MAJOR works to add new homes, shops, and a data centre at the Langley Business Centre have been given the green light by councillors.

Members of the planning committee approved plans on Wednesday (September 9) for parts of the 6.5-hectare site on Station Road to be demolished and redeveloped to make way for new houses and commercial buildings.

The layout of the scheme is split into two sections known as plot A and plot B.

Royal Borough Observer:

Plot A will be facing Station Road with an access road where up to 60 homes are proposed – which the applicant said would be 100 per cent affordable houses – with retail, pubs, takeaways, and an energy centre which the centre could accommodate with 800 sqm of floor space on the northern part of plot A.

Plot B would dominate the site as the enormous data centre will be placed there which could take up to 93,000 sqm gross of floor space with offices, a sub-station, and up to 150 car parking spaces – one space per employee at the centre.

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On the northern part of plot B, a 10m wide strip of land will be included to improve the existing pedestrian path that links Langley Railway Station and Station Road with Mead Avenue.

The planning consultant for the application, Robin Meakins, said the proposed energy centre could help Slough Borough Council in becoming a ‘pioneering UK council’ with the district heating system technology the centre will provide to address climate change.

On the data centre, he said: “[It] will provide significant contributions to the council through business rates and will reinforce Slough as the preeminent European centre for the data economy with the benefits that come with this.”

Councillor Ted Plenty (Labour: Langley St. Mary’s) thought the scheme was ‘a good idea’ – but had reserved concerns that four or five-storey buildings facing Station Road was too high.

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A resident on Station Road wrote in objecting to the plans on the grounds most of site’s open spaces and 296 trees will be lost, inadequate parking, drainage and flooding issues, the development will be out of character of the area, increase of traffic and air pollution, increase in noise levels, and the noise from the nearby train station will bring noise disturbance to future occupiers.

Mr Meakins said the objector’s comments has ‘no technical basis’ and added results from a consultation showed 69 per cent of residents involved supported the plans.

He added traffic will be reduced due to the site no longer being a business centre, trees lost will be replaced, and the data centre has been pulled back by 30 metres from the boundaries to make room for new landscaping and biodiversity, including bee-friendly flowers.

Royal Borough Observer:

Councillor Dexter Smith (Conservative: Colnbrook with Poyle) raised concerns over car parking as the final scheme doesn’t mention how many spaces will be available for the residential homes.

He said: “I would very disappointed if the scheme was to only deliver 0.5 per properties.”

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The highways officer said the parking provisions ratio for residential dwellings is between 0.5 to one parking space per house – but it is something finalised at a later stage depending on the actual mix of units that come forward in the plans.

The officer added they want to be sure not to ‘overprovide’ car parking spaces as they want to encourage other modes of transport as the site is within walking distance to Langley Railway Station.

Members unanimously agreed to approve plans – with one councillor not voting due to poor connection.