Nicholsons redevelopment: Purchase powers agreed for retailers

James Bagley, Local Democracy Reporter

Stationery shop to open in Nicholsons Centre

Powers to force 13 tenants to sell up their property in Maidenhead town centre were approved by senior councillors - but will be used as a precautionary, a meeting heard last week. 

Cabinet members unanimously agreed to use compulsory purchase orders (CPO), which forces homeowners to sell up if their property obstructs a regeneration project, on 13 retailers near the Nicholson’s Shopping Centre if negotiations stall.

In the report, Denhead S.A.R.L., which is developing out the site, needs assistance with acquiring the interests of the remaining landowners and leaseholders to help deliver the regeneration of the Maidenhead town centre.

Duncan Sharkey, managing director of the Windsor and Maidenhead council, said negotiations with the remaining retailers have been ongoing for over a year and hopes 'reasonable agreements' will be reached.

The council will enter into an agreement with Denhead S.A.R.L. who will be responsible for all costs and liabilities arising in undertaking and completing the CPO.

Denhead S.A.R.L. is a collaboration between Tikehau Capital, which bought the centre in 2018, and regeneration specialists Areli Real Estate. 

The leader of the council, councillor Andrew Johnson (Con: Hurley & Walthams), said: “Our primary aim and intent is to reach a negotiated settlement with all of the outstanding parties that is certainly a clear direction of travel and indeed our aspiration.

“But of course, acutely aware that in a major regeneration scheme this is sadly not always possible hence the need to have CPO powers at our disposal if required.”

Maidenhead resident Andrew Hill asked if getting CPO powers is a 'first resort' rather than a 'last resort' as mentioned in the report due to demolition works projected to begin this July and ending February 2022.

Cllr Johnson responded saying the scheme cannot be delayed by a number of parties for 'purely commercial reasons' as the council wants the project to be delivered in a reasonably fast time to provide new facilities to residents and provide confidence to future investors to invest into the town.

He said: “What I wouldn’t want to do to is to have, let’s say, 12 months of negotiations with one or two particular property interests, only for those negotiations to ultimately stall at the end, then only to start the process again of instigating the CPO – which would create further delay, further uncertainty into the proposal, and I think undermine people’s confidence in the overall deliverability of the scheme.”

The Windsor and Maidenhead cabinet meeting took place on March 25.

Plans to redevelop the Nicholsons Centre were approved earlier this month. 

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