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'Nicholson Quarter' plans could be decided in February

Plans for the Nicholsons Centre redevelopment could come before the planning committee in early February.

The date was announced as the target for developer Areli Real Estate via a public webinar held over Zoom on Tuesday, which gave people the chance to review revised plans and ask questions.

Presenting the proposals to the virtual audience, Areli partner Rob Tincknell announced February 3 as the potential date for the ‘Nicholson Quarter’ plans being presented to the council for approval or rejection.

The £500million plans will see the Nicholsons Centre torn down and replaced with a new complex, combining new streets and zones with retail, offices and residential space.

“Our high streets are changing; we need to get people back living and working in our town centres,” Mr Tincknell told the webinar.

“I am not going to say this is going to be easy, but we are committed to a vibrant town centre for Maidenhead.”

Areli’s plans were recently altered, with a reduction in the car park storeys, revised heights to three zones in the scheme, and improved daylight, some of the changes made to the application.

After running through the proposals, Rob and a panel of those associated with the development faced questions from people attending the Zoom meeting.

Concerns were raised over the reduction in car park height, with less parking spaces now being proposed for future shoppers.

Mr Tincknell said that the existing car park ‘rarely gets full’, and claimed Areli has conducted ‘a huge amount of traffic studies’.

He added: “Maidenhead is moving towards a more sustainable future, is it right to have a 1,000-space car park in the middle of town?”

Maidenhead Civic Society’s Bob Dulson asked questions over the height of the tallest building – 25 storeys – asking whether ‘it has to be high to be viable’.

Mr Tincknell replied: “60 per cent [of people] voted for the 25-storey building.

“I know it is different, and we appreciate it is something new in Maidenhead, but I really think this is something we will be very proud of.”

Later in the meeting, Areli partner Will Robinson said the developer could ‘consider’ the possibility of having a top-floor viewing platform on this building, but acknowledged this would be ‘difficult to achieve’.

Resident parking was also brought up, with Mr Tincknell confirming that there will be parking offered in basements underground, in order to maximise the retail frontage.

At the end of the meeting, a question was asked about amenities associated with the scheme, including schools and doctors surgeries.

Mr Tincknell said he was ‘not quite sure’ the development would be the best location for a school, but said there was the possibility of including a community centre, and the heritage centre, within the scheme.

“As we go forward, these type of opportunities will start to arise,” he added.

Areli hopes to start work on site in early 2022, with a targeted completion date of 2025.

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