A shopping centre awaiting redevelopment has been frozen in time since January when a section of the site was closed.

It was announced in 2017 that ADIA (Abu Dhabi Investment Agency) had plans to redevelop the Queensmere Shopping Centre before moving on to the neighbouring Observatory Shopping Centre.

Cllr Zaffar Ajaib said at the time: “These are major investors, with a track record of delivering."

Planning permission was granted in October 2022 and the redevelopment was propelled along, with shops being moved out of the western side of the centre and relocated into other units.

Known as 'Slough Central' the two shopping centres are to be demolished to build over a thousand new homes, along with shops, offices, and public open space.

Original plans showed how the 1970s shopping centre would be transformed with a 14-year phased redevelopment into the "civic heart" of Slough.

Slough Observer:

January 2023 saw the western side boarded off with white sheets and a main entrance closed in preparation for the first stage of demolition earmarked for late 2023.

However, this is how the shopping centre has remained for nearly 12 months.

Slough Observer:

Shops have revealed how they have struggled, with confusion in the first few months leading customers to believe the entirety of Queensmere was closed - having a knock-on effect on the connecting Observatory site.

Tameena Zaman, assistant manager at Shoe City previously said: "A lot of people have thought the whole shopping centre has closed down even though they have made announcements that it is a part closure."

Shops have come and gone from the centre since the closure including the likes of Iceland who moved to the High Street, with Footlocker following suit.

In November Footlocker said: "Our existing Slough store will be closing in anticipation of the upcoming closure of Queensmere Shopping Centre.

“However, we will be opening a brand-new store on the High Street and look forward to welcoming our customers in early 2024.”

Slough Observer:

Now customers of the shopping centre will notice dozens of shuttered shops, despite British Land relocating and retaining businesses with a goal of "improving vibrancy" in the centre. 

They have claimed there is still "active interest from potential occupiers".

Issues seemed to have arisen with Slough Borough Council revealing in August that: “ADIA are reviewing how to deliver the scheme for which they have, in principle, planning permission in light of the current economic situation.

“The council is in ongoing dialogue with ADIA and is pressing them to bring the scheme forward as proposed or to set out an alternative approach.

“The redevelopment of Slough High Street is a key priority for the council and we will use all available means at our disposal to achieve this.”

British Land, acting on behalf of ADIA confirmed they were in discussions, but refused to provide an update on the current situation and whether work has begun on demolition since the western side was cordoned off.

In the most recent statement by British Land, it has been revealed that the development continued to face "challenges".

A spokesperson for British Land said: "The current economic climate is creating challenges for many town centre regeneration projects across the UK.

"We continue to actively work with the local authority to review the development and will provide a further update when one is available."

With everything still up in the air, the centres have been seen to be falling into disrepair, with damp patches and glass panels broken or missing.

One incident caught on camera in September showed how a piece of ceiling fell down close to customers in the Observatory Shopping Centre outside Cortados.

A spokesperson on behalf of The Observatory Shopping Centre and Savills confirmed the area had been cordoned off while glaziers fixed the roof panel.

The area has since been reopened, with a patch seen on the Observatory's domed glass ceiling.

More recently, December saw the announcement that Choice Discount store had expanded into Queensmere, now boasting greater space to sell its homeware, sofas, and adult clothing.

Going into the new year uncertainty remains around the centre and anyone visiting will notice posters around the shopping centre directing customers to visit the Slough Central webpage, which documents the plans but does not seem to have been updated since before Christmas 2022 as it warns visitors of the "upcoming" January closure to the western side of the shopping centre - now out of date.