Rights for Maidenhead businesses will be removed to speed up regeneration

Shay Bottomley

shayb@baylismedia.co.uk

Shop owners and landlords in Maidenhead town centre will have their existing rights taken away to speed delivery of the regeneration scheme, cabinet confirmed on Thursday.

At the meeting, the leader of the council, Andrew Johnson, said he had ‘great pleasure’ in presenting a report regarding appropriation of council-owned land.

The Nicholsons Quarter is a redevelopment proposal to replace the current shopping centre and Broadway car park with anew complex featuring shops, offices and 650 flats.

Appropriation is a process which allows a local authority to interfere with a number of third-party rights across the site, including rights of servicing, light and parking, providing the council holds the freehold for the land for planning purposes.

This is possible under the section 203 of Housing and Planning Act 2016, which allows the council to use appropriation to lawfully interfere with the rights of other parties.

On Thursday, Cllr Johnson (Con, Hurley and the Walthams) said that affected property owners were ‘being engaged with’, but that the number of existing rights meant that it was ‘highly unlikely’ an agreement would be reached with all parties if compulsory purchase orders (CPO) were used.

“The use of appropriation will not only increase certainty and deliverability of the scheme, but it will also enable us to continue at pace to make sure that all of the benefits are brought about in the shortest, reasonable timescale,” said Cllr Johnson.

“Of course, the use of powers of appropriation will result in those affected parties being entitled to compensation based upon the reduction of their property and loss of forementioned rights.”

Currently, the Royal Borough holds the freehold to the southern section of the Nicholson’s site, including Broadway car park, from King Street up until behind a row of shops on the north side of Queen Street.

To appropriate the rest of the site, which is currently owned by developer Denhead S.A.R.L, the council will, by April 2022, acquire the freehold for the northern section of the site via a sale-and-leaseback lasting 999 years.

Cllr Lynne Jones (OWRA, Old Windsor) said that appropriation seemed to be ‘quite a brutal measure’, and that her research prior to the meeting suggested that it was a ‘last step’ to secure the land.

In response, Barbara Richardson, managing director of RBWM Property Company, said that the CPO process dealt with the purchasing of assets, whereas appropriation removed ‘rights’ rather than physical assets.

“[Appropriation] just removes a right from the asset that they own that they have enjoyed in the past that they may not enjoy in the future.

“For instance, a right of light, if you were building something next to their asset and their daylight was affected by that construction.

“Appropriation is similar to a CPO, but it’s not actually as ‘brutal’ in law, and it will still award compensation to somebody that loses a right that they currently enjoy, it just won’t allow them to stop the process of that development going ahead by injuncting it in anyway.”

The report was approved by cabinet.

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