Bitter blow for campaigners fighting office development

Bitter blow for campaigners fighting office development

Francis Batt

Bitter blow for campaigners fighting office development
Miff in front of Imperial House

The fight to stop a 25,000 sq m office development in the heart of Windsor's Victorian streets has suffered a potentially fatal blow.

It took Lord Justice Jeremy Sullivan just half an hour in London's Court of Appeal on Tuesday to throw out an appeal by campaigners fighting plans to stop the new offices being built on the site of the old Imperial House, behind Alma Road.

His decision comes as a decisive blow after a two-year battle.

Miff Chichester, whose company St Congar Properties plans to build the offices, now hopes that work can start early next year.

He said: "There is a considerable amount of positive support in the town for this regenerative, job-creating project."

In an implied criticism of residents who have fought the plan through the courts, he said: "So much money and time has been wasted on this fruitless legal exercise, while we could have been bringing jobs and financial security to the town."

The office plan was rejected by Royal Borough councillors two years ago as being too overwhelming for the area. But a government appeals inspector overturned their decision.

Since then residents have failed in the High Court to get the inspector's decision reconsidered. This week's Court of Appeal rejection comes as a further blow.

Residents now have few options left. They have relied on legal aid to carry on the fight so far but with only the Supreme Court or the European Court left as an option, they could find it hard to get more public finance.

One of the residents, ex-councillor David Eglise, remained defiant. He said: "I'm greatly disappointed and don't think it is over yet. We are looking at possible ways of taking it further but it is early days."

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