At just 25 minutes from London by train, Stevenage is the perfect commuter town
Stevenage is thriving right now. Set in the stunning Hertfordshire countryside the town has all the fundamentals buy-to-let investors are looking for.
GlaxoSmithKline and MDBA are big employers in the area, so there’s plenty of demand for quality rentals from professional tenants who work in the well-paid research and development sector.
Stevenage is the perfect commuter town, due to its excellent connectivity. If you think I’m exaggerating, look it up, Stevenage to London King’s Cross takes only 25 minutes, with 7 trains an hour at peak times.
Stevenage has a current population of around 84,500, which has risen at a rate of about 5.6% over the last ten years. With many residents choosing to relocate here from the capital the local residential property market is going from strength to strength.
Stevenage property prices are just above the UK average, but well below the Hertfordshire average, but they won’t stay that way for long. Prices have risen at a rate of around 7.9% in the last twelve months alone. In total, values have risen more than 18% over the last five years, which is much higher than the rest of the county. So if want a commuter belt property to add to your portfolio, Stevenage is well worth a look.
Economy & Employment
The pharmaceuticals and aerospace industries are the largest employers in Stevenage
GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) are the largest employers in Stevenage. The company has a primary listing on the London Stock Exchange and is a FTSE 100 company. In May 2014 it had a market capitalisation of £79bn. GSK employs more than 13,000 staff in their research and development sites; their largest site is situated in Stevenage.
The second largest employer is MBDA Missile systems, who employ around 11,000 staff worldwide and in 2011 had a turnover of over £3bn.
Stevenage BioScience Catalyst is a new science park aimed at attracting small and start-up life sciences enterprises. This opened in 2011 on a neighbouring site.
The Business & Technology Centre is a well-established enterprise and innovation centre providing flexible, quality facilities and business support to regional businesses.
The centre continues to make a positive impact on the geographical area in which it is based by assisting the startup and growth of businesses, especially those from the knowledge-based sector; and to support existing innovative businesses to flourish. It also promotes innovation in local schools and colleges.
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Up to £540m to be invested in Stevenage research facility
GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) has partnered up with Verily, the life science arm of Google’s parent company, Alphabet, to create a new company, Galvani Bioelectronics. The company will be based on GSK’s premises in Stevenage, with a second research facility in San Francisco. Up to £540m will be invested in the company over the next seven years.
Galvani will be focused on creating miniature devices that can be implanted into the body to modify electric impulses passing along the nerves, avoiding the need for pills or injections.
GSK has previously announced that it will invest £275m into its research labs around Britain.
The main area of recent development is in Great Ashby to the north-east of the town. A considerable amount of in-borough development has also been undertaken at Chrysalis Park, the site of the former Dixon’s Warehouse, adjacent to the Pin Green Industrial Estate.
Currently, there are several housing developments in and around Stevenage. For example, Hampson Place, which is a small and unique development of 3 and 4 bedroom homes to the north of the town, whilst the Aston Vale development promises a selection of over 80 contemporary and modern new houses and apartments on the outskirts of Stevenage.
These are being built adjoining the quiet and picturesque Hertfordshire countryside, making this a peaceful place to call home and offering buyers the best of both worlds – easy access to the town’s amenities, yet surrounded by scenic landscapes.
The Business & Technology Centre in Stevenage expanded in late 2015. It’s original 15,000 sq ft facility was extended by some 27,000 sq ft and was part of Stevenage Borough Council’s vision to create quality business space and support in the heart of Stevenage’s business community.
The £7 million investment is the primary innovation and technology centre in Hertfordshire. It promotes innovation and supports small and medium-sized businesses.
Air: Stevenage is served by both Luton and Stansted Airports, which are in easy driving distance at around fifteen and twenty-eight miles away. Both airports can offer a wide variety of flights to Europe, Africa and Asia.
Rail: The town is served by the East Coast Main Line and has regular commuter services to London and Cambridge, as well as connections to the north and Scotland.
Road: Stevenage is served by the A1(M) Motorway as well as the A602 from nearby Hitchin and the A119 which meets the A10 at Ware.
Bus: Services locally are provided by Arriva the Shires and Centrebus, among others. They offer a comprehensive range of services to a wide range of destinations.
Stevenage has access to around 23 primary schools, 7 secondary schools and 1 further education college in its catchment area.
Notable schools include:
- The Thomas Alleyne Academy, originally established in 1558 and is located in the High Street in the Old Town. This co-educational school caters for pupils aged between 11 and 18 years.
- The John Henry Newman Catholic School, on Hitchin Road was established in 1987 and is also co-educational and caters for 11 to 18-year-olds.
The school has been classed as a good school by Ofsted inspectors and classed as an outstanding Catholic school by Diocesan inspectors. Former pupils include Formula 1 racing driver Lewis Hamilton and UK under 14s Chess champion Amy Rosa.
Another notable local establishment is The Nobel School, founded in 1961, a co-educational school catering for 11-18-year-olds.
Further Education: Over 10,000 full-time students and some 25,000 part-time students attend the North Hertfordshire College. It has six sites spread over Stevenage as well as nearby Letchworth and Hitchin.
Shops & Leisure
Shopping & Dining: Shoppers will love the Westgate Shopping Centre, with over 30 stores, and The Forum is the place for BHS and M&S, Game, Boots, JJB, as well as Tesco. Other supermarkets in and across town include Waitrose, Asda, Somerfield and Sainsburys on Hitchin Road.
Traditional markets still thrive with twice-weekly covered and indoor markets taking place in the town centre, while The Plaza in the town square has a great choice of eateries and watering holes.
Sport & Culture: Stevenage town offers an LA Fitness centre with pool, spa and café bar, while the Leisure Park features a David Lloyd, which provides a raft of weekly keep-fit classes events. When it comes to outdoor activities whether you are a regular player or just fancy the occasional round, there are plenty of good golf clubs locally.
There are many historical sites locally, one well worth a visit is Knebworth House which as well as being an iconic name in rock concert circles, is a stunning setting for all-year-round entertainment that includes Classic Motor Shows and the Knebworth Country Show.
Green Spaces: In the heart of Stevenage lies the picturesque Fairlands Valley Park. This beautiful setting boasts stunning scenery with 120 acres of parkland and 20 acres of open water, it offers the perfect place to enjoy long woodland walks. Adventure-seekers will love the range of activities on offer with two children’s play areas, a horse and pony route, a sailing centre, café and an orienteering trail and trim track.