Inspector dismisses appeal for homes on Squires Garden Centre

James Bagley. Local Democracy Reporter

Inspector dismisses appeal for homes on Squires Garden Centre

Concerns over the greenbelt has lead to a planning inspectorate dismissing a developer’s appeal to build homes at a former garden centre in Windsor.

In December 2019, councillors on the Windsor planning panel unanimously refused plans for 37 homes, 11 of which were affordable, to be built on the former Squires Garden Centre in Maidenhead Road.

The scheme included two apartment blocks up to three-storeys high as well as detached, semi-detached houses, and a terrace of four homes.

Councillors blocked the plans on the grounds of its inappropriate impact on the greenbelt and openness as well as of the development’s layout, scale, and bulkiness would result in a ‘dense’ site.

Property developers Berkeley Homes disagreed and sought to appeal this decision, believing ‘very special circumstance’ exist due to the borough’s need for affordable housing.

However, planning inspectorate Stephen Wilkinson gave his final decision on May 25 and dismissed their appeal.

Mr Wilkinson said the ‘very special circumstance’ argument 'does not exist' despite the development offering affordable housing, concluding it will be inappropriate for the green belt and its openness, and will 'harm' the character and appearance of the area.

The planning inspectorate said: “Although the very special circumstances identified by the appellant articulate a strong case, they are finely balanced when set against the substantial harm which I find the appeal scheme would have on the openness of the green belt.

“However, I find that the other considerations in this case do not clearly outweigh the harm that I have identified. Consequently, the very special circumstances necessary to justify the development do not exist.”

He also said the two apartment blocks would 'adversely contrast' with the nearby ‘The Willows’, a range of cottages and homes, and Dedworth Estate due to their height.

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