Plan for a thousand new homes in Slough town centre approved by the council

Plans to build 1,000 homes at a town centre factory were approved by councillors last night, despite many concerns being raised.

Slough Borough Council’s Planning committee gave outline planning permission for the development of housing and commercial buildings at the former Akzo Nobel Decorative Paints site on Wexham Road, Slough.

This means a basic outline of the development has been approved in principle, but the details of the plans will be voted on by councillors at later planning meetings.

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The plan – from international real estate company Panattoni – includes the demolition of existing buildings, decontamination of the northern part of the site, 1,000 homes, shops, new public open spaces, warehouses and data centres.

The flats will be a mix of:

  • 338 one-beds
  • 377 two-beds
  • 243 three-beds
  • 42 four-beds

‘A shame’, ‘Not adequate’, ‘Chock-a-block’: Plan comes in for criticism

Councillor Dexter Smith was the only member to vote against the plan, with Cllrs Gahir and Minhas abstaining and the other four members voting in favour.

But, despite the plans being approved, councillors criticised many elements of the development at the meeting last night (Wednesday, August 26).

The homes will be built on the southern part of the site, 25 per cent of which will be affordable, with factories built on the north side by the canal.

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This has drawn criticism from councillors, with several suggesting it should be the other way around.

Councillor Sabia Akram called it “a shame” to have the warehouse units on the canal side, while councillor Harjinder Minhas called it “an easy way out”.

But council officers said that due to the northern site being “quite heavily contaminated”, it would have cost around £6 million to make this land usable for homes, making the development unviable.

Despite the high costs, councillors Ted Plenty and Dexter Smith continued advocating for housing to be moved to the canal.

While councillor Wayne Strutton criticised the amount of commercial buildings planned overall, such as data centres and warehouse units, suggesting more of the site should become housing.

Officers, who backed the proposal in their report, explained the council has to strike a balance between its current Local Plan and the developing blueprint for the town’s planning decisions.

Councillors also criticised the lack of open space for so many new residents, with the nearest park 1.4km away.

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Cllr Minhas said: “I don’t feel the open space is adequate, especially given the times we are in.”

Officer Christian Moore admitted the amount of public open space is below national standards but said there is some good quality space.

Cllr Minhas also raised concern the highest building, which could be eight storeys, would be “overbearing”.

Concerns were also raised over increased traffic, with councillor Harjinder Gahir saying the plans would add a minimum of 400 extra vehicles a day or three vehicles per minute on Wexham Road, an “already chock-a-block area”.

Taking a more supportive view, councillor Pavitar Mann said “any residential development is an addition what the site is now”.

She added that she understands of the contamination difficulties and highlighted the “significant positive economic benefit” of the plans.

Slough Observer | News