A “HELL of a lot” of investment and business activity is happening in Maidenhead town centre post-lockdown despite offices still working remotely.

Maidenhead town manager Steph James gave councillors an update on the town forum on Monday, September 6, on the centre’s activity now that businesses and venues have fully opened up.

In her statement, Ms James said the town has 53 empty units, which is an increase of 18 units compared to September 19.

However, she said a majority of these closed businesses are either to be redeveloped into housing with retail on the ground floor or are a part of the major regeneration of the Nicholson’s shopping centre.

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While some stores will remain empty for some time, it was heard new businesses have set up shop such as Les Marrons in the Nicholson shopping centre, Filling Good, Seasonality, as well as lounges and a new gym in Chapel Arches.

The Landing scheme, which is to build 424 homes, a new office building, car parking, retail, and new public space, is to begin “imminently” and the council is still waiting to hear progress on the redevelopment of the Nicholson shopping centre.

Steph James said: “There is a hell of a lot of investment coming into Maidenhead and I appreciate that there is a lot that needs improving at the moment but the positive is we have that investment coming in and a lot of other areas in the UK don’t have that investment coming in.”

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While restrictions have eased across the country, footfall in the town centre is on the up but is nearly 30 per cent down compared with pre-pandemic levels

The town manager said office workers are still working remotely and could see the return to the town centre from this month where companies will want their staff to return back into the office.

According to the report, weekday footfall was “heavily reliant” on lunchtime office workers which will account for the decline in footfall.

This has also had a knock-on effect on car parking where despite being on the increase, car parking is still “significantly down” compared with pre-pandemic levels.