04:58AM, Tuesday 07 February 2012
A new office building is vital if Windsor is to avoid becoming a dormitory town.
That was the message from a leading businessman as he addressed councillors at yesterday's meeting in the Guildhall of Windsor Town Forum.
The issue has never been more controversial, as residents of Alma Road fight through the courts to block a massive office plan they say would change their landscape for ever.
But at the forum meeting the manager of King Edward Court, Martin Miranda, warned councillors that office workers could save the town's beleagured shops.
He said: "The income on week days is terrible and the shops are on their last legs.
"We have got to build up a business community in Windsor of people who will spend their money during the week. Otherwise we will become a dormitory town."
However a bemused Cllr John Fido (Ind, Clewer North) could not understand how people working in an office would find time to go shopping. He felt that it was the cost and difficulty of parking in Windsor that was emptying shops.
But Cllr Sue Evans (Con, Castle Without) disagreed saying her experience of working in offices was that people took breaks at different times and used them to shop in the town where they worked.
Cllr Tom Bursnall (Con, Clewer East), chairing the meeting, warned that Windsor should not become like Cippenham with five storey office blocks directly behind homes. He said that was why councillors turned down the Alma Road development plan on the Imperial House site, after an artists' impression showed it would tower over the Victorian homes in several surrounding streets.
The plan was allowed by a government inspector on appeal but is being fought through the courts by residents.
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