News: 5 July 2019Planning Inspectorate allows new office and Build-to-Rent scheme

The site of a demolished office block in Windsor is to be replaced with new build-to-rent apartments and offices after the Planning Inspectorate allowed an appeal lodged by our planning team, on behalf of Salmon Harvester Properties Ltd against the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead Council’s failure to determine a planning application for the proposals.

The decision by the Planning Inspectorate, means Salmon Harvester Properties can redevelop the former site of the Imperial House office building on Alma Road in Windsor with a mixed-use development comprising 217 build-to-rent apartments with one, two and three-bedroom homes and high-quality office accommodation.

The new residential building, reaching a maximum height of seven-storeys, surrounding two attractively landscaped raised podium courtyards will feature exclusive facilities, such as a residents’ lounge, gym, cinema, 24-hour concierge and parking. A new café that will be open to the wider public will be delivered adjacent to a landscaped pedestrian route running between Alma Road and the adjacent open space of Vansittart Park.

Adjacent to the residential building will be a new five-storey office delivering more than 16,000sqm of workspace. This element of the scheme has been designed to enable the floorplates to be sub-divided to offer maximum flexibility to prospective tenants that could include small-to-medium enterprises and start-ups.

In his decision letter, Inspector Michael Hetherington accepted that the scheme offered substantial benefits, including improving housing delivery to make up the acknowledged shortfall in the Council’s housing land supply, providing flexibly designed office floorspace that could support about 700 new jobs and making effective use of previously developed land.

The Inspector agreed that the limited harm to the character and appearance of the area that he identified was clearly outweighed by these benefits. He also found there would be no unacceptable effect on neighbouring living conditions, no adverse effect on nearby heritage assets and the parking and access arrangements for the scheme were acceptable.

Planning Associate Gary Stevens, who coordinated the planning proposals and gave expert town planning evidence to the public inquiry on behalf of Salmon Harvester Properties, said: “The decision by the Planning Inspectorate is welcomed, allowing for the redevelopment of this important site in Windsor to create a new high-quality and vibrant mixed-use scheme. It highlights the importance planning authorities should place on the delivery of much needed homes and opportunities to create new jobs that support economic growth.

“I’m delighted the merits of this high-quality scheme have ultimately been recognised and there is an opportunity for over 700 office jobs and homes for 217 households to be delivered in a sustainable manner.”

As well as securing permission for the Alma Road scheme in Windsor, we have a legacy of successful projects throughout the Thames Valley, delivering a host of landmark schemes through our multi-disciplinary offering. This includes, among others, the redevelopment of the Roseate Hotel in Reading and the British Museum Archaeological Research Collection (BM_ARC) in Wokingham.

Image: Darling Associates

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Build to Rent, Residential, Offices, UK Housing