10:56AM, Friday 11 June 2021
Plans have been submitted to turn office space at Nicholsons House into 37 new apartments – but the developer has said it does not intend to go ahead with the project at this stage.
Aegon UK Property Fund Limited has submitted plans to redevelop the building’s seven floors into flats, which will be served by 28 vehicle parking spaces in the soon-to-be developed Nicholsons multi-storey car park, and 56 cycle spots.
Because the plans seek to turn office space into homes, it is classified as a permitted development, which means that plans are expected to go through with less scrutiny.
Nicholsons House – located above the Nicholsons Centre – is occupied by seven floors of office accommodation, with organisations including the NHS using space.
Aegon UK says that it has ‘no intention to undertake the redevelopment at this stage’ and that none of the existing leases will be affected, including the one held by the health service.
The plans will form part of an overhaul in this part of Maidenhead town, with proposals for Nicholson Quarter approved earlier this year, which will see the shopping centre torn down and replaced.
Aegon UK says that it is a ‘responsible investor’ in the town having developed The Yard office building in Bell Street. It added on its plans for Nicholsons House: “At this stage the building is occupied by multiple office tenants, including the NHS.
“There is no intention to undertake the redevelopment at this stage, and none of the leases to the existing tenants will be affected and all will remain operational, including the NHS.
“The application will give the Fund the ability to redevelop the property in future, if appropriate.”
The Maidenhead Civic Society’s Bob Dulson raised fears over who was going to occupy the flats, and questioned the mix of homes being built in Maidenhead.
“Maidenhead, in our view, needs a better mix of housing, not just endless flats,” he said. “Somebody needs to keep an overview to see that [Aegon] are keeping to national [space] standards.”
Mr Dulson was also unsure where new occupants of Maidenhead’s extra flats would park.
He said: “There is generally a concern that there is inadequate parking in the town centre for all these proposed flats, not just this block. It is a naive assumption to think that people who live in flats do not have cars.”
Mr Dulson added that he could see a shift in working patterns in the future post-COVID.
“Most people generally would accept that there can be a reduction in the amount of office work that is done,” he said. “To do away with it altogether would not be appropriate – it is important you interact face-to-face.”
An Aegon UK spokesman added: “If the redevelopment was to proceed, all of the flats would be designed to adhere to national space standards and parking is available in the property’s car park.”
A Berkshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust spokeswoman said: "We have a lease covering several floors of Nicholsons House in Maidenhead, which runs for some time.
"Whilst we've not been involved with discussions about any proposed development, we believe that the NHS services we deliver from here will remain unaffected for the foreseeable future.
"Should any longer terms plans affect our ability to stay in the building, we will of course move our services to other premises in the local area.”
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