05:27PM, Thursday 01 April 2021
The Watermark development in York Road is set to welcome residents in the coming weeks
The first residents are expected to move into a York Road regeneration scheme, but the Landing development has hit a stumbling block, a meeting heard this week.
The Maidenhead Town Forum met last night (Wednesday) to discuss the many building projects either underway or planned in the town.
Barbara Richardson, managing director of the RBWM Property Company, updated councillors and members of the public on how schemes were progressing.
Below is what was revealed at the meeting:
York Road 'Watermark' development (Developer: Countryside)
Ms Richardson told the meeting that scaffolding has been taken down from the first set of homes built as part of a three-phase development, which is scheduled to complete fully by 2025.
This scheme - which has been underway since 2019 - will deliver 229 homes (30 per cent affordable) on the banks of Maidenhead riverside. Plans also include a new civic square and commercial space.
"You would have noticed that there is quite significant progress on this site and you can start seeing the buildings from phase one emerge from scaffolding to get a real flavour for what they are going to look like," Ms Richardson said.
"We have actually had some people taking their keys - I don't think they have physically moved in but they certainly took their keys to their front door.
"There will be a significant number of people moving in both in relation to the private units, and the affordable units, over the next week."
Later in the meeting, Councillor Gurch Singh (Lib Dem, St Mary's) asked how many of the units at Watermark had been sold.
Ms Richardson said that Countryside had received 'a huge amount of interest' and are 'selling roughly four units a month'.
"There are about 42 per cent sold at this stage of the entire project," she said.
All affordable units within phase one have been sold, Ms Richardson added.
The Landing development (HUB/Smedvig)
Major plans to build a 424-home, retail and office space development near Broadway in Maidenhead town centre have been in the headlines for several years since work started in 2019.
Rumours have circulated that the development has been suffering from funding issues, with fears raised that the project could be halted due to a lack of construction.
At the town forum meeting, Ms Richardson said that there have been some 'land assembly issues', with two building owners on site not able to meet a suitable exit agreement with developers.
There will now be a CPO (compulsory purchase order) enquiry taking place on the week commencing June 28, which will last several days.
Ms Richardson said: "If the developer and those two owners haven't come to an agreement on compensation for their assets by that date, the inspector will then make a decision and award a compensation that they feel is the right compensation."
"Hopefully at the end of that public enquiry there will be a conclusion one way or another, and Smedvig and HUB are very keen to get started on site.
"But with the uncertainty around land ownership on those two elements, they have to go down this route in order for their investors to put their money forward."
If matters are sorted, developers hope to start construction in July, Ms Richardson added.
On funding issue rumours, she said: "My understanding is that the funding is ready to go, they just need the outcome of the public enquiry before they can start on site."
St Cloud Way (old Magnet Leisure Centre site) development (Countryside)
Plans have been submitted for more than 400 units at the site of the old leisure centre in Holmanleaze.
Phase one will deliver 333 homes, and phase two, 91, if planning is approved. A total of 30 per cent affordable housing is proposed.
Ms Richardson said that plans are likely to be going to the planning committee 'some time in May' (starting on site in autumn this year), with a final predicted completion date of 2026.
Reform Road development (Countryside)
Also subject to planning, this site is another area of interest for Countryside.
Plans could potentially include 30,000 sq ft of office space, 'some residential', as well as a 30,000 sq ft health hub in partnership with the NHS.
A planning application is expected to be submitted in 2022, with an estimated start on site date of 2023. The final completion is estimated to be 2026.
West Street development (Countryside)
A total of 141 units are subject to planning at another area that has been earmarked for Countryside homes.
These will be a mix of residential and commercial, as well as 25,000 sq ft of non-residential space. 30 per cent of affordable housing is proposed.
This site is owned by the council but is home to an empty building that houses equipment belonging to BT.
Ms Richardson said that the council will have negotiations with the telecommunications company, which owns the vacant structure.
Work is hoped to be able to start here in 2024 and finish in 2026.
Maidenhead Golf Course development (CALA Homes)
One of the more time-consuming - and controversial - developments is the one proposed for Maidenhead Golf Course.
A total of 2,000 homes are proposed to be built here, with 30 per cent of these affordable.
The Windsor and Maidenhead Council will enter into a joint venture with developer CALA Homes for the project, which will take 12-15 years to build.
An estimated start on site date is earmarked for 2023, subject to the outcome of the yet-to-be-decided Borough Local Plan.
This site has been met with anger from some residents who would prefer the space to be turned into a 'Maidenhead Great Park', but the council has continuously stood by its extensive plans in order to cope with a growing population and Crossrail.
Ms Richardson said: "We are only looking at developing about 60 per cent of the total site area. 40 per cent at least will be held back for natural green foliage, protecting trees, and the biodiversity which is already on the golf course."
The Town Forum also learned that only CALA can develop out the site and cannot 'sell pockets' to other developers.
Ray Mill Road East (CALA Homes)
A total of 78 units are subject to planning here (47 per cent affordable).
If planning is approved this time, construction is due to start in September this year, and end in February 2022. It is hoped that a planning application will be heard in May.
Ms Richardson said that 45 per cent of this site will be developed in relation to housing.
She added that there are 'quite a lot of measures in place for the biodiversity and various protected species that would need to be looked after'.
St Edmunds House development
This smaller development is expected to come forward to the planning panel this month.
Up to 14 units (10 shared ownership and four social rent) are proposed here, with an emphasis on housing key workers.
100 per cent of these will be affordable.
Work to redevelop the existing lodge house is expected to start in 2021 and end in 2022.
Nicholsons Shopping Centre development (Areli Real Estate)
An application to redevelop the Nicholsons Centre was approved last month.
"We will now be going through a process with the developer to actually bring the scheme forward to a start on site as soon as possible," Ms Richardson said.
"It is a substantial piece of the regeneration of Maidenhead going forward."
Vicus Way car park (non-residential development)
An update was also provided on the overdue plans to build a new multi-storey car park in Vicus Way.
The controversial site has been left vacant for several years but Ms Richardson said that construction on this was due to begin 'in the next few weeks'.
Alexandra coach and car park, Windsor
Plans to redevelop the Alexandra Gardens coach and car park in Alma Road were revealed at the town forum, but this was criticised by Windsor councillors who claimed this should have been discussed at the Windsor Town Forum instead.
Read more on that here.
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