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Developers of Thames Valley University site say office space still viable post COVID

Developers of Thames Valley University site say office space still viable post COVID

Developers of a multi-million pound scheme to regenerate the former Thames Valley University site have said they believe office space will still be viable in a post COVID world.

The scheme, called North West Quadrant (NWQ), includes proposals for 1,300 homes and leisure, retail and office spaces across 12 buildings in the heart of Slough town centre.

The £600million plans for the site are being brought forward by Muse Developments in partnership with Slough Borough Council and Morgan Sindall Investments.

During a virtual webinar, which took place on Tuesday, residents were given the chance to ask questions about the proposals.

When asked if office space was still viable due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Chris Scott, development director at Muse said: “Yes, we are 100 per cent convinced offices will still be viable, they will just be different to how they were before.

“There is definitely a change in work place practices we have seen over the last six months for obvious reasons. I think those changes have really speeded up the process that was happening, it’s a question that impacts not just our offices but how does the impact resonate with so many of us working from home.

“We need to make sure homes are better designed to make sure people are not stuck working on their kitchen table or sitting on a sofa with a laptop.”

He said proposals would have to consider ventilation of buildings and broadband infrastructure.

The scheme is set to 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’.

The developers were also asked about time-frames of the project, which is set to take nine years to complete. A planning application is due to be submitted next year.

During the webinar, attendees were given a series of polls to complete and shown the results of previous consultations.

A previous consultation found residents care the most about the size of homes and car parking.

Speaking to the Express about how the webinars went, Chris Scott added: “It’s great to have had the opportunity to meet some of the local community over the two webinars we had, to find out more about what they’d like to see on the former TVU site.

“We’re delighted with the ideas and feedback, which will help us shape our plans as we design an emerging masterplan in the coming months, before a larger consultation exercise in the new year. It’s clear that people care about the site and want to see it brought back into use, and we’ll do everything we can to make it something truly special to benefit the Slough community.”

Visit www.northwestquadrant.commonplace.is/ to view the plans.

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