Shock as Windsor offices scheme receives go-ahead

Posted on by John Cronin

Local residents are said to be shocked at the news that a controversial offices scheme in Windsor has been approved.

w1 windsorThe controversial plans to redevelop the former Rank Hovis McDougall headquarters in Windsor were reviewed in late December, 2010 by Clive Kirkbride, an appointed Government inspector. It has now been announced that Mr Kirkbride has given approval for the large-scale, speculative offices scheme.

Windsor resident Peter Archibald told the Maidenhead Advertiser: “These offices are so massively out of scale and character they will dominate and loom over surrounding houses”. However, despite the strong feelings against the scheme, the appeal lodged against the original decision has been approved. Mr Kirkbride notes in his decision document (pdf link) that “as these [new buildings] would have flat roofs they would be broadly similar in height to the existing building which has a more traditional pitched roof”. Mr Kirkbride has also agreed that the proposed development will not give rise to increased traffic management issues.

Commercial property developers St Congar now plan to press ahead with the development of five separate office buildings that will offer a combined floor space of nearly 275,000 sq ft. The speculative development will also include a restaurant, car parking and new public spaces. Various conditions have been imposed upon the proposed development; construction works must commence within 3 years and all the office buildings must achieve a minimum BREAAM rating of ‘Very Good’.

Demolition of the existing 47,000 sq ft Imperial House building is expected to start later this year. An indicative start for construction work has not yet been made public, although the developers indicate that the new offices should be in place by 2014.

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