OVER a thousand people have signed a petition objecting to plans to build hundreds of new flats on the former Magnet leisure centre site.

In February, developer Countryside put forward plans to demolish the old centre in Maidenhead in favour of five apartment blocks consisting of 439 flats – which could be decided by the Royal Borough’s planning panel in May.

Ahead of the plans, Sajid Khan, secretary of the Maidenhead Mosque which is located next to the development site in Holmanleaze, created a petition urging the council to refuse the scheme.

The petition has garnered 1,076 signatures so far and needs to reach over 1,500 if it’s to be heard at full council.

Speaking to the Local Democracy Reporting Service, Mr Khan said the proposed apartment blocks will ‘overshadow’ the Mosque, residential homes, and other community buildings, leaving him fearing the locals will lose their natural light and privacy.

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He said: “From my perspective, it’s all about generating maximum revenue and deal with the aftermath afterwards.

“That’s what I’m seeing from the ground and I think as a resident of Maidenhead and somebody who has been talking to the council for many years, it was about time that something was done.

“Elections are coming up in a couple of years as well. We need to get the right message across to the politicians that you must be sympathetic and sensitive to residents and don’t remove what you got already.”

Maidenhead Mosque in Holmanleaze

Maidenhead Mosque in Holmanleaze

The leader of the council, councillor Andrew Johnson (Con: Hurley & Walthams) ‘appreciated’ Mr Khan’s concerns as well as concerns around more flats being built within the town – but the council feels Countryside’s proposal ‘strikes an appropriate balance’ of delivering 130 affordable homes and a scheme that ‘makes commercial sense’ to deliver.

He said: “There’s always a balance to be struck between regeneration schemes that meet the demand for new homes, particularly new homes for first-time buyers – which is something we’re looking to deliver with the 35 per cent affordable in St Clouds Way.

“We also got to make sure we do indeed respect existing communities, including residential, and with this development, particularly the Maidenhead Mosque and other community facilities.”

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Mr Khan also feared the loss of the Magnet’s car park as well as the proposed removal of the footbridge to Hines Meadow car park – which he called ‘bonkers’ – could result in traffic mayhem with users of the community facilities and future occupiers clashing at peak times.

Proposed layout of the development

Proposed layout of the development

Cllr Johnson said he was ‘very happy’ to talk with the Mosque in terms of parking arrangements and improving connectivity to the town.

The petition can be viewed here: https://petitions.rbwm.gov.uk/MagetPlanObjctin/