05:17AM, Friday 30 August 2013
A project to upgrade and improve the Maidenhead's water channels has moved a step closer to becoming a reality thanks to a special fund.
The Royal Borough's cabinet has voted to accept a £1.6m loan from the Growing Places fund to go towards the Maidenhead Waterways project, meaning money should be in place to press ahead with the first stages of the ambitious initiative once detailed designs have been completed.
It comes after the council, in partnership with the Maidenhead Waterways group, applied for the Thames Valley Berkshire Local Enterprise Partnership funding, which is designed for infrastructure projects and would see the money paid back interest-free using Section 106 developer contributions.
Cabinet members unanimously voted in favour of accepting the offer at a meeting at Windsor Guidhall on Thursday, August 22, stating it would help drive the project forward after outline planning permission was secured in December.
It also follows the approval of the Shanly Group's Chapel Arches project to build shops, offices and housing surrounding the waterways - designed to complement the project.
Speaking at the meeting, cabinet chairman Cllr David Burbage said: "The Maidenhead Waterways restoration group are doing a very good job of moving [the project] forward so with some money in the bank it will move a bit quicker."
Final details are still to be ironed out, but, speaking after the meeting, Maidenhead Waterways chairman Richard Davenport said the funding would mean the group can aim to secure a constructor contract by the spring without 'sitting around waiting' to find funding to start building.
He added: "Things are coming together at the right time to avoid any loss of momentum."
The total cost of the project, to build a 2km navigable 'ring' of water around the town centre, is estimated to cost about £8m with phase one hoped to begin in 2014/15.
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