10:32AM, Thursday 10 January 2019
Town centre businesses due to leave their premises because of a major redevelopment are struggling to find new homes.
Owners and directors of the shops and restaurants on the eastern side of the lower part of King Street, where the Landing is due to be built, speak of their difficulty in finding suitable alternatives.
Developer HUB’s project to regenerate the triangle of land between King Street, Queen Street and Broadway should get underway by the end of March and will provide new homes, office blocks and public space.
It received planning permission late last year.
That now means the business tenants will need to leave before work begins – and they are struggling to find new places in time.
Nightclub Coco is due to close its doors for the final time on Saturday January 19 and Italian restaurant Francesco’s will shut on Friday, February 22.
Steve Palmer, director at SP Workwear, said his landlord has told him he needs to leave by Monday, March 18.
“We have known about it before we moved in,” he said. “This has been on the cards for 15 years.
“There was always the fear of being kicked out.”
He admitted the redevelopment ‘needs to be done’ but has been unable to find a new place in Maidenhead.
One option may be to run an order collection service at his business partner’s enterprise, Mail Boxes Etc, in the High Street, he said.
“There is not a great deal in Maidenhead so it might have to be we move further afield,” he said, mentioning Reading and Slough.
Francesco’s is inviting customers to enjoy a meal while it remains in King Street.
So far it has been unable to find a new venue, although it has a branch in Peascod Street, Windsor.
“So far, we have no home to go to,” said director Nick Ringer.
He said the long-established restaurant has specific requirements and he has not found suitable premises in the town.
Mark Woodhead, co-owner of picture framers Crazy About Framing, which has been in King Street for four years, said he was ‘desperately looking’ for somewhere, having been told to leave before Christmas but has not found a place that will take their equipment.
“Our problem is getting somewhere,” he said. “The trouble in Maidenhead is (potential premises) are either tiny or massive.”
Coco will host its final weekend on Friday, January 18 and Saturday, January 19.
On its Facebook page, the club wrote: “It’s you that has made us what we are so thank you to all of you for your support over the last nine years.”
Coworking company MyWorkSpot has not yet been given a notice to leave, according to director Will Ballantyne.
But he said the business is ‘not blind’ and is making plans, having identified a few options.
Steve Sanham, managing director of HUB, said they had been keeping affected businesses informed about the Landing development.
“Our project team has undertaken a very open, continual and wide-reaching engagement process with existing tenants and the wider community about our plans for the site,” he said.
“While of course it is unfortunate that any business owner must relocate, in this instance it is necessary to enable the development to proceed.”
Some businesses in the part of Queen Street that fall in the Landing development site remain open including estate and lettings agent Martin and Co and the domestic appliance shop RKTV.
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