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Royal Borough cabinet to decide on Nicholsons sale negotiations

A controversial proposal to give the Royal Borough leader authority to negotiate and agree the sale of the council’s stake in the Nicholson’s Centre will be considered tomorrow.

Members of the council cabinet have been asked to allow Cllr Simon Dudley (Con, Riverside) and executive director Russell O’Keefe to oversee the talks with the centre’s new owners Tikehau Capital and real estate business Areli.

The council would also sell Central House, a building on the Nicholsons site. It owns 50 per cent of the shopping centre’s freehold.

Cllr Dudley last week described the sale as ‘significant’ for the council but could not go into specifics about how much the Royal Borough stands to make because of the commercial sensitivity.

He pledged to put the final deal to a full council meeting for approval after leading opposition councillors blasted the proposal as ‘unilateral decision making’.

The deal could also provide the chance to build a new car park to replace the much-maligned existing one on Broadway for ‘substantially reduced cost’, according to a report sent to cabinet members.

It says: “The resources and expertise brought by the new owners provide a once in a generation opportunity to regenerate this key town centre location for the benefit of local residents and businesses and is a fundamental part of the overall regeneration of Maidenhead.”

A ‘heritage strategy’ is also to be considered at cabinet.

Councillors have been asked to approve starting the development of the plan, which ‘will identify and celebrate the importance of the Borough’s heritage, provide strategies for its protection and enhancement, and consider how best to interpret and harness this special resource for the benefit of the community, visitors and the local economy’, the report states.

The project would be out to tender in May 2019, if agreed, with the final plan going to cabinet for approval in the summer next year.

It will meet in the Grey Room at York House, Windsor from 7.30pm tomorrow (Thursday).

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