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Key Slough civic figures outline town's economic strengths

By Stephen Emerson
26 May 2022

Slough's civic and business leaders have laid out the town's economic strengths in a bid to bolster its reputation.

A number of Slough’s major stakeholders, responsible for re-developing key areas across the borough - driving and sustaining its strong economic growth, have outlined Slough's current assets and future potential.

Slough's unemployment levels are below 1% - third of the national average - and it is home to the largest concentration of global corporate headquarters outside London with tech giants Amazon, Mars UK, and O2 are all located on the Slough Trading Estate. 

Alexa Peters, head of Reading & Thames Valley, residential development sales at Savills, said: “The appeal of Slough’s Crossrail location and easy access to Heathrow, alongside the opportunity for quality space and lifestyle, is already drawing buyers out of London. Over the last 10 years, house prices have grown by 66% - outperforming the of the county average by nearly ten per cent. Based on current market performance we forecast that property in the South-East has the potential to achieve c.10.4% price growth in the next five years.”

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Slough has been predicted by the Financial Times magazine ‘fDi European Cities and Regions of the Future 2020/21’ to become ‘Europe’s top small city of the future’ – facilitated by strong transport links, including Crossrail, whist enjoying a prime location, between the M4 and M40 and in easy reach of the M25 and Heathrow Airport.

Economic development

Nancy Lalor, Slough Chamber President said: “Slough is home to a growing ecosystem of world-class technology companies and data centres, contributing to a vibrant and productive local economy.   Its excellent transport links, close proximity and excellent connectivity to London have made it an attractive destination for UK and foreign-owned businesses to invest.

“Through my work as Slough Chamber President, I continue to encourage world-class design, architecture and planning in the redevelopment of Slough’s town centre in addition to targeting efforts on key sectors where the town has evidential strengths, including technology, logistics and creative industries. The challenge to maintain sustainable growth of the talent pool available to companies and to keep home-grown talent in the town is paramount to its ongoing success and we aim to preserve our active partnerships with significant local and regional networks to ensure the future economic success of Slough.”

Slough Trading Estate

Slough Trading Estate is the biggest business park in Europe and is responsible for the employment of over 20,000 people across 500 companies.

James Craddock, managing director, Thames Valley at SEGRO, said: “The Slough Trading Estate is a thriving and vibrant business community for our customers. With historically low levels of vacancy, it continues to be a hugely popular choice for businesses to be based and a long-term home for a diverse range of sectors. We are pleased to see strong demand for modern, sustainable warehousing and industrial space that is well-located in the Thames Valley.

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“In February, plans were approved for SEGRO to develop the first multi-storey industrial development on the Slough Trading Estate. Known as SEGRO V-Park Leigh Road, the iconic, seven-storey building will provide industrial workspace for a range of businesses, including small enterprises and start-ups, whilst ensuring that the Trading Estate remains the long-term home for a diverse range of businesses and sectors.

“The development will become a hub for small and start-up businesses to thrive, encompassing small units in a range of configurations. SEGRO is also planning to help customers by establishing a series of business support events that will provide advice on matters such as finance, recruitment, innovation and legislation, to support the needs of their customers and to help grow their businesses.”

Future Works

The Future Works represents a £200 million investment in Slough by AshbyCapital and U+I and will create a total of 360,000 sq ft of new office accommodation when fully complete. A new café and restaurant, Lucy’s Kitchen, recently opened on the ground floor of the first completed building, No. 2 The Future Works.

The Future Works development in Slough

Peter Ferrari, chief executive of AshbyCapital, said: “Slough already has the highest concentration of global headquarters outside London and multiple titles for being a great place to live and work. With Crossrail officially opening this month and a number of other major regeneration projects underway, the future is bright for Slough.

 “And with more businesses and employees appreciating the benefits of a first-rate office environment for business performance, employee well-being and attracting talent, we are continuing to progress the future phases of our The Future Works campus, which now have planning consent and which will breathe new life into the heart of this increasingly vibrant town.

“To keep The Future Works at the forefront of the evolving demands of occupiers, we recently opened Lucy’s Kitchen on the ground floor of No.2 The Future Works. The café’s biophilic-led design flows into the reception area, providing a calming and inviting arrival experience for our occupiers and visitors. With interest growing in high-quality, well-connected workspaces outside of major city centres, we are experiencing strong interest in the remaining space in No. 2 The Future Works, while No. 1 and No. 3 The Future Works, as best-in-class examples of innovative, future-proofed office buildings that facilitate collaboration and prioritise the health and wellbeing of their occupants, will be ideally placed to capitalise on this demand.” 

High Street

In October 2021, British Land submitted their major planning application for the regeneration of the High Street including the complete replacement of the Queensmere covered shopping centre with a new residential, commercial, shopping and hospitality proposition.

Commenting on the application at the time, British Land development director Russell O’Hare said: “We are delighted to announce the submission of our proposals for the redevelopment of the Queensmere Shopping Centre.

“Having spent several months consulting with the local community and Slough Borough Council, we are confident that our exciting proposals will bring much-needed investment and activity to Slough town centre.”

Residential development

Slough is also seeing a host of residential development including the regeneration of the Horlicks Factory site and the creation of the Horlicks Quarter which will create 1,300 new and refurbished apartments and townhouses.

The Horlicks Quarter in Slough

Ben Ivey, sales and marketing director, Berkeley (Oxford & Chilterns) comments: “We are thrilled to be playing a key role in the regeneration of such a vibrant town. Our new scheme, Horlicks Quarter is being created on the iconic Horlicks factory site will create a range of amenities for both residents and the local community. In spite of Covid, our build programme for the development remains on track to create 576 homes in Phase 1.

"We were delighted to welcome our first residents into Darjeeling House ( in the Horlicks Quarter) last month such that 35 apartments are now occupied. Our landscaping team have also been busy finishing the central ‘Aquifer Gardens’ which we will formally open next month. Anyone coming down to the site will be impressed by the progress we’ve made. Our vision for the scheme is really beginning to take shape.”

Novus Apartments is the latest collection of homes to be delivered by Slough Urban Renewal (the strategic joint venture between Slough Borough Council and national urban regenerator, Muse Developments).

Andy Howell, General Manager of Slough Urban Renewal (SUR) said: “Home to some major employers, with strong transport connections, a huge regeneration underway and some impressive new leisure facilities already in place, Slough is an attractive proposition for first time buyers. We are now over 50% sold at Novus – with first time buyers making up a significant proportion of our purchasers here. Last month, we were the first development in the town (second in the whole Thames Valley) to launch the Government’s First Homes scheme, offering homes at 30% of market value. The response has been phenomenal, with nearly 80% of our allocation already reserved!”

Chris Scott for Muse Developments added: “Our partnership with the council has been in place for many years and has control over a number of key commercial sites within the borough, including North-West Quadrant – the former Thames Valley University site. We are continuing to develop our proposals for this major transformational scheme in the heart of Slough. It’s a fantastic town rich in history with even more potential and we are committed to enabling place-changing regeneration for the benefit of the community to drive generational job creation and economic development."

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