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New owners of former Hovis building to continue with office plan

New owners of former Hovis building to continue with office plan

Francis Batt

New owners of former Hovis building to continue with office plan

 

Imperial House

Neighbours who lost their fight through the courts to block a new 25,000 sq m office development behind their homes have had their hopes dashed again.

The new owners of the old Imperial House site off Alma Road, Windsor plan to go-ahead with the scheme as it stands. The building was once the headquarters of Ranks Hovis McDougall.

In a surprise move Miff Chichester's company St Congar Properties has sold the site to the National Farmers Union Mutual Assurance Company, which now owns it in partnership with developers Salmon Harvester Properties.

The site's recent history has been fraught. Borough councillors turned Mr Chichester's 25,000 sq m plan down on the grounds it would overwhelm the surrounding Victorian roads.

But permission was granted on appeal by a government inspector, leading to an ultimately unsuccessful 'residents led' fight that went all the way to the Court of Appeal.

This week Alma Road resident David Eglise said: "I can only hope that whatever the new owners decide to do is more sympathetic than what was originally proposed."

But Rorie Henderson, development director for Salmon made it clear that the the company would not scale down the original plan saying: "There is little point in going back and starting again when we have a good 'state of the art' plan already in place."

Interest is understood to have already been shown by a number of large British and American corporations.

This week the Royal Borough's lead member for Windsor Cllr Dee Quick (Con, Clewer East) said: "I hope the new owners will to sit round the table with the council and discuss ways of mitigating the effect on transport and traffic in the town this development could have - although they don't have to."

She hoped any company letting the offices would consider buying land outside the town and running a 'park and ride' to get its staff to work.

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