THE MULTI-MILLIONAIRE owner of the Queensmere and Observatory shopping centres is pressing forward with plans to link the two buildings.

Property magnate, Asif Aziz, is planning a huge expansion of the two adjacent centres, which he bought for £200m in January 2007.

The £10m plan to build a walkway between the two buildings would form part of wider proposals to build new retail units and a hotel.

However, Queensmere Observatory director, Paul Clifford, denied reports that a walkway through the now-defunct Woolworths store was imminent.

Mr Aziz's head of development Mike Hughes visited the centre on Monday. The plans would increase the capacity of the centre from 595,000 sq ft to 650,000 sq ft.

Mr Clifford said the centre, which holds 45 per cent of all Slough's shops, was uniquely placed to survive the recession: "Despite current economic conditions we are not cutting down on plans to refurbish the store.

"We are not taking the same hits as other developments. We are financially strong because our money is raised by one owner and our cash flow is more fluent." Despite the closure of a number of shops, property development firm Criterion Capital, is pressing forward with proposals to refurbish a section of the centre close to Superdrug and Claire's Accessories.

Shops in the north corner of the centre will be knocked through and mezzanine floors added to create larger units, while displaced shops will be moved to an extension in Wellington Street.

Online reports said details of the £5m hotel proposal would also be confirmed once the developer concludes talks with Accor, Premier Inn and Travelodge.

Once completed, Mr Aziz, who also owns the London Trocadero and East India Dock, will start work to create a link between the two stores.

Mr Clifford added: "The linking plan brings its own set of challenges.

"We have to decide where to punch the hole and we can only do that once the refurbishment and expansion is completed."