I was alerted to the Saturday Public Consultation at Oakfield School by a Windsor resident, but we didn't know what the plans were until we got there.
This site was formerly a garage and is now a car showroom at the end of Imperial Road. The planning company have been in discussions with the RBWM and gave the impression that they have had support from the RBWM for this idea, but this is what is known as Pre-Application Public Consultation, which the RBWM encourage all developers of signifcant applications to undertake. No application has been made as yet. They said that they had been told by RBWM Highways that the junction was to be redesigned (do you remember the consultation last Summer?). However we have all been informed by the RBWM that they have no intention of redesigning this junction as the new software installed in the traffic lights seemed to have improved traffic flow a lot.
I queried the design of the incoming and exiting vehicles where exiting vehicles have to turn left, ie past Imperial Bathrooms and then somehow have to do a U turn to get back down Imperial Road. I was told that the RBWM Highways had approved this. I queried that this is a AQMA, ie pollution levels are unacceptably high, and this would add to the pollution levels what with service vehicles, staff and guests arriving and departing. National Planning Guidelines and the RBWM Environmental Policies in the Borough Local Plan (the consultation on this recently closed) appear to be totally against such a development at a AQMA.
I had thought that when this site was sold that part of it would be considered for a bus stop to replace the one as you drive to Ascot just as you enter Winkfield Road. This bus stop does hold up traffic and there just isn't room to create a bus "lay by". They are intending to put the car parking underground, which sounds a good idea. I questioned if by digging down they wouldn't then reach the flood level (or whatever it is called). I am yet to be convinced that the car park capacity is sufficient for visitors, residents using the restaurant and bar staff, etc. There is nowhere else to park nearby and I'm sure Imperial Bathrooms will take action if people start to park in front of them. Hermitage Lane residents will be none too pleased also.
The design itself, in my opinion, lacks architectural merit. I overheard one resident present describing it as Cell Block H. I have alerted a Windsor Councillor responsible for Economic Development to this proposal, pointing out that this development, together with the LEGOLAND extension due to open this summer, and the Royal Windsor Racecours Hilton Hotel which I guess is likely to be approved, will add some 99,000 additional bednights to Windsor's capacity, and yet the Visitor Strategy Planning Document has not been produced. He was somewhat surprised to hear about this proposal. I have spoken to a key officer for Windsor tourism who was also unaware of this proposal. The planning company explained that the intended hotel was a Premier Inn and that this replaced the proposal to build a Premier Inn on the roof of Daniels.
In conclusion, it is early days and there doesn't appear to be a co-ordinated approach to such a development from within the RBWM.