Magnet Leisure Centre could be torn down and replaced with 500 homes as part of Borough Local Plan

Maidenhead's Magnet Leisure Centre could be torn down and replaced with 500 homes as part of Borough Local Plan

Simon Meechan

The Magnet Leisure Centre could be torn down and replaced with up to 500 homes to help fill the Royal Borough’s housing need.

The Holmanleaze facility is one of 12 sites which town planners have shortlisted for inclusion in the Borough Local Plan’s second consultation.

The local plan is the Royal Borough’s blueprint for how to create the 12,100 extra homes it will need by 2029.

A report set to be discussed by councillors on the Planning and Housing Overview and Scrutiny Panel tonight reveals 12 locations across the borough where up to 1,638 homes could be built.

It recommends that the borough consults residents on including the sites in the Borough Local Plan.

It says 500 homes could be built on the Magnet site, with 440 on land around the sewage works in Stafferton Way, and 100 in Summerleaze Road.

Sites in Water Oakley and Windsor are also set to be put forward for consultation.

The same report recommends that councillors consider removing Braywick Park from the greenbelt, ‘to facilitate the improvement and expansion of leisure and recreational facilities’.

The Royal Borough's lead member for planning, Cllr Derek Wilson, confirmed that Braywick Park has been earmarked for a leisure centre to replace the Magnet, should it be knocked down.

He said: "With the Magnet, the building has a certain lifespan. I think it's fair to say that, because of population growth in Maidenhead, it's almost become apparent that we are going to have to replace the Magnet at some point with a much bigger facility."

"I've always thought Braywick Park is ideal, because you've got a lot of sporting facilities in the park already. It would make sense for the Magnet to be located in Braywick Park."

A new leisure centre would be managed by the same company who currently run the borough’s sports facilities.

Maidenhead Golf Club could also be removed from the greenbelt to free it up for ‘longer term development needs’, but will not be included in the next Borough Local Plan

The 12 sites are all on previously developed land, except a plot to the south of Hermitage Parade in Ascot High Street. That plot has been recommended for development in the Ascot, Sunninghill and Sunningdale Neighbourhood Plan.

Last year the council consulted on building homes in 23 greenbelt sites across the borough in its first consultation. Of these, only the sites to the south of Stafferton Way and south of Ascot High Street remain options.

The report says around 7,700 homes can be built in other urban parts of the borough, and suggests that allowing taller buildings to be built in Maidenhead town centre could be a solution to create even more.

It says: “Through the regeneration activities linked to Maidenhead town centre, officers believe there is increased scope to deliver a greater amount of residential development than currently accounted for.

“In order to provide a framework to agree any increased capacity, officers propose to commission a tall buildings strategy to consider where greater flexibility in building heights could be considered beyond that envisaged by the Maidenhead Town Centre Area Action plan.”

The Royal Borough says it is set to consult residents in June 2015.

Sites the Royal Borough officers have identified for potential development.

  • Land at St Clouds Way, Maidenhead: 500 homes
  • Land at Grove Business Park, Waltham Road, White Waltham: 79 homes
  • Summerleaze, Summerleaze Road, Maidenhead: 100 homes
  • Land south of Stafferton Way, Maidenhead: 440 homes
  • Land at Water Oakley Farm,  Windsor Road, Water Oakley: 28 homes
  • Bray Studios, Down Place, Water Oakley: 16 homes
  • Squires Garden Centre, Maidenhead Road, Windsor: 40 homes
  • Wyvale Garden Centre, Dedworth Road, Windsor: 35 homes
  • Ascot Railway Station Car Park, Station Hill, Ascot: 35 homes
  • Land at Heatherwood Hospital, London Road, Ascot: 200 homes
  • Shorts Recycling Centre, St Georges Lane, Ascot: 65 homes

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