The overall vision for the MNP is to develop Maidenhead into a vibrant and successful 21st-century town - embracing growth through sustainable development, maintaining Maidenhead’s best attributes, preserving its character buildings and streets, its greenery and open spaces - while at the same addressing existing shortcomings. The current broad range and mix of properties will be maintained, as the overall size of the town increases, avoiding ‘skewing’ the mix significantly one way or another – whether towards more and more flats, or the other alternative of focussing growth solely on larger properties.
A deliberate focus on adding more high-quality housing in the town centre will help sustain and grow Maidenhead’s retail businesses and encourage a sense of community, with greater pride of ownership. The evening businesses, their customers and a growing number of residents living in the town centre will add a sense of security after the offices and shops close at night and at weekends. A diverse and lively night time economy including food and drink uses, the arts and other cultural activities will be encouraged.
Community, cultural activities and family events in the High Street, on the water, or in the new public open spaces will be encouraged, as will public art throughout the town centre and in the new waterside areas.
The vision requires realistic (not idealistic) parking provision - for all new developments in the MNP area, to avoid aggravating existing on-road parking problems. The success of the new retail offerings in the town centre depend on this and there will also be a need to accommodate the increased commuter parking demand expected once Crossrail launches services from Maidenhead.
Public transport - in, out and around the town - is often impractical, being limited in direction, frequency and by slow journey times compared with the use of a private car. Car ownership is a fact of life in Maidenhead and is unlikely to change in the foreseeable future, this needs to be accommodated in the plan.
Building heights are a sensitive issue for Maidenhead residents, both in the town centre and particularly in the suburban areas, where most housing is currently 2 or 3 storeys high. Maidenhead is still a relatively small town, of walking dimensions and surrounded by countryside. Some intensification is unavoidable, particularly in the town centre, but very high density developments of the type seen in large cities will be resisted.
Whilst taller buildings in the town centre are generally acceptable, this is only the case if they are of high quality, incorporate good design (e.g. set back at higher floors) and are not overbearing in relation to the scale of neighbouring buildings and the landscape. Providing adequate public open space for all new residential developments will be important, either within each new development or through improved access to alternative offsite areas. Back garden grabbing or flatting of whole streets will be resisted, to avoid successive developments gradually changing the character of residential areas.
As Maidenhead grows, the transport infrastructure will be upgraded with improved road junctions, pedestrian crossings and new alternative routes to get into, around and out of the town centre.