09:41AM, Thursday 15 November 2018
A major town centre redevelopment project has been recommended for refusal ahead of a meeting to discuss the plans next week.
A planning officers’ report said three tower blocks planned to be built as part of The Landing development would have a ‘substantial’ detrimental impact on the town.
The plans for the 344-home development are set to go to a Maidenhead Development Management Panel on Wednesday, where councillors will decide whether to accept or reject the recommendations.
Steve Sanham, managing director of HUB, the developer, said: “The move by planning officers to recommend refusal for our planning application has come as a surprise and is extremely disappointing.”
“The Landing site is fundamental to the regeneration of Maidenhead town centre and has been subject to too many false starts and delays,” Mr Sanham said. “Local people have made it very clear to us that they want to see Maidenhead town centre revitalised and we remain confident that our carefully considered proposals will deliver on that aim.
“We are confident in the scheme we have put together and look forward to elected members giving it due consideration.”
The application, for land bordered by King Street, Queen Street and Broadway, has been revised from plans initially unveiled in May.
The height of the tallest building along Broadway has come down from 200ft (61 metres) to 184ft (56 metres), while two other blocks have been reduced to 174ft (53 metres).
But the report said the proposals ‘would result in tall buildings of notably greater density, height and scale than the prevailing character of the area’.
It adds the plan would create a ‘visually overbearing wall of development’.
The recommendation to refuse the application was welcomed by Maidenhead Civic Society.
Martin McNamee, the society’s chairman of planning, said: “We are delighted that the application is recommended for refusal. We have always regarded the scheme as excessive.”
Council leader Cllr Simon Dudley (Con, Riverside), a supporter of the development, said on Twitter: “Despite reservations, now is the moment to embrace a deliverable scheme for the good of the town.”
The plans are also recommended for refusal due to a failure to ‘secure the necessary package of highway mitigation matters’.
Steve Sanham, Managing Director of HUB, added: “Our scheme will bring a buzz back to the town centre and revitalise it in the way the people of Maidenhead have told us they want– and crucially what we have submitted can and will be delivered.
The reality is that a low rise scheme with townhouses cannot be delivered on that site due to the costs of land assembly and other constraints and would not provide the mix of uses or critical mass to stimulate the regeneration of the town.
Maidenhead needs to seize this moment as the town centre simply cannot afford for this key site to lie undeveloped and derelict for another 5 years or more.”
“We understand the sensitivities around heights in the town centre and have given careful consideration to the placement of the buildings on the site. We have already reduced the heights of the tallest buildings to 15-16 storeys, which is now significantly lower than the previous scheme that received planning permission but was not delivered.”
The meeting will take place at Maidenhead Town Hall on Wednesday at 7pm.
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