Press Release Archive:

Old Cinema Site – Maidenhead Deserves Better (February 2008)

A landmark site at the entrance to the High Street deserves something better than an overlarge office block.

That was the reaction of the Civic Society to plans submitted for the long-awaited redevelopment of the old “eyesore” cinema site on the corner of High Street and Bridge Avenue.

Members of the Society’s Planning Group met on Monday 7 January to review the detailed planning application.

While the design was striking, they said, it did not deliver was what required on such an important site for the town.  Retail or leisure use, like cafés or restaurants, on the ground floor would be much more appropriate to the location.

“We welcome proposals for the redevelopment of this site which occupies a key focal point of the High Street and needs regeneration. However, the provision of an office block is totally at variance with what the Civic Society would like to see.”

“There is a serious need to bring some animation to this end of the High Street where it crosses the York Stream,” the group said.  “Our preference would have been for a mixed use development with residential units above.  There have to be reasons for people to want to frequent the area which should be a busy section of the High Street and an office block is not the answer.”

By creating an attractive entrance to the Greenway beside the York Stream, the design went part way to acknowledging the plans to revitalise the stream as a waterway but it didn’t go far enough.

“There is the potential here to create a really attractive oasis, a focal point in the town centre and to make the connection through the regeneration of the waterway that Maidenhead is a riverside town,” said the Society.

On the Bridge Avenue side, the Group said the proposed building was so close to the pavement it virtually trod on pedestrians’ toes. Bridge Avenue was one of the widest roads in the town centre which lent itself to becoming a tree-lined boulevard.