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Shanly Homes 'weighing up options' after Desborough Bowls Club plans are rejected

Plans to build three blocks of flats on the site of the Desborough Bowls Club were rejected by councillors last week.

The Shanly Homes project proposed the construction of one eight-storey building and two seven-storey buildings in York Road, comprising of 154 apartments and 176 car parking spaces.

Members of the Maidenhead Development Panel accepted the recommendation of council officers, who noted the lack of affordable housing in the plan.

Provision for some affordable housing was submitted two days earlier but, at the Town Hall panel meeting, held on Wednesday, January 17, officers said they had not had enough time to consult on it.

They said the application ‘failed to show how the development could successfully ensure effective integration’ with the regeneration developments planned for York Road, the so-called Opportunity Area where the bowls club is based.

The bowls club would have been demolished and relocated to Green Lane as part of the plans.

The council is working with developer Countryside on the redevelopment of York Road, along with West Street, Reform Road and St Cloud Way.

Officers also found the layout, scale, mass, bulk and overall design was ‘visually overdominant and overbearing’.

However, Cllr Adam Smith (Con, Riverside), told the meeting: “It may turn out the bulk proposed is acceptable.”

He added that ‘we have seen what happened at Berkshire House’ (the tower block in Maidenhead High Street) and ‘it is not impossible’ the development ‘would integrate with the remainder of the Opportunity Area’.

“However, the problem I have got with this is that we are being asked to make a decision on whether it integrates with something which doesn’t exist yet.

“So, I cannot see how we can possibly approve it in the circumstances.”

Speaking of the recent change of plan to include affordable housing, Cllr Saunders said: “I am seriously concerned that affordable housing on this issue is being relegated to the bottom of the list, if not pushed off the bottom.”

Cllr Derek Wilson (Con, Oldfield), chairing the meeting, said he hoped the applicant could return to discuss the plans further with the council.

After the meeting, a spokeswoman for the Shanly Group said: “Whilst we are clearly disappointed with the outcome of the planning meeting last week, we are currently weighing up our options and seeking to identify a satisfactory way forward with the local planning department.”

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