The plans for the Queensmere shopping center in Slough defended by British Land
The “urban” makeover of downtown SLOUGH was defended by developers as councilors criticized the “lack” of affordable housing.
By the end of the month, British Land planners will submit the long-awaited redevelopment plan for the 1970s Queensmere Shopping Center and surrounding area.
If the plans are given the green light, up to 1,600 apartments could be built with 550 parking spaces, up to 40,000 m² of offices, as well as new shops, restaurants, concert halls, cinemas, bars, flat take out and new public domain.
Demolition and construction could begin in 2023 and redevelopment with a potential end date of 2036.
READ MORE: What will a redeveloped Queensmere mall look like?
While some aspects of the project were welcomed by the planning committee advisers, who received a pre-application presentation by British Land, some had their reservations and concerns.
The council has a policy in place that major developments must provide 30% affordable housing. However, only 12.5 percent of the renovated Queensmere will be affordable homes.
Speaking at the Wednesday October 13 meeting, Cllr Haqeeq Dar (Ind: Wexham Lea) said the development “is not a good start” with the level of affordable housing offered despite council policy.
Russell O’Hare, director of development at British Land, admitted this was not in line with policy, but said it was not viable to add more affordable housing to the program.
A redeveloped Mackenzie Street
He said: ‘The challenges we face here, and they are not unusual in Slough or other UK town centers, with large scale regeneration, it is the volume of demolition that we let us undertake and, above all, the quantity and quality of the public domain. being advanced.
“These things in particular, when we compare them to more stand-alone sites, they create pressures on sustainability which then create that pressure on what becomes the direct link to the quantity of affordable products. [homes] that can be offered.
However, Mr O’Hare added that a “review mechanism” will be in place, which means they will conduct another viability survey to see if they can increase the supply of affordable housing.
The downtown buildings range from six stories to 18 stories.
The project has also been criticized for proposing two huge 18-story buildings in the city center as well as a range of blocks from six to 12 floors, which residents have criticized as being “like a city”.
Speaking to the Local Democracy Information Service after the meeting, Mr O’Hare said: “Pitch is something we have had conversations about with the council.
“They didn’t deter us from considering height, mass and density. In the city center, as dry as the answer may be, this is the nature of the town’s spatial strategy. We are therefore responding to an emerging policy.
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“I don’t think 18 floors in a few individual places is too high. I think that’s appropriate given the nature of what’s to come, especially when we look at the office district to the northwest.
“Again, it shows up in a few areas. Average is 12-13 stories and I’m more than comfortable it’s appropriate for the location and more importantly it will meet the spatial strategy that exists within the board.