12:30PM, Saturday 03 August 2019
A decision on the potential redevelopment of the former BHS site in Slough High Street has been delayed.
Councillors met on Wednesday to discuss plans to convert the empty department store into a complex including 82 homes and commercial space for offices or a gym on the first floor.
Jan Donovan, speaking on behalf of the applicant, WMC Slough Ltd, told the meeting at St Martin’s Place: “This scheme was brought forward to deliver new homes, jobs, retail and restaurant opportunities.
“It is a major investment for the centre of Slough and what we believe will be a catalyst for further investment and regeneration of what is an important part of the High Street.”
Planning officers recommended that the councillors refuse the application because the height of the development would have a harmful impact on the townscape.
They also criticised the developer’s failure to provide any affordable housing.
The council’s policy is that developments of over 15 units should offer between 30 and 40 per cent social rented accommodation.
Cllr Pavitar Mann (Lab, Britwell and Northborough) told the meeting: “My biggest bone of contention is probably the level of affordable housing.
“This is a standalone site that’s being brought forward rather than an identified strategic site and that makes it even more vital these standalone sites deliver the infrastructure that is required, particularly affordable housing.”
The meeting heard that the applicant has proposed to make a £200,000 contribution for affordable housing elsewhere in the borough to compensate for its lack of provision at the High Street site.
Councillors voted to defer a decision until October to allow WMC Slough Ltd to continue discussions with the council’s planning team.
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