Appeal to redevelop a Slough shopping parade blocked

A MAJOR blow has been dealt to plans to redevelop a Cippenham shopping parade into new homes and stores.

Developers Mirenpass Ltd had its scheme blocked at appeal for a second time due to the size of the development, the limited offer of affordable housing, and not proposing a suitable housing mix for Slough.

In December 2020, councillors rejected its revised scheme to build a four-storey block with 84 flats, including nine three-beds, 19 two-beds, and 56 one-beds, and retail on the ground floor at 17-31 Elmshott Lane.

It also included basement car parking with 100 spaces – but only 26 of those would have been for the homeowners.

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But councillors were primarily concerned that this would overdevelop the site and would harm Cippenham’s character. They also didn’t like the non-policy compliant 20 per cent on-site affordable housing offer and much of the proposal is for one-bedrooms, rather than family housing.

Following the developer’s previous failed attempt in 2018 to redevelop the parade into 119 flats, they said they have reduced the height of the building by one-storey.

They accused the council of ‘failing to work proactively’ with them to address concerns. They also said the refusal for lack of affordable housing was ‘pre-emptive and ‘inappropriate’ as this could have been secured via a legal agreement.

The developer lodged an appeal last year in a bid to overturn the council’s decision.

But planning inspector Rachael Pipkin agreed with the council that the building will be ‘visually dominant and overbearing’ within the Elmshott Lane street scene. However, she disagreed the basement car park would impact the character of the area as it is hidden away from view.

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As the scheme is proposing more than 70 homes, it needs to offer 35 per cent affordable homes. While 20 per cent on-site affordable homes and 10 per cent off-site affordable homes are proposed, the inspector found the scheme not policy compliant.

She also found the 56 one-bedroom offer is ‘disproportionate’ and would make a ‘limited contribution’ to the family housing need.

In her summing up, Ms Pipkin acknowledged the scheme had its merits, such as sprucing up the appearance of the local area and the economic benefits.

She wrote: “I agree that the scheme would renew the shopping parade in providing modern premises and facilities within the neighbouring shopping centre and secure the ongoing provision of day-to-day services for the local community. There is evidence of local support for this.”

Slough Observer | News