08:02AM, Wednesday 08 January 2014
Greenbelt campaigners have cautiously welcomed the decision by Secretary of State Eric Pickles to uphold a ban on plans for a five-pitch caravan site in Old Windsor.
The controversial plan by landowner Fred Sines to put the caravans on land next to Newtonside Orchard in Burfield Road stirred up controversy in the village before it was turned down by the Royal Borough.
Mr Sines had already withdrawn an earlier plan to put a travellers' site on the land.
He appealed against the refusal and a public inquiry held at Windsor Racecourse in April attracted such a large turnout the hearing had to be extended beyond the allocated three days, necessitating an extra day in May.
Appeals inspector Clive Kirkbride found in Mr Sines' favour, deciding that the new five-caravan site should be allowed with certain conditions.
But last month it was announced Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government Mr Pickles has overturned the inspector's decision.
He has ruled the proposed travellers' site would not be acceptable on greenbelt land.
An enforcement notice issued earlier by the Royal Borough against Mr Sines requiring him to move existing caravans, mobile homes and tents on an area of the site was upheld both by the inspector and Mr Pickles.
Chairman of Old Windsor Parish Council Jane Dawson described Mr Pickles' decision on the five caravans as a 'good day for the greenbelt'.
But this week she warned campaigners should remain vigilant.
"We don't know whether Mr Sines will go for a judicial review. He would have to find some legal grounds to do this," she said.
More than 50 street parties are set to take place this weekend across the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead and the surrounding areas.
An independent report into a Conservative councillor has found a breach of the Royal Borough’s code of conduct in a document seen by the Advertiser.