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Plans for new Slough tower block deferred by council

The director for the original development firm of Nova House had an application for a nine-storey tower block deferred by Slough Borough Council (SBC) planning committee members on Wednesday.

Aaron Emmett of Click Herschel Ltd described the proposed 238 block apartment building on the corner of Church Street and Herschel Street as a ‘high quality development meeting national space standards’.

Mr Emmett is still listed as the director of Click Properties Ltd, formally Timeless Property Services Ltd, which was the original developer of the Nova House site.

Fears for the safety of residents in the tower prompted SBC to enter into negotiations to take control of Nova House last month from the current leaseholder following a failed cladding safety test in June in the wake of Grenfell Tower disaster.

Outside the meeting Mr Emmett was asked what had been learned from Nova House.

After initially declining to comment he said there was ‘definitely lessons to be learnt’ and the number of buildings now found to have unsafe cladding testifies to that, with Nova House being one of many.

“Look, this [new] building has got brick cladding,” he said.

Pressed on the issue of fire safety he said: “Building control is important, as a developer we have a specific criteria, you have an architect that designs the building, you have building control that signs off on safety.

“For instance if I put a plug socket here, I don’t physically put that in, what I do is employ a qualified electrician and that’s their advice, that’s the best I can do.”

Richard Venables, 53, who shares an apartment at Nova House, thought more should be asked of the developer’s suitability.

He said: “It’s the equivalent of the Yorkshire ripper going to marriage counselling and not expecting to be asked about his attitude towards women.”

Cllr Ted Plenty (Lab, Langley St Mary's) raised concerns about the number of stairwells in the development and said the provision of only 47 parking spaces as ‘not on planet earth, it’s planet zog’.

Cllr James Swindlehurst (Lab, Cippenham Green) said: “I feel like it’s quite imposing, it would overlook the funeral directors so you might see bodies getting lugged back and forth.”

Cllr Sabia Hussain (Lab, Central) commended officers for refusing the application saying that officers do not often mitigate on the side of residents.

Councillors approved plans for a multi-storey car park with 222 spaces in Liverpool Road and a 117 block residential development in Stoke Road.

However Cllr Raymond Bains (Cons, Upton) said: “The Labour council’s actions speak louder than words when it comes to affordable housing.”

The Stoke Road site will include just 13 per cent affordable homes – planning policy aims for 40 per cent.

“When it comes down to it, they are ineptly inadequate,” added Cllr Bains.

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