Plans have been approved for more than 260,000 sq ft of offices and up to 125 flats close to the centre of Maidenhead.

Royal London Mutual Insurance Society’s hybrid planning application to develop Statesman House and Braywick Gate office buildings into two new office buildings and a block of flats were approved by the Royal Borough’s Maidenhead development control panel at its October 19 meeting. The vote followed the officers’ recommendation.

The application sought full planning permission to replace vacant Statesman House with an office building of 159, 295 sq ft and outline permission to replace partially-occupied Braywick Gate with an office building of 103,667 sq ft, along with up to 125 flats.

The 1.59-hectare site is in Stafferton Way, off Braywick Road on the south side of the main GWR railway line and close to the station.

Matthew Bird, senior development manager for Royal London, told the meeting: “We’ve found, since the pandemic, customers want high quality office space in which to collaborate.

“The site is not currently fit for future working patterns and nor would refurbishment address this.

“We know that future occupiers require high quality Grade A office space, which this development will provide in a sustainable location adjacent to the railway station.”

He said the residential building had been reduced in height from 16 storeys to nine and that there would be a 30 per cent proportion of affordable homes. The commercial space in the scheme would provide 1,785 jobs.

The outline element of the scheme cannot begin until 2026 because of a tenant lease and a condition was added that the reserved matters application for that must be referred back to the committee for approval.

But a number of councillors were unhappy at the design of the bigger office building (see image).

Cllr Josh Reynolds called it a ‘dull, grey building slapped in the centre of Maidenhead with no thought for heritage in Maidenhead and no thought for our town’.

Cllr Leo Walters said: “It’s so disappointing to see a building – and I don’t want to be unpleasant to the developer – but to see another building quite so uninspiring.

“I know it’s very much a commercial thing, a very good commercial thing, but it’s just so sad.”

Cllr Reynolds voted against the scheme and Cllr Walters abstained. All six other councillors voted in favour.