10:37AM, Thursday 22 July 2021
A CGI of the Star House refurbishment in Maidenhead town centre
Plans to refurbish Star House in Maidenhead town centre were given unanimous backing from councillors at a meeting last night (Wednesday).
Members of the Royal Borough council's planning panel met, in-person, at Maidenhead Town Hall to discuss plans for the building in Grenfell Road.
A planning application from Legal and General to redevelop the 'outdated' site was submitted in May, after telecommunications service Three UK decided to leave the building following the end of its lease in the town in March.
The mobile giant confirmed to the Advertiser today that it has officially left the town centre site.
The proposals had no issue getting through the planning panel yesterday with all voting councillors deciding to back planning officers' recommendations to approve the plans.
The planning report states that the refurbishment 'will result in significant improvements in the architecture and immediate surroundings of the office building', and 'enhance the quality of a key gateway into Maidenhead'.
Plans involve extending the building to add 1,457sqm of floorspace, removing the existing vehicle turning circle and repositioning the approach lane, and installing rooftop terraces.
There will be a new cafe at ground level, while car parking spaces will be reduced from 199 spots to 176 (18 electric and nine for wheelchair users), and there will also be 153 cycle spaces.
Above: the existing Star House building, which Three UK vacated in March
Vehicular access to the site will continue from Keys Place via the undercroft route running beneath the Odeon cinema and the David Lloyd gym complex.
In addition, planning officers advised that the plans will not harm the significance of the nearby, grade II listed Clock Tower.
Environmentally, the development is hoped to achieve a '39 per cent reduction in carbon emissions' through the implementation of 'low and zero carbon technologies'.
At the meeting, ward councillor Donna Stimson (Con, St Mary's), who is lead member for climate change, said that she was 'really excited about this application', adding that she was impressed with steps taken to make the building environmentally friendly.
Lib Dem councillors John Baldwin (Belmont) and Amy Tisi (Clewer East) were also in favour of the plans, with the former putting forward a motion to approve them, which was seconded by Cllr Tisi.
"I think this is a really good example of re-using an existing building," Cllr Tisi said. "I am hoping that this will inspire other developers to do the same."
Simon Wilkes, head of development at Legal & General, said: "We’re delighted to have received unanimous planning approval for Star House - it’s truly testament to the quality and ambition of our proposals.
"We remain committed to delivering optimum working environments for our occupiers through long-term and proactive investment in our assets.
"Set to become one of the greenest buildings in the Thames Valley, it’s also estimated that £111million in social value will be generated over the development lifecycle – bringing significant social and economic benefits to the wider community.
"Situated within the heart of Maidenhead, this design-led redevelopment will help to drive health, satisfaction and wellbeing, as well as accelerate Legal & General's wider efforts concerning sustainability - this will future-proof the asset for years to come.”
Upon completion, the office building would be available to rent for businesses, and would not be occupied by Legal & General.
What do you think of the plans? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.