09:33AM, Friday 22 October 2021
L-R: Grant Price, Wade Kirkaldie and Nick Pellew from The Windsor Club.
A squash club in Windsor has criticised the council for not assisting during its search for a new home after its previous base made way for a retirement village.
The Windsor Club (TWC) has also asked that £270,000 of developer levy funding – known as S106 money – is reinvested into squash facilities and not ‘lost’ to projects elsewhere, such as the Braywick Leisure Centre (BLC) build in Maidenhead.
The club was notified in 2012 that it would need to leave its former home in Helston Lane due to approved plans for a retirement village from developer Tiger Developments. The £270,000 was set back to enable the provision of lost courts.
Club member Grant Price said that TWC has since had two planning applications turned down by the Royal Borough for new facilities.
The first, based on a site off the A308, was deemed unacceptable by councillors, while a second attempt at the Thames Valley Athletics Club (TVAC) in Eton was dismissed, with the club claiming that it was not given notice of the second meeting taking place.
Grant says that the club has not had support from the council during its search to build new courts, with fears raised that the S106 money could be diverted to the BLC following suggestions by a councillor, and because there are already existing squash courts at this site.
“Every time we tried to find somewhere, we were turned down, and we never got any assistance from the council to find an area where we could build,” he said.
“It actually took me nine months to get an answer as to whether the S106 funds had been applied to the BLC.
“I asked time and time again – and eventually I got a statement which said that the money had not been touched.”Grant said that TWC is now focusing its attentions elsewhere and is working with both Berkshire Squash and England Squash to try and ‘regenerate’ the sport.
Plans are in motion to tour the county with mini squash courts to help promote the activity among younger people.
A ‘significant chunk’ of the club’s £70,000 funding pot will go towards this new initiative, Grant said.
He also hopes that the S106 money will not be forgotten about, and is used to help Windsor residents access the sport.
“We have come to the conclusion that the council are not going to help us,” Grant added.
TWC is due to meet the council’s lead member for leisure, Cllr Ross McWilliams (Con, Cox Green), tomorrow (Friday) at the BLC to discuss how the club can work with the local authority on this issue going forward.
A Royal Borough spokesman said: “The S106 funding was agreed when planning permission was granted in 2012. This remains the case and this money is still available.
“The council has been in discussion with TWC for a number of years and these conversations continue. Members are due to meet with the council’s cabinet member for sport and leisure soon for further discussions.
“A planning application to build an additional squash court at TVAC was considered in public before the Windsor planning panel in January 2020. This was refused on the grounds of inappropriate development in the greenbelt, that it would be located in a flood zone and would have resulted in the loss of five trees.”
There will be displays at Windsor Racecourse and Legoland, local fireworks in Burnham and Twyford and smaller displays at schools in the Royal Borough.