01:30PM, Friday 22 November 2019
“Maidenhead will never be nice. Come over to Bracknell for your shopping.”
That was a Facebook comment on an article I wrote for the Advertiser earlier this month on the redevelopment of the Nicholsons Centre.
I’m not going to name and shame here, but I could not help but feel how ridiculous this view was.
I have been to a number of events, exhibitions and walkabouts concerned with the regeneration of Maidenhead, and in particular the redevelopment of the town’s shopping centre.
The plans look very promising. Shopping and leisure areas, public squares and ‘lanes’ similar to those found in Brighton.
Rob Tincknell, from Areli Real Estate, the firm managing the shopping centre project on behalf of new owners Tikehau Capital, seems genuinely keen to take Maidenhead to the next level.
He told a meeting I was at this year that ‘people go to town centres to explore and find the nooks and crannies’.
And that is exactly what it looks like you can do. Places to explore, spend time and enjoy living.
These guys are investing their money into Maidenhead. We should be supporting them – they could be doing it somewhere else. Why would we say no to people willing to put their cash into our town centre?
I acknowledge that there are problems with parking that will need to be sorted out, and I get that some people will not want too many high rise buildings.
There is still lots of work to do, which is why it's vital residents get down to the Community Planning Day on Saturday in the old Argos unit inside the Nicholsons.
Come and have your say, air your concerns and help the developers out.
This is about the whole town centre – not just the Nicholsons.
It is worth mentioning that it was not all bad in the comments section.
I agreed with Gareth Ebenezer, who said that the centre’s ‘new owners have a genuine interest in making the regeneration work’ and this is ‘a generational chance to shape the future of our town’.
‘Come to Maidenhead for your shopping’ is the tagline we all want. So engage with those trying to achieve it.
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