PLANS to build 63 Slough town centre flats have been given the go-ahead despite criticisms for providing zero affordable housing.

A majority of members on the planning committee, who convened face-to-face on Wednesday, May 26, approved plans to demolish the existing three-storey building on 190-192 High Street for two retail units and 63 flats.

Two blocks ranging from six to 10-storeys in height with a bridge connecting the buildings together on the fifth floor would replace the existing building.

The housing mix consists of 45 one-beds, 15 two-beds, and three three-beds, with five car parking spaces and a rooftop communal garden.

READ MORE: Slough Town Centre could see 63 flats built if approved

Previously, planning officers reported it was 61 apartments with a housing mix of 34 one-beds, 20 two-beds, and seven three-bedroom flats. They revealed this was made in error.

Affordable housing and a financial contribution could not be included in the scheme as it would’ve created a £3.3 million deficit, which was confirmed by an independent assessment consultant.

This is due to the costs of demolishing the building, according to planning officers.

190 High Street, Slough

190 High Street, Slough

Despite this, Lottie Hurst – who spoke on behalf of the applicant, – urged councillors to approve the plans, saying this will “kickstart” the redevelopment of the southside of the High Street, delivering much-needed housing, and the local authority would rake-in thousands from council tax and business rates.

Councillor Pavitar K. Mann (Lab: Britwell and Northborough), lead member for planning, welcomed the “good quality” design of the apartment blocks as well as the “rare” inclusion of three-bedroom flats for a town centre development.

However, she criticised the scheme for having zero affordable housing.

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Cllr Mann said: “I am extremely disappointed, particularly that the applicant didn’t explore the opportunity for potential provision of this.

“I completely understand the issues about viability [and] I completely understand how we are bound by national guidance in the NPPF [national planning policy framework] in having to give regard to that – but it doesn’t change the fact the applicant has now had two major town centre schemes with zero affordable housing contribution.”

Planning officers have said they have included a ‘review mechanism’ to see if there any changes in the development’s viability to see if a financial contribution can be made.

The scheme was approved with eight councillors for and one against.