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Council wants to buy Central House 'as quickly as possible' as part of regeneration

The Royal Borough is looking to buy the freehold of a key town centre office building ‘as quickly as possible’.

The news was accidentally revealed when the council posted the audio recording of Part 2 of Tuesday’s full council meeting on its website.

In the recording, Cllr David Evans, cabinet member for regeneration, speaks to the councillors about buying the freehold to Central House, which adjoins the Nicholsons Shopping Centre.

Councillors then fully approved the report.

The seven-storey building is 37,980 square meters and can only be accessed through the Nicholsons Centre and its car park.

Speaking after the meeting, Cllr Simon Dudley, leader of the council, said: “It’s an important site.

“It can affect what we do surrounding the Nicholsons car park and the Nicholsons Centre.

“The council is strategically buying key sites. We want to acquire them to bring about regeneration, and this is an example of that.

“We want to do the deal as quickly as possible, I want this wrapped up.

“It’s a very important site for us, it’s very exciting news.

“There’s a huge amount of work going on to regenerate the town centre. This is just one part of the jigsaw.”

When asked about the future development of Central House, he said the council had not decided yet, but it could be a ‘combination of car parking and residential space’.

The money to buy the freehold will be taken from the 2017/2018 capital programme.

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