THE major redevelopment of Maidenhead town centre has been delayed as a public inquiry is set to take place later this year.

Over a year has passed where councillors approved developer Areli Real Estate’s £500m plan to tear down the Nicholsons shopping centre and build a new complex.

This includes buildings up to 25-storeys in height, new car parking spaces, retail units, offices, flats, and retirement living apartments.

Since then, no works have yet started to regenerate the shopping centre.

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However, the council has applied for compulsory purchase order (CPO) powers, which force homeowners to sell up if their property obstructs a regeneration project, to acquire the leasehold interests for retail units at the existing shopping centre, businesses in Broadway car park, and 39-51 King Street.

Ian Brazier-Dubber, managing director of RBWM Property Company, of which the council is a shareholder, said this is to bring the whole site as one development and allow the two-year construction programme to begin.

But this will lead to a public inquiry scheduled in October where a planning inspector, who will be appointed by Secretary of State Michael Gove, will examine the CPO.

Royal Borough Observer: What the the town centre could look likeWhat the the town centre could look like

The council, developer, and interested parties will give evidence at the inquiry. If the CPO is approved and compensation is paid to the leaseholders/freeholders, construction can begin.

Mr Brazier-Dubber admitted to members sitting on the disability and inclusion forum that because of this process, the scheduled construction that was meant to happen in November has “slightly slipped” and could start from mid-summer next year.

When asked if he believed the two-year work programme can still be deliverable, he said it will be “tight” but thinks the main parts of the development will be delivered within that timescale.

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Mr Brazier-Dubber also revealed Areli will start to redevelop the car park and construct some of the residential accommodations and retail units first when given the go-ahead.

Meanwhile, Cllr David Coppinger (Con: Bray), lead member for Maidenhead, assured members they are working to retain the post office, that’s currently within the existing Nicholsons shopping centre, within the town centre.

He said: “There has to be a post office in Maidenhead. There’s no choice. It’s absolutely certain.”

The forum took place on Monday, June 20.