02:37PM, Monday 19 July 2021
The Ministry of Justice’s plans to provide new bedrooms at a probation hostel has been met with a fury of objections over anti-social behaviour fears.
But the decision to grant planning permission is ultimately up to councillors on the Royal Borough Development Management panel, who have been recommended to approve the plans.
The Ministry, who owns and occupies the site, want to extend Manor Lodge, which provides accommodation to convicted criminals on license from prison, in Old Windsor to provide three additional bedrooms, a new cycle store, an air source heat pump, and solar panels on the roof.
This would involve demolishing two nearby flat-roofed garages.
The probation hostel, which was granted planning permission in 1967, currently has 25 rooms with 10 members of staff.
However, the plans were met with a storm of objections from residents who feared anti-social behaviour will increase if given the go-ahead.
One resident wrote: “Not only is the noise a disturbance but it’s also very unsettling. Many who reside here at the Tapestries are older and vulnerable and should expect village life to be relatively peaceful.
“I feel any increase in the level of occupancy due to the proposed planning would only make things worse and increase the level of anxiety to the village, which is already very noticeable in such a small community.”
Old Windsor parish council added: “Increasing the numbers of residents can only increase the probability of incidences, of which we have had a number.
“There would [be] no benefit to the local community to allow this extension, and it should be residents that take priority in these situations. Village residents have a right to feel safe moving around the village especially after dark. Expansion of this facility just increases the fear of crime.”
Ward councillor Lynne Jones called in this application to be heard at the development management panel due to residents’ concerns.
But planning officers took a different view and believe an increase in three-beds will not lead to any 'significant intensification' of the site and the new occupants would still be bound by the same restrictions imposed by the hostel.
Councillors on the planning panel will convene on Wednesday, July 21.
The race to get as many people vaccinated against coronavirus has ramped up in the Royal Borough and Slough amidst an ongoing rise in cases across the country.