09:17AM, Monday 13 August 2012
The fight to save Windsor's historic character has won a huge boost this week - after a government inspector upheld a ban on plans to redevelop a popular Edwardian house as an apartment block.
Admirers of Essex Lodge on the corner of Osborne Road and Bolton Avenue in the heart of Windsor were delighted last year when Royal Borough planning councillors threw out a plan by Berkeley Homes to flatten it, putting a four-storey apartment block in its place.
They asked the developers to submit a new plan less tall and dominating. But Berkeley Homes decided to appeal against the refusal instead and the matter went to a public inquiry.
Essex Lodge is regarded as a 'twin' with Kings House on the opposite corner, which is of the same era and similar design representing the Edwardian phase of Windsor development.
But unlike Kings House, Essex Lodge is just outside the conservation order and not protected from destruction.
A public inquiry was held at the Guildhall on June 19 and about 25 residents turned up to show their support for the property. This week the inspector's decision came through, upholding the councillors' ban.
Past chairman of the Boltons Residents' Association, Olive Eccles, said: "We are relieved. The inspector took into account residents' feelings and our concerns about peoples' privacy in the face of such a large development."
Essex House's future is still uncertain though. The developers are now expected to come back with a new development plan for councillors to consider.
More than 50 street parties are set to take place this weekend across the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead and the surrounding areas.
An independent report into a Conservative councillor has found a breach of the Royal Borough’s code of conduct in a document seen by the Advertiser.