Go-ahead for 1,300-home scheme on former Horlicks factory site

Plans have been approved for a 1,300-home development on the site of a former Horlicks factory in Berkshire, after planners advised that the scheme would deliver "major" environmental, social and economic benefits despite a non-policy compliant level of affordable housing.

A visualisation of part of the finished scheme in Slough (pic: Berkeley Homes)
A visualisation of part of the finished scheme in Slough (pic: Berkeley Homes)

Housebuilder Berkeley Homes is behind the plans for the redevelopment of the 4.95-hectares former Horlicks malted drink factory site at Stoke Poges Lane in Slough.

The firm sought full planning permission from Slough Borough Council for the part-demolition of the existing factory to facilitate the erection of five new buildings ranging from one storey to 10 storeys. These would provide 554 homes, 239 square metres of commercial floorspace and a nursery.

Outline permission was also sought for the remaining 746 homes, commercial space and ancillary facilities, car and cycle parking, public realm, landscaping and amenity space and associated works.

According to a planning report, the scheme would include a 25 per cent level of affordable housing (a total of 325 homes), but local planning policy seeks an affordable housing rate of 40 per cent for such sites. 

However, it advised that the council has "acknowledged that site constraints surrounding development of brownfield land can frequently lead to a discussion on whether a policy-compliant level of affordable housing can be provided on the site".

The report said the council "accepted that the current proposals could not viably support any additional housing (based on today’s market conditions) whilst sustaining a reasonable profit margin [for Berkeley Homes]".

The report also advised that, as the council cannot demonstrate five-year housing land supply, the development "would make a significant positive contribution to the housing supply in the borough to which significant positive weight is afforded".

Elsewhere, planners noted "less than substantial harm to the setting of the listed buildings". However, they concluded that this would be "at the lower end of the scale and would be significantly outweighed by the public benefits of the proposed development".

These benefits included the provision of houses, the provision of new nursery and commercial facilities, and the provision of jobs.

Recommending approval, the report concluded that the proposal "has the potential to deliver major wider environmental, community/social gains or economic benefits which could assist in the regeneration of the town centre and wider area".

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