Blocks of 91 flats in Maidenhead 'excessive', says civic society

Adrian Williams

Adrian Williams

The town’s civic society has spoken against a proposal to build 91 flats in Vanwall Business Park – despite there being some ‘positive aspects.’

The application involves replacing an existing office building with four residential blocks up to five storeys in height.

“There is currently an over provision of flats currently being added to Maidenhead’s housing stock – primarily in the town centre,” wrote Martin McNamee, chair of Maidenhead Civic Society’s planning group.

“This location is in a non-residential setting, surrounded by commercial/office buildings. The location is well removed from the town centre.

“Such outlying locations should ideally be providing family homes. Flats more than a mile from the town centre should be discouraged.”

On the flipside, while office conversions may not generate the same quality of accommodation as purpose-built blocks, they are ‘more ecologically acceptable’.

They generate a smaller carbon footprint per dwelling – especially as they ‘do not involve wasteful demolition.’

Though there will be 91 parking spaces provided – one per flat – the Civic Society says this is inadequate.

“A further 52 spaces are required to meet RBWM parking policy for the number of dwellings of two-bed/four persons or larger,” wrote Mr McNamee.

The society said there are some positive aspects to the proposal, including the plan for 30 per cent of the flats to be affordable.

Another positive is that all flats would have a living area that meets the minimum Nationally Described Space Standard and a significant area of communal garden / amenity space.

Nonetheless, the Civic Society is of the opinion that this proposal is an ‘excessive development in terms of height, bulk and mass’ and favours a previously permitted application from the same site, by the same developer.

Permission has already been obtained under application 21/02067 for change of use from offices to residential in the form of 28 flats.

“The Design and Access Statement suggests that in the event of the new application not being permitted the developers will revert to the permitted scheme to convert the existing building to 28 flats,” wrote Mr McNamee.

“The permitted conversion maintained the building height to the existing two storeys and provided adequate parking provision for the proposed 28 flats. This excessive proposal for Mattel House should be refused, and the permitted scheme for change of use/conversion to a more modest 28 flats should be implemented.”

The applicant’s representatives, Alex D Architects, said the homes will be ‘high-quality, family sized, residential dwellings’ that will ‘enhance the quality of the street [and] improve the public realm’.

Ward councillor Geoff Hill previously said he hoped the 91-flat plan will save the Borough from the need to develop so much on the greenbelt.

Applicant Belway Homes and its representative Savills had not responded to a request for comment at the time of going to press.

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