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Victorian 'gateway' to Windsor saved from demolition

George Roberts

WINDSOR 133185-1

A Victorian building and ‘gateway’ to Windsor was saved from demolition by councillors last night (Wednesday).

Plans to knock down Essex Lodge, in Osborne Road, just outside central Windsor, and build a new, 10-flat building were refused by councillors on the Royal Borough Development Management Panel last night.

Cllr Leo Walters (Con, Bray) was passionate about preventing the demolition of one of Windsor’s heritage homes.

He said: “ I think we’ve got to listen to what the people say. This is Windsor.

“There's a sense of place in Windsor, there are these Victorian buildings, for an extra two or three flats, to tear down a Victorian building is a mistake.

“When people go to Windsor, they are the sort of buildings they expect to see. If you start sticking in blocks of flats, no matter how good it looks on a screen, it won’t be the same as the Victorian house that exists today.”

In the past, councillors have turned down similar applications to build 14 and 12 flats on the site.

The most up-to-date plans sought to create a building of similar design to what stands there today.

Members of the public and Old Windsor councillor Lynne Jones appeared at the meeting to speak in favour of protecting the site, describing it as a ‘gateway’ to Windsor, with another Victorian home on the opposite side of the road creating some symmetry.

Not everyone agreed on this though, with Cllr John Bowden (Con, Eton and Castle) adamant that it was not any kind of gateway.

He said: “I have resided in Windsor for the last 24 years, unfortunately I have driven through that area innumerable times, and it’s being called a gateway.

“A gateway, I’m sorry, is not a good description for this roundabout that appears here.”

Meanwhile, Cllr Amy Tisi (Lib Dem, Clewer East) was critical of the plans for the new building. She said: “Although the new design replicates some of the features of the original building I’m just not convinced that creating a mock, mock Tudor building is really what’s required.

“These imitation features just don’t stand up for me.”

Eventually, a motion to refuse the application on the grounds that it was a greater layout and harmful to the conservation area was put forward.

The motion to refuse was successful, with Cllrs Hill, Knowles, Reynolds, Tisi and Walters voting for, while Cllrs Bowden, Cannon and Haseler voted against.

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