03:30PM, Friday 01 June 2018
A property developer has lodged an appeal after being left waiting for the council to decide on a £150m planning application in Alma Road.
Developer Salmon Harvester Properties (SHP) has applied to build 217 homes at the former Imperial House site but has now lodged a complaint with the Planning Inspectorate after the deadline passed for the council to make a decision.
The plans for the site, which has been vacant for more than eight years, include a building of up to seven-storeys and another five-storey office building. It would also have a café, more than 350 car parking spaces and communal facilities.
The plans were submitted by SHP in January but, according to the Royal Borough website, a decision was expected to be made by Friday, April 13.
SHP chief executive Doug Stewart said: “We started discussions with the planning team at RBWM council in August 2017.
“Our planning application has now run well beyond the statutory determination date without a decision so, reluctantly, we had no option other than to commence an appeal process.”
SHP told the Express that if planning permission was granted it would start building straight away.
Cllr Jack Rankin (Con, Castle Without) met the Royal Windsor Residents Group, which opposes the plans, in February and vowed to represent their views.
Speaking to the Express this week, he said: “I am relaxed with the timeframe if it means a better decision is made. It is essential that the voices of residents are heard and I’m delighted that it looks that it will be recommended for refusal.”
Cllr Rankin said he was unsure why it has taken so long for a decision to be made but said it could be put down to ‘its size, significance and number of objections’.
Cllr Richard Kellaway (Con, Bisham and Cookham), who chairs the Planning and Housing Overview and Scrutiny Panel, said there were not any issues with the planning department processing applications and meeting deadlines.
He said: “We have an objective that we do meet and have an audit performance panel that makes sure we comply.
“Our target is about 80 per cent of private applications.
“This is a big application and we wouldn’t always expect it to go through quickly.”
A council spokesman confirmed the application will go before the Windsor Urban Development Management Panel on Wednesday, June 20, to consider what action they would have taken had it not been appealed. The decision by the panel will inform the council’s case at appeal.
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