Some staff at Queen’s Windsor Great Park made redundant with one fearing they’ll be homeless

The Crown Estate, which owns Windsor Great Park, has made six of its staff redundant for “efficiency” and one of them says that they are likely to become homeless.

The members of staff from Windsor Great Park, including four foresters, will lose their jobs and one says that they will become homeless as they have not been able to find alternative accommodation which they can afford.

This member of staff, whose name has been changed as he does not wish to reveal his identity, has said that the stress of this led to their GP upping their dosage of anti-depressants. Sam was a forester at Windsor Great Park and said that these redundancies were made to save costs.

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“They decided that it was cost-effective to use contractors rather than their own staff “, said Sam, “In total, they got rid of six people, four in the forestry department and two in other departments.

“The information I was given on the reasons as to why this was happening was that Swinley Depot could be rented out for £240,000 a year. It’s now been closed near 18 months and the yard is still empty.”

Windsor Great Park says that it is currently in discussions with a prospective new tenant for Swinley Depot. Part of the reason staff were made redundant is that they wanted to move their forestry operations to Russell’s Farm. A redundancy letter describes how “commerical returns and a move to contractor usage would deliver efficiencies”.

Sam was given a year to vacate his home and find a new one and he’s worried that he’ll soon become homeless. He said: “We were told approximately this time last year that we were losing our jobs and that we could just stay in the house for a year from April 1.

“I’ve never had to sign on in my life and the Crown Estate didn’t help at all. Once we signed the settlement agreement it was kind of like, goodbye and we’ll get the keys back on April 1.”

Sam says that it has been a “nightmare” trying to get in contact with the council to find housing. He said: “My wife has just spoken to the council because we have a dog they can’t find us anywhere to live so they asked the Crown Estate if we could stay in our present house and they flatly refused.”

Sam has three weeks to find somewhere to live and he says that this has been affecting his mental health. “I’m on anti-depressants and I’ve been having talking therapy because of this”, he said, “I’ve talked to my GP and they have upped my anti-depressants. I just can’t afford to pay the rent, so I’ve got to go into social housing.”

Sam emphasised that he didn’t understand why the foresters had been made redundant as he claimed that they were making a profit.

A spokesperson for Windsor Great Park said: “As custodians of the Windsor Estate, we’re continually looking at the mix of skills we need, to preserve and enhance the historic landscape at Windsor, welcome the millions of people who visit us each year, and operate with our customers and partners as a working rural estate.

“As part of this process, we made a small number of redundancies from the estate team last year, as well as creating many new roles. Affected members of the team had the opportunity to apply for alternative roles with us, and were offered extensive support over the past year including with housing and training.”

In the financial year, 2020/2021 the Crown Estate made a net profit of £269.3 million. The Crown Estate receives its profits from land that it owns, which has a value of over £7.3 billion. Windsor Great Park is the only Royal Park managed by the Crown Estate.

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