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Councillors approve proposal for flats, hotel and businesses surrounding Brunel Way square

Plans for a public square surrounded by flats, a hotel, shops and leisure facilities close to Slough Railway Station were praised at a Slough Borough Council (SBC) planning last night (Wednesday).

The 1,230 square metre public courtyard over the old Octagon office site in Brunel Way is designed to improve connectivity between the the bus and railway station and the forthcoming commercial and residential redevelopment project at the old Thames Valley University site.

The 343 build-to-rent units would be split between an 18 and 26 storey buildings, rising to 94.5m and 120.85m respectively.

The proposal which councillors delegated to the planning manager for approval was put forward by developers TP Bennett, working on behalf of applicant Oliver Lord of Maizelands Ltd and Arringford Ltd.

The plans also include a ‘high quality’ 170 bed hotel of about eight stories with leisure and business facilities for hotel guests and residents and additional three retail units at the ground floor of the two block of flats.

A total of 112 car parking spaces are included in the proposal — 34 or the apartments and 78 for the hotel as well as cycle parking.

Councillors did not seem concerned about an objection from Historic England, which said the 26 storey tower would ‘break the skyline’ of Windsor Castle and would impact the way people look at it from the Copper Horse Statue of King George III.

SBC cabinet member for planning and transport Councillor Martin Carter (Lab, Britwell and Northborough) said: “I would go up to the top of the Copper Horse and look at Slough and enjoy the fact that it’s changing.”

Fellow committee member Councillor Rayman Bains (Con, Upton) said: “I meet many people that actually don’t go up the Copper Horse, they go up to the road and I don’t think you can see it [the development] from there. For me that’s not an issue.”

He stressed the quality of the buildings in the proposal and jokingly added: “I think this is a great development and I would probably ask for a condition that when we accept it that that should build it within six months.”

A pre-application pitch to the committee in July 2017 raised eyebrows when Cllr Ted Plenty (Lab, Langley St Mary’s) slammed the communal dining areas.

He compared them to ‘1930s hostels’ at this week’s meeting, but councillors were told plans have since been revised so that residents have their own kitchen and dining facilities but could use the communal space on the top floor if they want to.

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