01:49AM, Friday 02 March 2012
Business leaders have been given an insight into how the council plans to drive forward the development of Maidenhead.
Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead council leader David Burbage said it could not afford to be 'particularly fussy' about which companies come to town and was better to be flexible than have empty shops.
He added: "We have quite a variety of businesses and long may that continue."
However he pointed out that the council only has limited powers to control which retailers come here and could not 'tell businesses what to do'.
Instead it is working to attract developers to town.
He met with members of Maidenhead and District Chamber of Commerce on Wednesday and gave them a sneak peek of a video Transforming Maidenhead that is being produced to market the town.
Cllr Burbage said: "The council is keen and enthusiastic in driving forward the AAP (Area Action Plan) and move from vision and verse into deeds."
Companies are beginning to show interest in Maidenhead and last week the council decided to actively seek a developer for land it owns around the town hall.
Cllr Burbage was due to have a meeting yesterday to make sure the planning application for the York Stream restoration is not held up.
He was questioned on various issues by chamber member Ross Wilson.
When asked about the council's role in attracting businesses to town he said the arrival of Adobe proved Maidenhead could 'sell itself' but the council was doing what it could to spruce up the town visually with new signposts and paving.
"Our role is to make sure Maidenhead is a great environment for businesses by doing things like keeping the streets clean and picking up fly tipping."
He disagreed with suggestions that the cost of parking affected the number of shoppers but said the council is 'closely watching' authorities where free parking is being trialled by the local authorities to try and increase footfall.
He also has doubts that business rates reforms will make much difference, adding: "When it changes we will still collect £70 million and receive back £18m.
"I don't think they go far enough in terms of localism."
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