Slough Urban Renewal reflects on 2020 and what it has delivered for the town.

Despite a turbulent year for the country as a whole, the team at Slough Urban Renewal (SUR) has achieved some significant milestones in 2020, bringing forward a number of new projects, some of which are already benefitting both Slough and its residents.

At the onset of the pandemic in March, SUR worked closely with its supply chain, acting quickly to introduce new, Covid-safe working practices across its numerous schemes.

As a result, SUR’s construction sites remained open and development activity continued safely and in line with government guidelines. As the year draws to a close, the team looks to recognise its achievements and the many new homes and facilities it has brought to the forward.

Wexham Green: All sold
In April 2020, the last of the homes at Wexham Green, SUR’s second residential housing scheme, successfully completed.

The collection of 104 homes, situated on the fringes of Wexham and Stoke Poges, delivered much-needed family housing for the borough. It is now a thriving new community in its own right. Sixty per cent of the homes were sold to first-time buyers, while nearly half were sold to local people (with a further 36 per cent coming from West London).

Small Sites: Delivering more affordable homes for more local people
During 2020, SUR has handed over 28 homes to Slough Borough Council as part of the on-going small sites initiative.

The strategy, which transforms unused sites into much needed social housing for local residents, will have delivered over 100 homes across the borough.

Most recently, in November 2020, we saw the handover of 12 new homes, which were built on the former Ex Servicemen’s Club in Wentworth Avenue, Britwell.

The homes will now be rented out to families on the housing register. SUR also delivered a new replacement club.

Throughout 2020, consistent progress has also been made to transform the Alpha Street car park in the town centre into 14 new homes for local people.

The mixture of one and two-bedroom apartments are being built by Life Build and the development is expected to be completed early next year.

Former library site transformed
As works on the former library site have continued apace by Morgan Sindall Construction, local residents can’t fail to notice the two striking Marriott hotels and 64 apartments that have taken shape in the town centre.

The Moxy and the Residence Inn hotels will deliver vital new hospitality facilities for the town with 244 rooms, bars, food and meetings rooms. Both are nearing completion and a local recruitment drive by Cycas has started in preparation for their openings in early 2021.

Novus Apartments has just launched to the public. The collection of 64 studio, one and two-bedroom private apartments are now available to reserve off-plan.

Plans progress for multiple new schemes: Public consultations went virtual
This year, SUR has successfully completed public consultations for three major schemes, gauging local opinions and ideas for some exciting new schemes:

  • Montem Lane – plans were submitted in October to transform the former leisure centre site into a new collection of 200 new homes with both apartments and family houses. The scheme aims to meet the need for affordable, high quality homes and will deliver outside spaces for the benefit of the wider community, including improvements to the woodland area and the brook.
  • Stoke Wharf – this underused area alongside the Grand Union Canal is set to be transformed into a vibrant new neighbourhood, incorporating an array of 300 new homes, while opening up the waterways for the use and benefit of the wider community. Formal planning was submitted in October following an extensive public consultation. Working in conjunction with Waterside Places, SUR hopes to deliver over 300 new apartments and houses in addition to making improvements to the Grand Union Canal and the wider public realm.
  • North West Quadrant – plans are afoot to transform the former Thames Valley University (TVU) site into a new neighbourhood of homes, commercial, leisure, retail and high-quality public realm. Following two online community forums in September, the scheme is set to be submitted for planning soon. The new scheme proposes to deliver new local amenities, new bars and restaurants, a new public square, new office buildings and 1,400 new homes.

More community projects
The development team have been working closely with the council to continue regeneration through further investment. SUR is progressing with Morgan Sindall Construction the recladding of Nova House, an apartment block of 68 homes, which requires a full external overhaul during 2021.

In October, the team rapidly progressed the design and planning of a new community hub and 24 affordable homes at Trelawney Avenue.  A planning application was submitted in November and plans are to start works in summer 2021.

Investing in young talent: New opportunities
SUR has remained committed to adding value to the local community and it has been actively moving into the world of virtual work experience.

Through its local supply chain, SUR is contributing to the employment opportunities and education of people living in and around Slough. Only last month (November), SUR celebrated the success of a local student, who was awarded a permanent position with one of its sub-contractors.

After successfully completing a series of work placements across four of SUR’s development sites, Slough resident and former Langley College student Callum Smith was appointed as a trainee assistant site manager with one of SUR’s small sites contractors Life Build. A great result for all.

Andy Howell, general manager at Slough Urban Renewal (SUR) concluded: “There is no denying that 2020 has been a very different year for us all, with many new challenges to face.

“I am really proud that we have been able to adapt, overcome adversity and maintain momentum safely, both in construction and in the design and development of projects, which has enabled us to submit three recent planning applications.

“I am particularly impressed by our supply chain who were quick to react and rapidly introduced robust new procedures, so they could continue building, while protecting the health and safety of our workforce – something which we have received industry-wide recognition for.

“Despite the many new hurdles that we have faced, we have achieved some significant milestones this year. I’d like to take the opportunity to say a huge thank you to the wider team, who have all contributed to our successes.

“We look forward to taking some major projects forward in 2021, which will only serve to further enhance the number and quality of new homes and facilities that already exist within the town.”

Image: One of the Novus apartments.

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