11:30AM, Friday 24 January 2014
New guidelines on the appearance of shop fronts in Maidenhead have moved a step closer to being implemented.
The Maidenhead Business & Shop Front Design Guide went before a housing and planning overview and scrutiny panel last night and was met with widespread approval among Royal Borough councillors.
It includes a set of principles, ranging from the layout of windows to the use of advertisements, which will guide shop keepers if they are applying to change a shop front or open a new store.
As part of the scheme, a £20,000 fund will be introduced to offer modest subsidies to shops looking to enhance their fronts by bringing them in line with the guidelines.
An annual award could also be introduced for shops which are particularly well presented.
Councillors agreed the scheme would help make Maidenhead a more attractive place to shop, but said compromises may have to made with major retailers looking to keep their distinctive brand.
McDonalds and Cafe Nero, both in High Street, were given as example of chains which retained their identity but had sympathetic designs.
Cllr MJ Saunders, cabinet member for planning and property, rejected calls for tougher guidelines on matters such as colour schemes and said council 'hurdles' would not be helpful if big chains are looking at moving to the town.
said: "It's not appropriate for us to have policy statements on public show which a retailler balks at and the impression they come away with is that these guys want total control over you.
"That's not the brand that Maidenhead needs to project."
If approved by cabinet next week, the proposals could be implemented by the spring.
Other matters discussed at the meeting include:
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