Time is ticking for the developer behind the £152million Kings Triangle scheme to improve its 'flawed' plans after councillors deferred making a decision on them.
ING Red UK (Maidenhead) has just two months to fix the issues with the project before Maidenhead development control panel makes the final call in the spring.
A decision on an outline application was due to be made at a meeting on Wednesday but after three-and-a-half hours of discussion the panel opted to give ING one more chance to get things right.
David Alker, managing director of ING Real Estate Development UK Ltd, was disappointed by the outcome.
"We will now discuss matters with officers and councillors with a view to bringing the proposals to the committee and a favourable determination early in the New Year," he said.
"However, this will mean a further delay to delivering this vital regeneration that Maidenhead badly needs."
Eight people spoke out against the scheme at the Maidenhead development control panel meeting, including Peter Sands, chairman of Maidenhead and District Chamber of Commerce's planning committee.
Following a lengthy debate members decided to push back the decision.
While a new date has not yet been confirmed it is expected to be made in February.
After the meeting Cllr Derek Wilson, panel chairman, said: "While some panel members felt we should approve the application at this stage, subject to robust conditions and legal agreements, there was a general feeling that more work needed to be done to get it right for Maidenhead.
"I believe that ING RED can react in a positive manner and we would welcome their views on addressing these concerns."
If approved, the Kings Triangle scheme would consist of retail units, apartments, offices, a multi-storey car park and two open spaces.
These would be built in the area between Broadway, Queen Street and King Street - one of six areas of the town centre identified for regeneration under the Area Action Plan.
According to ING's retail study the development would increase annual retail spending in Maidenhead by approximately £60.1million, resulting in the town achieving a turnover of £173.4million by 2016.
It is estimated that while 502 jobs would be lost as a result of the redevelopment, 292 construction jobs would be created, and 1,288 would be available once the scheme is operational.
The council report says 600 other jobs could result from the 'multiplier effect' - meaning they are likely to be created through new businesses being attracted to the town by the development, or existing ones expanding.
Most of Broadway would become pedestrianised, with the exception of access for servicing vehicles.
Queen Street would become a two-way road.
A number of the objectors to the scheme, including Maidenhead and District Chamber of Commerce, are supportive of the principle of the proposals and the need for rejuvenation.
Kings Triangle has the backing of Maidenhead MP Theresa May.
In a report prepared by council officers ahead of the meeting, a number of 'significant issues' with the application were identified, including:
- The 'inward-looking' nature of the scheme and its failure to improve links with other town centre amenities
- The lack of high-quality and welcoming open spaces due to the development 'overshadowing' them
- The 'considerable' shortfall in car parking (more than 100 less spaces)
- The proposed relocation of the Shopmobility service from the multi-storey car park to Grove Road
- Highways safety and traffic concerns relating to proposed changes to the road network and junctions
- The impact of traffic congestion on the deliveries and day-to-day operations of existing businesses
- The need to re-route bus services, leading to increased journey times
- The fact it is 'not financially viable'. However the viability assessment cannot be viewed by the public because it contains 'commercially sensitive' information.
- Servicing issues, including the size and location of a servicing bay in Queen Street
- The lack of space for taxis, given that the Queen Street rank will close and a proposed rank for York Road looks likely to only have space for three or four vehicles. Some space will be provided in Broadway.
English Heritage, Maidenhead Civic Society, Maidenhead and District Chamber of Commerce, Maidenhead Regeneration Group, Maidenhead Town Partnership, Maidenhead Waterways Regeneration Group, the Shanly Group, various RBWM officers and Thames Valley Police's crime prevention design officer are among those who have raised concerns about the scheme.
See today's Advertiser for a full report on the decision.
Comment: What do you think of Kings Triangle? Leave your comments below or join the debate following the decision
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Police officers can be seen at Ten Pin Bowling in Maidenhead tonight following an incident earlier today.