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Councillor warns against 'bombarding' employment land with flats

A councillor has warned Slough Borough Council (SBC) against ‘bombarding’ key employment sites in the town with flats.

Slough’s iconic Horlicks factory, the Langley Business Centre and the Akzo Nobel site in Wexham Road have all been identified for housing as part of the council’s ‘Preferred Spatial Strategy’.

The sites could provide more than 7000 homes as SBC aims to meet its target of building 550 houses per year by 2036.

But during a meeting of the council’s planning committee on Wednesday (Feb21), Cllr Rayman Bains (Con, Upton) questioned the council’s plans to develop some of the town’s significant employment sites.

He said: “I just want to express my concern with the amount of employment land we’re looking to develop on.

“For us to say that going forward we won’t be developing anymore (employment land), well we won’t be because we’re already building on some good office locations there.”

The Horlicks factory, owned by Glaxo-SmithKline (GSK), has been earmarked for 766 homes when the site closes.

Paul Stimpson, SBC’s planning policy lead officer, told the meeting that the council hoped to preserve the factory building and convert it into flats, creating a new neighbourhood.

He added that the council wants to build family housing at all of its identified strategic housing sites but had to provide a high number of flats as well to avoid putting development pressure on the town’s suburbs.

Cllr Bains responded by calling on the council to make a firm commitment to building family housing at each site.

He added: “My fear is that you will take these four strategic sites and bombard them with one or two-bedroom flats with a few penthouses on top.

“I do have a concern that this strategy is trying to fit in as many flats into Slough as possible and there’s nothing in here that gives me a reassurance about that.”

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