On 30th July, the Slough Observer confirmed that the Thames Valley area currently has an eye watering 11 million square feet of empty offices languishing vacant and unwanted, much of which is in Slough. Given that a standard three bedroom semi detached house is around 1200 square feet, this is a huge amount of empty property. The uncertain economy, company mergers, moves abroad and changing work practices will lead to even more empty offices.
Matters will be made even worse by the fact that Slough council has given planning consent for a further 1.3 million square feet of offices on Slough Trading Estate, despite the fact that it ought to remain an industrial area.
Readers may be interested to know that this all bodes very badly for the 430,000 square feet of smart new offices that were supposed to be built on the site of Brunel Bus Station.
Once Slough's new bus station (opposite the station) is finished, the demolition of Brunel Bus Station will be completed. Sadly, I predict that the Brunel site will be a pile of rubble for years to come. The reason for this is that the Labour government introduced a tax on empty property making it uneconomic to construct new buildings (unless there is a tenant ready to move in) or to leave the existing bus station in situ after its use has ceased. Even the developer, Development Securities, has admitted publicly that it will not be building anything here for the foreseeable future.
To leave this prominent site languishing empty will damage the town but sadly there is little hope of anything being built.
This fiasco has been mismanaged by the Labour run council, and in particular by Labour's deputy fat cat, Cllr. James Swindlehurst, who has recently enjoyed a belt bursting increase in his allowances. He is clearly not worth the money paid to him by hard pressed council tax payers in this increasingly ghettoised town.