Windsor figures raise ‘serious concerns’ over major schemes

SIXTEEN Windsor councillors and community groups have signed an open letter to the council’s managing director over ‘serious concerns’ of redevelopments in the area.

The Independents, Liberal Democrats, community groups, town and parish councillors have demanded answers from the Royal Borough’s managing director, Duncan Sharkey, after Windsor plans were revealed at a Maidenhead town forum ‘without their knowledge’.

At the Maidenhead forum on March 31, Barbara Richardson, managing director of the council’s property company, revealed details of redeveloping the Alexandra Gardens coach and car park along with Baths Island in Windsor.

The coach and car park could be replaced by a ‘mixed use’ development while no further updates were given about Bath Island at the meeting.

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Since this announcement, Windsor councillors and community groups were ‘astounded’ major regeneration schemes were revealed in a Maidenhead focused forum, saying it wasn’t an appropriate place to reveal such schemes.

In the open letter, they say they were ‘surprised’ to see development plans for Bath Island as it goes against the council’s policies of protecting open space and is not earmarked for redevelopment in the borough local plan.

They wrote: “The Alexandra Gardens and environs are of historic significance, this is not just the physical space but also the historic views that Windsor is known for, and residents treasure.

“Any development that has an impact on the views from the west and across the river, particularly those vistas that include Windsor Castle, Eton and Eton College, The Goswells and Alexandra Gardens itself should be disallowed.

“Given the above please could you justify why Baths Island should not be removed from any further plans for council development. We urge you to consult with residents before taking any further steps to engage with potential development partners regarding the Alexandra Gardens area.”

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It is understood the letter was not released immediately due to the announcement of the death of Prince Philip.

A council spokesman said: “We are surprised that there has been concern over the ideas for the improvement of the car park and coach park in Windsor as this has been in the public domain previously including low level stakeholder consultation in 2018.

“This piece of work was postponed last year due to COVID-19.

“The update at the meeting on March 31 was a general update and included comment that this work had been paused.

“The council is looking at what development might support economic growth and deliver affordable housing need and be to the general benefit of Windsor.

“We are sensitive to the historic fabric and landscape of the town and before any decisions are made our partners will be consulting widely on what is needed locally.”

Royal Borough Observer | Windsor