COUNCILLORS have confirmed that plans to demolish the Queensmere Observatory shopping centre and build a new one are currently underway.

Speaking to the Slough Observer, Cllr Zaffar Ajaib, cabinet member for Slough Urban Renewal, confirmed that the new shopping centre was “definitely happening”.

“The Abu Dhabi Investment Authority purchased both shopping centres recently, and are currently working with us and other partners. We’re currently waiting for them to come forward with a plan – we’re hoping to pass it through the planning committee by the end of the year.”

No developers have been appointed as of yet, but a design company has been hired to begin planning the as-yet unnamed shopping centre.

“These are major investors, with a track record of delivering. They’ll have a knock-on effect on other investors, give confidence to others looking to invest.”

Previously, the leader of Slough Borough Council had suggested as much as £900 million would be invested into the shopping centre, but Cllr Ajaib floated a more conservative estimate of £650 million. However, he added; “It depends what they deliver in the plan – it could be as much as £900 million.”

Cllr Ajaib spoke of how the new shopping centre factored into the redevelopment of Slough: “We’ll be delivering 15,000 new homes, there’s new office spaces going up near the bus stop, and quality hotels on the old library site. The whole jigsaw is coming together, its very positive.”

When asked what would be done to ensure the new shopping centre contained good quality shops, Cllr Ajaib said: “We’re talking to the investors, trying to ensure a good mix. They’ll be looking at other major shopping centres nearby, trying to spot gaps in the market, as well as bringing in popular stores everybody likes.”

The new shopping centre will be a mix of commercial shops and at least 900 residential dwellings on floors above. Cllr Ajaib added: “It’s part of our overall strategy, and the Local Plan we’re putting together.”