12:55PM, Thursday 20 February 2014
Ambitious plans to create a flagship town civic quarter centring around a thriving public square have been floated by the Royal Borough.
Proposals include building three new offices, 250 homes, a cafe, restaurant and cultural facilities for entertainment, heritage and the arts close to the town hall and library in the ‘York Road opportunity area’.
The possible regeneration project would stretch from the southern end of the Maidenhead Bowls club to the town hall, with the new square on the current town hall car park.
If approved, the council-owned York Stream House and St Ives House would be demolished, as would the derelict properties nicknamed ‘death row’ in York Road.
The St John Ambulance building, King George VI Club and Maidenhead Spiritualist Church would also go but could be re-homed within the improved opportunity area.
Maidenhead Heritage Centre in Park Street would also be knocked down, with the idea to house it instead inside a new building fronting the square.
This ‘public realm’ building has been earmarked to house a variety of arts and social activities but specifics are yet to be discussed.
Of the 250 homes which could be built, the council would aim to make 30 per cent of these affordable housing.
Cllr MJ Saunders, cabinet member for Maidenhead, said if the proposals are taken further, the borough would look to enter into a joint venture with a developer to deliver the scheme.
Funding for the project and ownership between the council and the developer would be
discussed at a later stage.
Following an investigation by consultants GVA, based on the Maidenhead Area Action Plan – the blueprint for regeneration – development would be in phases.
This would allow construction of homes along the York Stream to start first and help to pair it with the Maidenhead Waterways scheme and the Shanly Group’s Chapel Arches development.
Cllr Saunders said: “As the major landowner of this key site and in the best interest of our residents, the council must be in the driving seat for any future development.
“The proposal is for a scheme to give Maidenhead the central square local people crave and, surrounding it, a quality development of cultural and community facilities, homes and offices that will have a sought-after address in our town centre.
“We are conscious the York Road opportunity area is a valuable part of the regeneration jigsaw and must be handled with both imagination and extreme diligence.”
At a cabinet meeting on Thursday, February 27, councillors will be asked to agree the appointment of a development management company and to approve finding a joint venture partner for the project.
The cabinet will also be asked to agree an £800,000 budget to move the scheme forward.
Cllr Saunders said the proposals were another step forward in the regeneration of the town centre.
He added: “Not only will we see a start very soon on the Chapel Arches and waterways schemes, but we have seen exciting plans from the London and Aberdeen Group for the Broadway Triangle area.
He continued: “I believe the development of these areas, with a focus on offices, cultural and residential facilities, will really help put Maidenhead on the map.”
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