The future of Maidenhead could rest with new houses rather than new shops.
That seemed to be the general view when members of the Royal Borough's planning and housing scrutiny panel discussed the depressing collapse of the ING Kings Triangle plan that was supposed to rejuvenate the town.
The £152million plan to redevelop the area between King Street, Queen Street and Broadway failed to win the approval of borough planners two months ago.
At the meeting held last night Cllr Simon Meadowcroft (Con, Clewer South) said: "Are we sure the planned shopping square footage was viable? Could not some of this area be given over to housing."
His comment was echoed by the borough's head of planning Simon Hurrell, who said that online shopping had changed the nature of high streets.
He said: "What will cause the regeneration of this town is residential development.” He highlighted the northern end of York Road as particularly suitable for new homes.
Borough planning infrastructure and transport manager Gail Kenyon said: "High Streets are going to become more like social venues in the future. The footfall in Maidenhead doubled from 20,000 to 40,000 when we had art on the street."
But Cllr Derek Wilson (Con, Oldfield) said he still believed in quality retail businesses which would bring in others in their wake.
Cllr David Hilton (Con, Ascot and Cheapside) expressed the hope that ING would come back to the council with amended plans for Maidenhead that planning members could pass.
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