Planning inspector to rule on Windsor offices

Posted on by John Cronin

A government appointed planning inspector has been appointed to rule on the future of a controversial office scheme in Windsor, Berkshire.

Property developers St Congar have had plans for a controversial, speculative office development on the site of the former Ranks Hovis McDougall building rejected by the Royal Borough planning committee. The Maidenhead Advertiser reports that the Windsor and District Chamber of Commerce (website) is supportive of the proposed development, saying that the scheme will create additional business in the area. Following a subsequent appeal against the decision, a 2 day hearing took place this week at Windsor Racecourse.

W1 WindsorSt Congar plan to build 5 individual office blocks each varying in height between 1 to 5 storeys (pictured). In total the office blocks will offer approximately 274,000 sq ft of flexible, Grade A rated floor space.

Referred to as W1 Windsor, the office complex would be located on a 4.6acre site on Alma Road and is being marketed as potential headquarter office accommodation. The existing building on the site, Imperial House, would be demolished to make way for the new office blocks.

St Congar purchased the existing building from The Crown Estate for £15m in a joint venture with Europa Capital in February 2008. Imperial House was constructed in 1983 as the headquarters for Rank Hovis McDougall and comprises approximately 47,000 sq ft of office space.

Many local residents have campaigned against the development claiming the new buildings would dominate views from nearby roads. The Royal Windsor forum has been used to by local residents to track the latest planning appeal and public consultation.

The appointed planning inspector is expected to announce a final decision early in 2011.

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