Windsor on Ice granted planning permission until 2025

Shay Bottomley

Windsor on Ice is set to remain in the town until 2025 after councillors approved planning permission for the festive funfair on Wednesday evening.

However, concerns were raised over the environmental impact of the event in Alexandra Gardens by residents and a ward councillor.

At the meeting at York House, elected representatives were asked to grant planning permission to allow the event to return every November for the next three years.

Amendments had been made to the original application, including the addition of two new rides on the site.

Windsor on Ice had been brought to the panel after a call-in by Conservative ward councillor John Bowden.

Cllr Bowden raised a number of concerns including light pollution, a lack of parking and said the ‘environmental and biodiversity’ aspects ‘had not been addressed properly’ in the recently amended plans.

“For many, many years, the residents have complained – from outside Windsor, or further out of Windsor and the external areas – of the land being a muddy mess at the end.

“There must be some condition [regarding] restoration of the land.”

On the benefits to the local economy, Cllr Bowden said: “No, I don’t think there is [when] weighed against the extra services that the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead has got to provide for this.

“Also, there appears to be no consultation of the Eton side, The Brocas, that will view this heavily-lit temporary premises from the Eton area.”

Cllr Wisdom da Costa (WWRA, Clewer and Dedworth West) also raised concerns regarding its compliance with the Borough Local Plan.

“The Planning Balance is about weighing up positive against negative but, we have no economic assessment, so we have no way of assessing the positives.

“We have no ecological and environmental assessments so we have no mitigation measures proposed, so we have no way of assessing the negatives.

“We can’t prove whether this actually complies, in my view, with the Borough Local Plan, so how can we make a decision?”

Cllr da Costa requested that the application returned at a later date with the mitigations and assessments included.

However, the majority of councillors were generally supportive of the proposal.

Cllr Neil Knowles (OWRA, Old Windsor), who proposed to permit the application in line with officers’ recommendation, said: “It serves a purpose which is to draw visitors into the town, and also to retain them in the town when they’ve looked at other attractions to stay and enjoy.”

Cllr David Cannon (Con, Datchet, Horton & Wraysbury) said he thought the application was ‘good’, and that the ‘advice from our professionals is that a lot of the policies which we are referring to do not apply to temporary structures’.

“Our job here is to decide on an application on policy, not personal whim, and I can see nothing in policy that would cause grounds for us not to approve this,” he added.

After being put to a vote, councillors voted for approval with Cllrs da Costa and Bowden voting against and abstaining respectively.

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