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Planning consultants given 'blank page' to plan potential Windsor riverside development

A ‘blank page’ has been given to a specialist planning consultancy to draw up ideas for the potential redevelopment of Windsor’s historic riverside area.

The ‘Windsor Riverside Improvement Opportunity’ could see the town’s coach park redesigned, hotels built and additional parking introduced on land surrounding Alexandra Gardens. The council has appointed consultants GL Hearn to look into the project, with a report expected to be completed by the end of February.

Rob Large, property service lead at the Royal Borough, told members of the Windsor Town Forum on Wednesday: “The thing I want to emphasise is the instructions to GL Hearn and their team are very much to start with a blank page.

“We as a council haven’t said we think it would be a good idea to do X, Y and Z. They are going to come up with the problems and the issues and they’re also going to come up with the solutions and the opportunities.”

He added the consultants could look into whether to turn the coach park into a drop-off zone as well as developing both retail and residential opportunities in the area.

The council is hoping it will have two or three well-researched options to consider by the spring. The forum heard GL Hearn has drawn up a list of groups and companies to consult, including the Windsor Link Railway project which aims to regenerate the riverside area with its own £200m railway project.

Roz Rivaz, chairwoman of the Eton Community Association, said it was important neighbourhood plan groups from across Windsor and Eton were consulted directly. She said: “Eton and Eton Wick really ought to be involved very early on because at the moment we look across to a particular vista and that could change.”

Anne Taylor, a member of the Windsor and Eton Society, said Alexandra Gardens is considered an asset of community value which means the land is subject to additional protection from development.

Mr Large added: “This is a very sensitive and very high profile area but the whole point of this is it is a professional cold-blooded exercise.”

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