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Nightclub gets go-ahead for judicial review after council grants planning permission for regeneration scheme Published Date: 09/05/2023

A Maidenhead nightclub has won permission to judicially review a decision by the Royal Borough of Windsor & Maidenhead to give planning permission for a regeneration scheme that would include its site.

Local Government Lawyer reported that the permission to seek a JR followed a planning inspector’s decision last October to reject the council’s attempt to compulsorily purchase Smokey’s club and other nearby sites.

Planning inspector John Felgate found against compulsory purchase because brothers Lee and Dean Page, who run the club and inherited its lease from their father, “both also have their own family responsibilities.

“Neither brother, by their own account, has any working experience in any other industry. Both are concerned for their futures, and those of their dependants, if the club is unable to continue.”

Mr Felgate said little attempt had been made by the council to find alternative premises for Smokeys and “I have little doubt that the effects on them and their families would be not only financial, but also mental and emotional.

“In all likelihood, the overall impact would be severe. This reinforces my conclusion that the loss of Smokeys Nightclub is an outcome to be avoided if other options are available.”

Mr Felgate found Smokeys had “an importance to the town which exceeds its apparent size as measured merely in terms of floorspace, turnover or financial value.

“The loss of Smokeys, if that were to occur, would have a  significant adverse impact extending beyond the direct effects on the business itself and its owners, including on customers, staff and performers. As such, the business is one which is worthy of some effort to retain or relocate within the locality if possible.”

The council wants to redevelop an area that comprises the Nicholsons Shopping Centre, an indoor mall built mainly in the 1970s.

A council spokesperson said: “The Nicholsons redevelopment is a crucial part of the ongoing regeneration of Maidenhead’s town centre, a crucial opportunity to secure major investment that would bring significant benefits for the social, economic and environmental wellbeing of our town and wider borough.

“The council is party to two legal matters around the redevelopment, related to the planning and CPO processes. We await confirmation of when these matters will be considered by the High Court.”