Application 18/01576 - The Landing Development at King Street / Queen Street / Broadway

Comments on Application 18/01576 - The Landing Development at King Street / Queen Street / Broadway

Full planning application for the demolition of all existing buildings on site, the construction of three residential buildings providing 375 units, one office building to provide 7,007 sq mtrs of floor space and 2196 sq mtrs of flexible retail, office, community and leisure space across four buildings.  Outline planning application for construction of two buildings to provide 1,650 sq mtrs of flexible retail, office, community and leisure floor space and 6,000 sq mtrs office space and 15,300 sq mtrs of residential floor space 

Although these applications are for the whole redevelopment scheme, there is some confusion caused by the combination of a hybrid application, a full application and an outline application. Some important elements - such as building height are being carried forward from a previous successful outline applications. 14 storeys of permitted office development has been translated to 19 storeys of residential development following the change in emphasis from office development to residential. A further 80 residential units are included in the outline application which are added to the 375 units within the full planning application.

The following bullet points highlight our concerns and obligations :

  • The overall height, bulk and mass of the scheme is excessive for a town of Maidenhead's size. The outline planning permission previously granted reflects the Boroughs failure to establish a building height policy. To the best of our knowledge there are no buildings of comparable height in our county town of Reading.
  • Although excessive in height, the visual enormity of the main residential block has been improved by being broken up into separate blocks with space and daylight in between.
  • The raised garden amenity areas between the main residential blocks with parking underneath is a positive feature.
  • Whilst we support the change in balance from offices to residential, this will generate a greater demand for residential parking. The proposed parking ratio per dwelling is inadequate. More spaces than 175 are required for 450 dwellings.
  • The existing Borough guidelines for parking space provision for residential development in proximity to the railway station are inadequate. This scheme does not even achieve this unsatisfactory ratio.
  • In addition to parking requirements for residential occupants, there is the need for drop off spaces with ease of access for the wider public wishing to use the restaurant / bar / leisure units within the scheme. With King Street pedestrianised, drop off and taxi spaces are required in Broadway and/or Queen St. These are not provided.
  • It is assumed that the proposed office accommodation will be dependent on the increased parking capacity generated by the extension and refurbishment of Nicholsons Car Park.
  • There is a significant shortfall in the provision of affordable housing. Only 16.7% of the 450 dwellings are designated "affordable". There is no reason why a scheme of this magnitude should not deliver the target of 30%.
  • We continue to be disappointed at the lack of permeability caused by the decision to remove a pedestrian link through the scheme to connect with Nicholson's Centre. Pedestrians to and from the railway station will have to use King Street or Queen St, with a consequent loss of footfall in the central leisure orientated area of the scheme.
  • We are pleased to see soft landscaping being proposed for the central garden square rather than hard stone surfaces. Nevertheless, responsibility for the long term maintenance of this area should be established at the outset. A poorly maintained or neglected square would be detrimental. The choice of plant / tree species will need to reflect limited sunlight etc.
  • Although the number of residential units across Maidenhead town centre are expected to exceed 2000, there is a risk that there will be an oversupply of bars, restaurants coffee shops etc. Such units also feature prominently in the Chapel Arches development and the York Stream / York Road development. These are all in addition to existing outlets.
  • Some architectural design / features reflect local history and heritage and this is a positive feature which is appreciated.
  • The illustrative east/west section which is included in the Design and Access Statement clearly demonstrates the excessive height and bulk of this development. Berkshire House appears modest, and of course the heights of the YROA blocks of 7 or 8 storeys become acceptable.

 In summary we believe this is an overlarge development of excessive height and mass which is out of character with the town. In addition it has fundamental flaws with the under-provision of parking and affordable homes. Finally, we are very unhappy that the decision has been made to remove the central pedestrian link through to Nicholsons Centre, which was a positive feature for Maidenhead. We may have to accept it, but we don't like it.