four buildings

The practice’s principal director Gavin Henderson said the plans would create the “basis for that productive exchange of ideas and cross-pollination of expertise that is typical of thriving innovation districts”.

He said: “This innovative and ambitious scheme takes the building typology of the highly specialised laboratory, normally associated with low-rise, extensive buildings set within car-dependent, greenfield sites, and reimagines it as a multi-floor facility occupying a brownfield inner-city site.”

The new neighbourhood is part of a wider campus called the Elevate Quarter which includes 15 buildings designed by Hawkins Brown.

Construction of the £900m scheme is expected to start later this year with completion of its first phase targeted for the end of 2025.