Councillors refuse planning permission for high rise apartment complex in Alma Road

The future of a proposed high-rise apartment complex in Windsor will be decided by the Planning Inspectorate after councillors refused an application for planning permission.

Residents turned out in force on Wednesday (Jun20) to voice their objections against plans to build 217 flats and a five-storey office on the former Imperial House site in Alma Road.

The start of the meeting had to be delayed, with some people being turned away from Windsor Guildhall due to the venue reaching its capacity.

After finally getting underway, Arousse Simmance, speaking on behalf of the town’s objectors, urged members of the Windsor Urban Development Management Panel to refuse the ‘terrifying’ application.

She said: “You should refuse this because of the sheer terrifying scale.

“Six massive brown block buildings, some six and seven stories high, unprecedented in Windsor.”

She also described the 361 car parking spaces proposed at the site as ‘wholly inadequate’ and accused the developer of ‘dodging’ affordable housing.

Gary Stevens, speaking on behalf of developer Salmon Harvester Properties, told the panel that the plans for a new office block were not viable without the inclusion of build-to-rent flats.

He said: “The site has not been in functioning employment use for more than a decade.

“It has been extensively marketed and has not proved feasible to secure any tenant or financing to allow the previously approved office scheme to be brought forward.”

Cllr Jack Rankin (Con, Castle Without) said the council had to say no to developers who shirked their obligations to providing affordable housing.

He told the panel: “There are no family homes here and disgracefully, no affordable homes.”

The developer submitted its appeal to the Planning Inspectorate before the meeting after the council failed to make a decision on the plans before its target date of April 13.

Mr Stevens told the panel that the appeal would be withdrawn and the application resubmitted if councillors granted planning permission.

But the panel refused and voted against the proposals to cheers and applause from the audience.

Their decision will now inform the council’s case at appeal.

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