A FORMER council building that is to be converted into flats just got bigger as councillors approve extension plans.

Developer Kings Oak Capital was given the go-ahead to add an additional two-storeys to Landmark Place in the High Street in order to create a fourth and fifth floor to hold 22 one-beds and 23 two-bedroom apartments.

However, this is subject to the developer finalising its legal and financial agreements with Slough Borough Council, which includes £235,000 to go towards affordable housing, education, Upton Park improvements, and a car club.

The former office block already has multiple planning permissions to be converted into 98 flats, which have not been implemented as of yet, but the permissions have not expired.

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Landmark Place once housed the council’s call centre before its closure in March 2020.

The site already has 52 basement car parking spaces, which will be allocated to the development. An additional 126 spaces are allocated to the other 98 flats. 45-cycle bays are also proposed for this application.

A disagreement broke out between the developer’s viability assessor and the council’s own consultant if affordable housing could be provided onsite and if infrastructure improvements could be carried out.

The developer’s assessor said the site was ‘unviable’ to do this as they claim it would create a £2.6m deficit. However, the council’s consultant said the developer would still make a £600,000 profit.

Slough Observer: What the courtyard could look likeWhat the courtyard could look like (Image: Kings Oak Capital)

The appraisal was then recalculated to show the scheme would make a £200,000 deficit.

Speaking on behalf of the applicant, Amir Aramfar acknowledged the committee wanted to see on-site affordable housing but stressed they could not do so because of viability issues. However, they are putting forward £125,623 to provide off-site affordable housing.

But Cllr Haqeeq Dar (Lab: Wexham Lea) said the developer is offering less than the required financial contribution as calculated by the council and questioned how this is justified. For example, the council requires a £130,910 contribution to education but the developer has offered about half of that.

Planning officers say this is the best the developer can offer due to the viability issues.

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Meanwhile, deputy council leader Pavitar Kaur Mann (Lab: Britwell & Northborough), lead member for planning, described the extension as “intrusive,” adding: “On what is shown, it doesn’t look that inclusive with the local environment.”

But planning officers believe it does reflect the existing character of the building and there’s a condition for more information on the materials used, such as the colour, texture, and quality.

Councillors sitting on the planning committee approved the scheme on Tuesday, January 24.