06:21PM, Thursday 18 June 2020
A £600m masterplan to develop shops, offices and more than 1,000 new homes at the former Thames Valley University site was discussed at a meeting on Monday.
Proposals would see 1,300 homes, leisure, retail and office space across 12 buildings ranging from eight to 26 storeys high in the heart of Slough town centre.
The scheme, called North West Quadrant (NWQ), will be overseen by Muse Developments, whose involvement in the scheme was announced last year by Slough Urban Renewal (SUR), a partnership between the council and Morgan Sindall Investments.
At Monday’s virtual meeting, councillors heard a presentation from Chris Scott, development director at Muse Developments.
Mr Scott said NWQ would create a ‘new destination’ for Slough and have a population of about 5,000 people, including residents and workers.
“A £600m investment will create housing, jobs and opportunities for local people; it will play a key role stimulating Slough’s economy over the next few years,” he said.
Muse was at the early stages of the design and the proposals were not fixed – they represented ‘the optimum location of the uses’, he added.
The scheme would include nine residential buildings, two commercial buildings and one with a focus on education, innovation and cultural uses.
There would be 300,000sq ft of office space and 26,000sq ft in retail, with a focus on ‘attracting local independents rather than national chains’, he said.
This could include convenience stores, cafes, gyms, a GP surgery and a nursery.
Mr Scott said he understood there were ‘concerns’ over the height of the buildings but the height differences would create an ‘interesting skyline’ and make a ‘bold statement about the ambition of the borough’.
There would be 0.3 parking spaces for every residential unit and a commercial multi-storey car park.
The development of NWQ would create 800 construction jobs a year for the next eight to 10 years, and 3,000 jobs once completed.
A hybrid planning application is due to be submitted by March 2021, with construction of phase 1 starting in March 2022.
Leader of the council, Cllr James Swindlehurst (Lab, Cippenham Green), said: “We’ve been waiting for it for so long we’re all just keen to get on with it now.
“I’m looking forward to active dialogues over the next few months to refine the scheme but we’re all impatient to get it to planning.”
Cabinet agreed to allocate a budget of £50,000 to process an options review for the culture/educational site and agreed to delegate authority to the council’s chief executive to agree a business plan for the NWQ project.
Councillors were shown early artists’ impressions of what the scheme could look like, but these images have not been released for use by the press.
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