Strategic plans are at an advanced stage for a radical mixed-use development in Slough, a scheme that could be central to the town’s post Covid-19 revival.
Muse Developments and Slough Borough Council, along with various consultants, are finalising plans for the North West Quadrant on the site of the former Thames Valley University.
The scheme, soon to be unveiled, is said to be setting a new standard with the next generation of offices, complemented by living space, cultural and educational facilities, a leisure and restaurant offer and open air and event space, underpinned by a low carbon, bio-diverse, tree-lined, environment.
The scheme could well provide over 1,000 new homes and around 300,000 sq ft of new workspace.
Guy Parkes, partner at Vail Williams, believes the development will help make Slough an attractive option to those who want to escape London densities and rents, post-Covid-19.
He said: “Slough is very well positioned to match up to the key trends emerging in a post Covid world.
“The themes we’ve identified involve a greater emphasis on employee health and wellness, leading to decentralisation from London to the regions to benefit from more space and better accessibility for those workers who will want to go to the office occasionally to meet, collaborate and innovate, even if they work more remotely.
“Many occupiers had already been thinking about moving west out of central London to benefit from cost savings and to access a wider talent pool.
“Covid may well be the catalyst to facilitate this strategy and Slough is an ideally placed location to step out, being only 14 minutes back into the capital by train.
“Having experimented with remote working, occupiers are saying that going forward between 20 and 40 per cent of their staff could well be agile working in the medium to long term, but these employers will still want their office bases to be close to their talent pool to ensure brand loyalty and interaction.
“Cost continues to be the number one driver and with occupancy costs of around £17,000 per person in Central London, compared with £6,000 per person in Slough, it will be very compelling to move out – but it’s not just that. Cost avoidance is achievable by occupying more energy efficient, new buildings in the town.
“Slough is preparing for the future and building a vibrant community. This is the next step.”
Image shows the site from the Future Works building.
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