PLANS for a ‘Grade A’ office block to be constructed in St Cloud Way, Maidenhead, was given the green light, subject to a legal agreement.

Members of the Royal Borough Development Management approved plans on November 18 (Wednesday) to demolish the existing office building, where the new site will include a café and a communal roof space.

A ‘Grade A’ office building is the highest quality of office space, with state of the art features a business can have where it usually costs more to purchase or has higher rents.

The site – which is located on the north eastern side of the St Cloud Way roundabout – will have seven floors and around 4,844sqm of office floor space.

The scheme also provides a ‘low level’ of 21 car parking spaces, four of which will have electric vehicles charging points.

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Royal Borough Observer:

Following previous refusals, the developers ‘significantly’ reduced it by three storeys and has set the office block further back from Cookham Road to address its harmful impact on the nearby medical centre, the Wilderness – which is a Grade II listed building.

However, the office block will still be larger in scale than the existing building with a maximum height of around 30 metres.

Planning officers still think it will cause harm to the are and listed building – but said the public benefits ‘outweigh’ this concern.

The developers and some councillors believed the scheme will provide ‘much-needed’ employment of approximately 350 jobs, contributing to Maidenhead’s economy.

Voting against the proposal, Cllr Joshua Reynolds (Liberal Democrat: Furze Platt) admitted the plans have been improved – but he disapproved the designs of the building and the harm it would cause to the Wilderness.

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He said: “My first impression is that somebody just dropped an alien spaceship next to the roundabout.

“It’s like someone just dumped a big building there. It’s a big rectangular building that someone just dumped.”

He added: “I would love to support this, and I can see lots of advantages that this may come with – but this is a really massive building just shoved in the middle of a roundabout.”

But Cllr Geoff Hill (The Borough First: Oldfield) said he ‘diametrically opposed’ to what Cllr Reynolds said and commended the developers for still going ahead with office space development during the pandemic.

He said: “It’s not the prettiest of buildings, I’ll give Cllr Reynolds that – but it is certainly the sort of building that one would want to see built now and in the future and I believe it will make a very significant contribution to Maidenhead businesses.”

Cllr Hill moved a motion for approval – which was seconded by councillor David Hilton (Con: Ascot and Sunninghill).

Seven members were for and two were against.

The plans are now subject to discussions with the council’s legal team and the developers to secure travel plans and a car park management plan.