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Nicholsons Centre developers meet with Royal Borough disability forum

The architects leading the town centre’s redevelopment met with a disability forum to find out how to make the plans suitable for everyone.

Lighting, car parking and street width were some of the things discussed when two representatives of JTP Architects gave a presentation to the Royal Borough’s Disability and Inclusion Forum on their plans for the Nicholsons regeneration.

The meeting was an opportunity for members of the panel, many of whom have some form of disability, to share their thoughts and expertise with the architects as they try to create a shopping area in the town centre that is suitable for all residents.

Car parking was one of the most important issues for the panel. JTP has drafted plans for a 1,000-space car park in Broadway with 50 or fewer blue badge parking spaces.

The panel suggested that more spaces be included and that the architects consider using ramps instead of lifts for disabled users.

Peter Hayley, a member of the forum and chief executive of People To Places, which runs Maidenhead Shopmobility, said: “We tried using lifts in car parks in Windsor but it was not great. If lifts break you’re stuck”

It was also suggested that blue badge spaces are long as well as wide so that those with rear access via ramps will have space to safely exit their vehicles.

Looking at plans for the outdoor areas of the site, the forum members were shown artist’s impressions of the various new streets planned for the development.

These included a new public square, and ‘lanes’-style shopping streets breaking off from the High Street.

The developers described this area as ‘intimate’, but this caused concern among some of the panel members.

Angela Clark, chair of the forum, said: “It just seems that to get to the central area you have to navigate a lot of narrow causeways and when it’s raining and people are about with umbrellas that’s going to be quite difficult for people with mobility issues – and it does rain a lot.”

In response, Daniella Favero, a landscape architect at Exterior Architecture who was involved in the presentation, said: “We’d still make sure you would have enough space to pass, and make sure there is still a comfortable amount of space to navigate.”

Other suggestions from JTP included various types of lighting, signposts and Changing Places toilets, which the forum members were generally positive about.

Overall, both parties were pleased with the discussion, and they are due to meet again next week.

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