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Slough cabinet approves land sale for thousands of new homes

James Bagley. Local Democracy Reporter

Slough cabinet approves land sale for thousands of new homes

More social and affordable housing could be built at the former AkzoNobel factory site as Slough councillors approve plans to purchase part of the land.

Last November, Slough Borough Council (SBC) announced they were in discussions with international real estate company Panattoni about purchasing the residential part on the southside of the site.

The developers will still maintain the north of the former AkzoNobel factory site for commercial uses.

The residential part of the site will have up to 1,000 homes – but it was heard at Monday’s (January 18) cabinet meeting that SBC may 'skew' that number in favour of 850 homes with a mixed development and more affordable, social, and family housing.

The council will be looking at adding 50 per cent or more affordable housing at the site than Panattoni’s original 25 per cent offer when their outline planning application was approved last August.

At the meeting, lead members unanimously agreed to purchase the major piece of land and allow officers to go off and conclude the acquisition of it with the developers.

Councillors were told not only will this bring millions of pounds into the economy and create thousands of jobs, but SBC will also see £1.7 million in council tax revenue and £5.4 million in new homes bonus payments.

SBC will buy the multi-million-pound land by borrowing at a low-interest rate and using funds from this year’s capital budget – which is separate from the council’s revenue budget, used for funding council services.

The cost of the land is currently commercially confidential.

While not against the proposal in principle, councillor Dexter Smith (Con, Colnbrook with Poyle) expressed his 'disappointment' that there were no talks on increasing the number of family properties on the site – which he believes the borough needs a lot more of.

He said: “Seventy five per cent of the market in Slough that is year in year out not satisfied by what is coming forward with development is for properties that are three-bedroom and above.

“All we ever get, and all this scheme will deliver us in the vast majority is going to be one and two-bed.”

The leader of SBC, councillor James Swindlehurst (Labour: Cippenheam Green) responded: “The reasons there’s several options with only 850 units in them is precisely because we may look to skew the balance in favour for a lot more family housing and it’s partly about the nature how the town centre grows in height as to what’s appropriate in terms of a mix in apartments and suburban dwellings – but we’re certainly looking at a mixed development.”

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