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Author Topic: £1.6m loan success to fund first phase of Maidenhead waterways scheme  (Read 1222 times)
RBWM Press Release
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« on: August 14, 2013, 12:16:48 PM »

The first phase of the Maidenhead waterways restoration scheme looks set to go ahead in spring 2014, thanks to a successful £1.6m loan funding bid.

The interest-free loan, from the Thames Valley Berkshire Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) Growing Places Fund, is the result of an application submitted by the Royal Borough in partnership with Maidenhead Waterways (MW) to help transform the neglected town centre channels into a navigable waterway.

Developer contributions are to be used to repay the loan and top up the funding to a total value of £2.1m, allowing completion of the town centre stretch of the consented York Stream works – deepening and widening the channel between the A4/St Cloud Way and the railway line, plus landscaping and tree work.

The waterways project is a key component of the Maidenhead Area Action Plan (AAP) and the catalyst for a number of adjacent key town centre residential and commercial development sites – including the Shanly Group’s Chapel Arches redevelopment scheme given planning approval by the borough on Thursday 8 August.

Cllr MJ Saunders, cabinet member for planning and property, said he was ‘absolutely delighted’ by the success of the LEP funding bid.

He said: “The waterways scheme is a compelling and central element to the success of our rejuvenation plans for Maidenhead and this funding is just the kick start needed to get things moving.

“We are fortunate to have the waterways group, with its clear vision for the future and the enthusiasm and determination to take it forward. The borough looks forward to a continued partnership that will see the vision become a reality with all the benefits that means for Maidenhead.”

Richard Davenport, chairman of MW, said: “This funding award is a major endorsement of our plans and of the key role of the waterway in helping to attract the investment needed to rejuvenate Maidenhead town centre. 

“MW will continue to work closely with the council and AAP developers with the aim of implementing the first stage of the waterway in 2014/15, alongside the first phase of the Chapel Arches scheme, together transforming this pivotal but neglected part of town.”

Steve Lamb, chair for Thames Valley Berkshire LEP, added: “The objective of the Growing Places Fund, allocated by government to the LEP, is to unlock projects and initiatives that could help support the creation of new jobs and economic growth.

“This project put forward by the Royal Borough and its partners was an excellent match for the fund criteria to make a long-term difference to Berkshire’s economy. Supporting similar projects in town centre developments, such as Bracknell Forest and Wokingham, we are excited to see another portion of the Growing Places money going towards this strong initiative that will create employment and housing, benefiting both the local area and the wider region.”

The loan bid was submitted with the help of Our Community Enterprise, a social enterprise company that specialises in helping local organisations apply for funding to help bring forward schemes of benefit to the local community. The loan would be repaid from S106 developer contributions over 25 months from September 2015

Planning permission for the waterway project was granted by the council in December 2012 and a public consultation on ideas for the detailed design of the scheme is still in progress. Anyone with suggestions or ideas for the final design is invited to email contactus@maidenheadwaterways.org

A cabinet report on the loan will be discussed on Thursday 22 August at a meeting in the Guildhall, Windsor, at 7.30pm. It is also on the agenda for the corporate services overview and scrutiny panel meeting on Thursday 15 August in the council chamber, Town Hall, Maidenhead (7.30pm).
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