Imperial House demolition to start 'within weeks'

Imperial House demolition to start 'within weeks'

Francis Batt

Imperial House demolition to start 'within weeks'
Imperial House
Work will start within weeks demolishing a key building that has been at the centre of a hard fought court battle.

Neighbours living near the old Rank Hovis McDougall headquarters in Alma Road, Windsor failed in the Court of Appeal to block plans to knock it down and put a new 25,000 sq m office block on the site.

Permission for the development was granted on appeal by a government inspector, against the wishes of local planning councillors who also feared it would overwhelm the surrounding Victorian streets.

Now the site has been bought from the original applicant by Salmon Harvester Properties Limited. The company says work will start stripping the old Imperial House on December 2 with full demolition beginning on January 2 - to be finished by the end of April.

The company intends to go ahead with the full office plan.

Development Director Rorie Henderson  said: “We hope that will be an asset to the town for many years to come. The scheme will be well landscaped providing new public spaces and a café or restaurant.”

The development will be known as the Windsor Business Quarter and will provide up to 275,000 sq ft of office space across four buildings.

The scheme includes plans for 495 car parking spaces, which will be available to the public at weekends and a café/restaurant at ground floor level.

But David Eglise, one of the residents who fought through the courts against the office plan, hopes the company might be forced into a rethink if it finds it cannot 'prelet' the offices in advance.

He said: "Offices built in Slough 'on spec' are still empty after one or two years. We had an amicable meeting with the developers on Friday and they seemed quite open minded and pragmatic. What we would like to see on the site is a housing development."

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