A MAJOR development spanning a huge area and costing in the region of £50 million could become a reality if progress is not hindered by the pandemic.

Buckinghamshire Council is considering a new office space on two plots of land south of Wycombe Station, said to cover an area of 120,000 sq ft and costing between £45-£55 million.

The project, part of the Eastern Quarter Regeneration Programme (EQRP) and tied to a ‘renewal strategy’ for the town, is currently in the “early feasibility stage”, according to a council document.

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Although there are no detailed blueprints or artist impressions currently available, “design studies” have been generated according to the report, as has a “financial model” to ensure its viability.

The cost is of special importance “particularly given the current challenging economic situation,” it adds.

The scheme is part of a series by the council first endorsed by the Shadow Executive in October 2019.

At the time it determined a so-called Regeneration Strategy aimed at High Wycombe, Princes Risborough and Marlow would be adopted by the new unitary authority post-vesting day (April 1).

The strategy sets out a string of “big moves” designed to ‘double the town’s economic output’ by 2050. The new office space is one such move.

The major overhaul of the historic Brunel engine shed, which is currently underway, is another part of the plans.

The broader EQRP however hints at the potential for “a great deal of further development” around the station, valued at £880 million.

Little more is known at this stage, other than a bid for capital funding is expected in 2021.

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In addition to the pandemic’s impact on the economy, the future of the office building and other regeneration-related projects is dependent on the formulation of a High Wycombe Regeneration Board, which Cabinet members will convene to vote on next Tuesday (November 10).

“As well as the strategic perspective, there is the need for a board to provide guidance on the current and future programme of regeneration,” it says.

Adding: “Without a regular forum for stakeholder consultation there is a risk that projects do not receive proper scrutiny and therefore are not fully supported.

“This [office] project will come back to the council later in the year so that a decision can be made on whether to progress to detailed design and planning.”

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