Police raise crime concerns over new Magnet development

Thames Valley Police (TVP) has raised concerns over the proposed development of the old Magnet Leisure Centre site.

Plans have been submitted by developer Countryside for more than 400 new flats in Holmanleaze comprising of five buildings.

Included in the proposals will be new ‘green link’ landscaping and another pedestrian access point to the town centre.

The developers propose to remove the ‘poor quality’ pedestrian bridge over Saint Cloud Way, replacing it with enhancements to the existing subway running underneath.

Countryside has previously claimed that this will make the street ‘a safer route’ for pedestrians wishing to access the town centre and reduce crime in the area.

In a formal response to the plans dated April 13, TVP’s crime prevention design advisor for Berkshire, Anne Chalmers, wanted ‘further clarification’ on how Countryside would ‘amend the entrance/egress areas of the subway’ in order to ‘reduce opportunity for crime’.

She added: “I appreciate the site constraints, however given the poor design of the existing subway, and crime associated with it, I have concerns that the existing underpass will not improve access across St Cloud Way, but will more than likely increase opportunity for crime.”

Another complaint was around the potential for anti-social behaviour within the development itself.

“Given scale of this development, if robust access control is not designed in, I would have significant concerns that the development would be excessively permeable providing a legitimate excuse for individuals to be in private areas where they should not be, creating opportunity for crime,” Ms Chalmers said.

A petition has been created opposing the development, while complaints over the bulk of the buildings have been raised by nearby Maidenhead Mosque. 

A planning application is not expected to be heard by the Windsor and Maidenhead Council until May, when the plans will be decided.

In response, Dan King, a managing director at Countryside, said: “We have been working hard with TVP to ensure that the development can help address existing issues of crime.

“As part of our application the existing subway will be improved, creating a brighter and safer environment that is more welcoming for pedestrians. Furthermore, the design of the new buildings themselves will provide access controls – designed in conjunction with the police – to ensure a high level of security so that the potential for crime is designed out.”

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