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Council leader suggests joint venture possibility for Nicholsons Centre

The leader of the Royal Borough has said the council is a ‘serious stakeholder in the future of the Nicholsons Shopping Centre’.

Cllr Simon Dudley (Con, Riverside) suggested the possibility of a joint venture scheme to take over the troubled centre at a Maidenhead Town Forum meeting at the town hall on Tuesday evening. The meeting was to discuss Maidenhead’s regeneration and public parking provision.

During the meeting Cllr Derek Wilson (Con, Oldfield) asked if the uncertainty surrounding the Nicholsons Centre could affect the redevelopment of the Broadway car park.

The search is on for a buyer for the shopping centre after it went into receivership earlier this month.

The plan is for the redeveloped Broadway car park to be joined with the ground floor of the Nicholsons Centre.

Cllr Dudley said: “If you look at the car park itself, well we’ve got our plans for the car park and they are proceeding. But we can always look at those in context of whatever’s appropriate for the Nicholsons shopping centre.”

The Royal Borough owns Central House, a tower above and attached to the centre, and is also a minority stakeholder of the centre’s freehold.

Cllr Dudley said this makes council a ‘serious stakeholder’ in the centre’s future, adding: “It’s fairly likely that any potential purchaser is going to want to come and talk to the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead.”

The situation is a positive one because ‘it unlocks something and opens up a lot of opportunities’, he said.

Cllr Philip Love (Con, Belmont) agreed and said that he felt ‘quite excited about it’.

Cllr Dudley said: “We’ve got no expertise to manage retail, I would say that is an area we do not want to go.

“We do not have expertise there, there’s extreme volatility there.

“We would endanger all of the various services we have to provide if we got into a volatile business sector, but that doesn’t mean we can’t bring our expertise and our capabilities and our knowledge into a joint venture with other people who are experts in that area.

“I’m sure, given how exciting the opportunities are in Maidenhead, that some very significant parties will come forward, seeing the

opportunity here by this shopping centre now being on the market.”

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