Cabinet will be asked to agree demolition of Maidenhead’s closed Broadway car park, to remove the safety risks posed by the failed structure, while reducing the potential for anti-social behaviour and town centre blight.
Since closing the multi-storey car park for safety reasons in December 2022, the Royal Borough has worked with contractors and specialists to fully assess the structure, and consider options and associated costs for next steps.
The resultant report by council officers, to be considered by Cabinet on Thursday 27 July, highlights the 1960s concrete structure is now beyond its economic life and in significant structural failure, due to water ingress eroding the reinforced steel.
The recommendation from officers is to secure a contractor to demolish the car park, thereby making the site safe, removing the public safety risks posed by the failed structure and limiting anti-social behaviour opportunities and town centre blight.
Broadway car park is within the wider footprint of the proposed Nicholsons Quarter redevelopment, which would involve the council re-providing a new multi-storey car park in this area. The report says demolition of the old car park would remove the uncertainty about its use and provide a decisive response to what will follow it.
If demolition is approved by Cabinet, levelling and clearance is estimated to take around a year, starting this autumn, supported by traffic management arrangements to minimise impact on the town centre during works. While this might seem a while, this time is needed for such a major project to safely demolish a large multi-storey building in a busy, built-up area.
The council will also be looking at options to create a temporary car park once it has been demolished.
Data in the report highlights that motorists have adapted their parking habits since December. Grove Road and Hines Meadow car parks have absorbed a significant amount of the short-stay and long-stay parking demand, with spaces being available for shoppers in Hines Meadow even at weekends
For the time being, ShopMobility can continue to operate from its temporary location within Nicholsons Shopping Centre, while the council liaises with People 2 Places and other stakeholders over plans to relocate to a more suitable alternative location.
Councillor Geoff Hill, Cabinet member for highways and transport, said: “Firstly, I would like to thank everyone for their ongoing patience during the technical assessments of Broadway and for continuing to play their part for Maidenhead town centre by shopping locally and supporting traders.
“Progressing to demolition is a matter for Cabinet to discuss and decide next week. As the relevant Cabinet member, I will be asking Cabinet members to follow the officer recommendation, in order to remove the public safety risks and uncertainty around this council asset, while reducing the potential for anti-social behaviour and further town centre blight.
“As the report highlights, Broadway is sadly a failed structure, beyond economic repair, and poses a public safety risk. This is not a situation anyone would’ve wanted, but public safety must always be our top priority.
“If we proceed to demolition, work will take place as swiftly as practically possible, supported by traffic management, to minimise disruption on the town centre, and I’d like to thank everyone in advance for their patience.
“Car parking is important to support the economic vitality of our town centres, and the council is considering a new strategic review of town centre parking across the borough to ensure we have the right car parking offer.”