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How Maidenhead is being transformed

PUBLISHED: 16:18 14 August 2017 | UPDATED: 16:18 14 August 2017

The Boy with the Boat sculpture by Lydia Karpinska at the junction of High Street and King Street will have even more significance when The Maidenhead Waterways Restoration project is complete © Maureen McLean

The Boy with the Boat sculpture by Lydia Karpinska at the junction of High Street and King Street will have even more significance when The Maidenhead Waterways Restoration project is complete © Maureen McLean

© Maureen McLean. All Rights Reserved

The town beside the Thames is being transformed prior to The Elizabeth Line opening, but it’s not the only story here

By now, surely there can’t be a soul unaware that Crossrail is emerging from its chrysalis to become the rail line that will swiftly wing its way from Reading and on across London to the east, fully operational by 2019. After all it’s been a noisy old affair as the rail workers do all the necessary banging and pile driving, often at night with huge vehicles finding their way through residential streets.

So much of the talk has been about rising house prices – and we’ll be looking at that in our property section – and the redevelopment of Maidenhead town centre with a mix of commercial opportunities and new homes. Indeed, Chapel Arches, a Shanly Homes project in Maidenhead, was recently recognised at the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) Awards 2017 South-east.

Chapel Arches is transforming over three acres at the heart of the town. There will be 242 new homes alongside shops, restaurants and offices, and it was recently announced that Coppa Club (presently with restaurants in London and Sonning) will operate there.

Meanwhile, Shanley Homes will be working on the Waterside Plaza from this autumn. And it’s some particular watersides that we turn to now because, down on the ground, those who know Maidenhead well are noticing a change close to many hearts.

The Maidenhead Waterways Restoration overseen by civil engineers Greenford Ltd is still in progress but the ‘before and after’ photographs reveal just how areas which had been neglected are changing significantly.

The restoration of the Maidenhead waterways is the result of a scheme 10 years in the making by local charity Maidenhead Waterways Restoration Group, and is being implemented by the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead as part of the Royal Borough’s Area Action Plan (AAP). The AAP is widespread and covers a range of aspects including delivering attractive streets and places, new shops, homes and business and leisure opportunities.

Work on this project will continue throughout 2017, followed by installation of a weir that will fully lift the surface water level to fill the newly enlarged channels. The final result will be an accessible waterway for everyone to enjoy, whether for boating, walking, cycling along the banks, right in the centre of town.

The channels were once lakes and rivers but fell into disuse. In the 1960s they were enlarged to be flood defence systems but the opening of the Jubilee River saw them neglected and often forgotten other than by those who envisaged a new ‘watery life’ for Maidenhead. Now, at last, their campaign is paying off and you can find out more about the Maidenhead Waterways Restoration Project at maidenheadwaterways.org and greenford.ltd.uk.

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