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Councillors quiz developer over lack of parking at Horlicks factory site

The developer of the Horlicks factory site is hoping its parking plans will help Slough Borough Council deliver its vision for sustainable transport.

Berkeley Homes is preparing to submit an application for up to 1,300 homes at the former Glaxo-SmithKline base in Stoke Poges Lane.

Councillors listened to a presentation about the plans during a planning committee meeting on Wednesday.

Berkeley Homes has pledged to build 325 affordable homes, 25 per cent of the development, but only 400 parking spaces are currently set aside.

Elkie Lees, divisional land director at Berkeley Group, told the meeting: “The future of car ownership is changing.

“It’s expensive, it’s archaic, it’s dirty. We are trying to embrace Slough’s own vision for sustainable transport.

“Younger people now don’t want to own a car, they want to rent it at the weekend if they go to the Cotswolds.”

Councillors raised concerns about the lack of parking, with Labour’s Ted Plenty describing the suggestion that people don’t want to own cars as ‘pie in the sky’.

 He said: “I disagree on the amount of parking and certainly disagree with the idea that young people don’t want cars.

“You’re wrong thinking that everyone is going to go to Crossrail and not want a car.

“It’s pie in the sky.”

Cllr Martin Carter (Lab, Britwell and Northborough) added: “Some of my colleagues have spoken out about parking on the site and it is a contentious issue.

“However, I do want to say that Slough are in the vanguard of trying to change and make sure that we do move from where we are today to where we want to be tomorrow.

“I think that this site, particularly in the managed aspect of parking, is a really important first step.

“But we also understand that from our transport vision, we will find a way to slowly but surely move people from the unacceptable position we’re in with car overcrowding to a place where people have affordable, alternative methods of getting around.”

The developer outlined its vision to retain the factory’s striking chimney and clock tower and make them a ‘focal point’ of the scheme.

The development also proposes relocating a war memorial, designed in 1949 by Sir William Reid Dick, to the heart of a new civic square on the site.

Water features could also play a significant part in the redevelopment, with a series of meandering paths and ponds planned for Aquifer Park.

Elkie Lees added: “We’ve chosen to buy in Slough as we see the town as somewhere that has a positive attitude towards development.

“It’s an iconic site in the town centre and it has all the ingredients for a great place to live.”

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