12:03PM, Thursday 14 October 2021
Slough town centre is set to face at least 14 years of upheaval if plans to redevelop the Queensmere Observatory are approved.
Developer British Land is looking to tear down Slough’s 1970s shopping centre and replace it with up to 1,600 flats, a new town square and up to 12,000sqm of bars, restaurants and shops.
The property company told the council’s planning committee last night that, if plans are approved, it hopes to start demolition work on the Queensmere shopping centre at the end of 2023.
Works on the scheme, which is being delivered on behalf of the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority, are expected to continue until 2036.
The meeting heard that the Observatory shopping centre will remain open while the first phase of the redevelopment is carried out.
Proposals for the ambitious shopping centre redevelopment include:
A CGI map of the proposed Queensmere redevelopment
British Land faced questions from the council’s planning committee about the level of affordable housing proposed – which currently stands at only 12.5 per cent for the first phase of work.
Councillor Haqeeq Dar (Independent, Wexham Lea) said: “I don’t think it’s a good start when they’re (British Land) starting off with 12 per cent social housing.
“They’ve been in the meeting, they’ve heard what the policy is but they still start at a low percentage.”
Slough Borough Council’s policy is for at least 30 per cent affordable housing to be provided on new developments.
A spokesman for British Land responded: “We’re absolutely committed to providing a degree of affordable but as we’ve made relatively clear and quite openly, that amount of affordable we provide is linked to the degree of viability.
“While I appreciate that doesn’t meet current policy, the challenges that we face here with large scale regeneration is the volume of demolition we’re undertaking and the quality and quantity of public realm which is being brought forward.”
The meeting heard an outline planning application for the Queensmere shopping centre is expected to be submitted imminently.
There will be displays at Windsor Racecourse and Legoland, local fireworks in Burnham and Twyford and smaller displays at schools in the Royal Borough.