Love it or loathe it, we have to admit Slough has begun to look a little on the tired side.
It doesn’t help of course that the rest of Berkshire already seems to look down their noses on the town.
However, Slough seems to be on the very of a radical transformation – some of which has already started.
With the additions of The Curve – an exciting new theatre venue and library, and a new ice skating centre (take note Reading!), things are already changing around the town.
And there’s more on the way. A spectacular regeneration of Slough town centre has been proposed, with Slough Borough Council saying around £3 billion will be pumped into new housing schemes.
BerkshireLive has taken a look at the plan to see what people in the town can expect over the next few years.
The Queensmere Shopping Centre site
The main part of the development will be in place of the Queensmere Shopping Centre site.
The council says developer British Land is likely to carry out a public consultation into its plans in the early part of 2020.
Then, in the spring of 2021, a planning application for the sites in Slough town centre will be submitted.
The scale of the proposed plan is incredible. The council says it could include between one and two million square feet of office space, as well as 500,000 sq ft of retail and food and drink units.
It will also contain between 1,000 and 1,200 new apartments.
A new food hall/market could also be introduced in the former home of Debenhams.
Once the plans are approved, it’s likely a massive operation will start. It will probably see the Queensmere Shopping Centre removed first, and the developer working west to east to carry out the work.
Huge housing developments
As well as the British Land led project, people in Slough can expect to see a 1,300-home development on land at the former Horlicks Factory in Stoke Poges Lane.
The council will also look to work on its plan for the former site of Thames Valley University. The site closed in 2009, but has been bought by the council.
The long term plan is for as many as 1,400 new homes, which the council says will generate £550 million in income.
No plans have been submitted yet, but the authority hopes they will be submitted in early 2020.
The old Library site in High Street will also see a major redevelopment, featuring 64 new homes, 4,000 sq ft of restaurant and retail space.
It will also have two new Marriot Hotels, one of which is Thunderbird-themed, in a nod to the classic showed filmed in Slough in the 1960s.
It’s hoped the development will be finished in late 2020/early 2021.
Slough’s former BHS store is also set to be converted into homes.
Pannotti is also set to submit plans for a mixed-use development at the former home of Akzo Nobel in Wexham Road. Around 35,000 square metres of commercial space and 1,000 new homes are likely to be in the plan.
An ‘incubation hub’
According to papers discussed by the council’s cabinet committee in November, the council is looking to introduce an “incubation hub” into the former Marks & Spencer store in High Street.
The idea is that the building would be used to support start-up businesses in the digital and creative sector.
Proposed partners include Heathrow Airport Limited, Royal Holloway University, Brunel University and an operator secured through a procurement exercise.
The council hopes this might even start in mid-to-late 2020.
The council is working with Royal Holloway University on the possibility of a partnership that offers Higher Education provision in the borough.
Data suggest more needs to be done to improve the skills of people in Slough to take advantage of the jobs that are likely to be created.
Ideas include a “Study Skills Centre” or a campus in the town cenre.
A business case is set for July 2020 and it is possible any new facility could be alongside the proposed “incubation hub.”
A Social Enterprise Quarter
The authority is also working with British Land to introduce a Social Enterprise Quarter.
This would be based around providing units around the town based on the individual business and its needs.
The idea is introduce more non-retail services and enterprises into the town centre and fill empty units in the town.
BerkshireLive looked at the situation with empty units in the town last year.
Are there any proposed changes to transport?
Yes, but it doesn’t look like there will be too much done to improve life for private vehicles. The focus is on public transport.
The council has come up with the following ideas.
- Provide a public transport network with the capacity to enable a higher scale of development, and which maximises the benefits of Crossrail and Western Rail Access to Heathrow.
- Make walking and cycling to and from the centre of Slough an attractive option.
- Reduce the dominance of the car, improving air quality and road safety.
- Create a safe, healthy and vibrant urban space which encourages people to live, work and relax locally.
- Make public transport the dominant mode of travel to and from the centre of Slough
More bus lanes are likely to be introduced during the next 10 years.
The council’s Transport Vision is also proposing reducing the amount of spaces in its car parks from 5,000 to around 4,000.
Despite the reduction, the council is looking to build two new car parks in the town centre.
More details on the authority’s plans for transport in the future are likely to be presented later this month.
What is planned to be completed by 2030?
- The completion of the North West Quadrants
- Up to 9,000 new homes
- New transport infrastructure
- New Leisure and Cultural offerings
- 3,000 new jobs
- £3 billion in investments
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