LEGOLAND set to EXPAND unless you ACT by 14th May…

Helen Price lives on Illingworth, St Leonard’s Hill next door to Legoland so has every interest in keeping her eye on Legloland’s development plans.

She has picked up on an Appeal by Legoland to build their Haunted House, presented on the last day for any possible appeal and the Planning Inspectorate need to receive your views by 14th May, in under 2 weeks time!

What concerns me is not Legoland’s desire to change things, they are a business but how the Tory councillors appear to show support for the concerns of locals in one breath and then report the opposite after the meeting… all a bit slippery for me…

Windsor & Eton Express reported on 14th August 2014… A haunted house attraction planned by Legoland Windsor has been stopped. In a surprise move last night, councillors on the Royal Borough’s Windsor urban development control panel ignored their officers’ advice and refused permission to let it go ahead… Cllr Phill Bicknell (Con, Park) received unanimous support when he proposed permission be refused. He said: “We are at a point where something has got to give.”

Reading through the information, Helen reports RBWM have informed the Planning Inspectorate that there is “insubstantial local interest” in this appeal… sounds like a change of heart from the top, not representing the actual feelings of the local population.

If increasing levels of traffic and levels of air pollution breaching EU guidelines do concern you then read Helen’s email she sent out at the weekend… and post your objection to Alison THIS WEEK…

I am not a lawyer or a planning expert and have tried to interpret what is happening to the best of my ability. This therefore represents my opinion of the situation. Last year the RBWM refused planning permission to Legoland for a new attraction, the Haunted House. There were two reasons for refusal which related to

  • traffic congestion
  • intensification of green belt usage

If Legoland are successful at the Appeal it is my opinion that

  • developers, whose previous applications were refused on the grounds of traffic congestion, will be likely to appeal citing the precedent set by this case. An example is Imperial Road developments.
  • Legoland will find “the door open” for its Investment Plans which include further accommodation, an extension to the hotel, extension and redevelopments to existing areas, a new show venue and a new ride, all of which, in my opinion, will generate further visitor numbers.

Thus, in my opinion, there is more to play for than just the Haunted House.

Part way through last season Legoland increased their car park capacity so they are well able to cope with increased numbers of visitors arriving by cars.

I was disturbed to note that the RBWM have informed the Planning Inspectorate that there is “insubstantial local interest” in this Appeal. Is that statement truly representative of the views of Windsor residents? That was certainly NOT the views of the Councillors who took the decision to refuse. Legoland have informed the Inspector that there were “only a small number of letters from local residents (14) received in objection to the application” without revealing that this application was not logged under Legoland, but under “H” for Haunted House, thus this application was not revealed to any of the public searching for planning applications under Legoland. So it is not surprising that the number of objections was low. Legoland have stated that they will demonstrate “the proposal will not increase the traffic generated by the Park”, and even if it did “the traffic generated would be so small as to have no effect on the local highway network”. This argument takes no note of the cumulative impact of planning approvals, a point the Panel were at great pains to stress at the time of the refusal, nor is there any recognition of the Air Pollution Hots Spots either end of Imperial Road.

At this stage the public can make representations to the Inspector and these have to be with him/her by 14 May 2015.

It is important the Inspector is alerted to public opinion on this matter as it is my opinion that the statements made so far by both the RBMW and Legoland do not represent the views of local residents. Please do pass this onto other local residents who you feel would be interested in making representations.

It appears that the Public Inquiry itself may not be heard until November.

SO WHAT DO YOU DO NOW?

Assuming you are against this is what you could do if you wish your views to be known to the Inspector.

  • Send your comments to alison.bell@PINS.gsi.gov.uk
  • supplying your name and address
  • quoting the Case Ref APP/T0355/W/15/3005191
  • quoting the Site Address of Legoland Windsor, Winkfield Road, WINDSOR, Berkshire. SL4 4AY
  • stating “I am against the Appeals proposal”
  • and why

It is up to you to say why you are against but I recommend you concentrate on the impact of the traffic congestion caused by Legoland at certain times of the year and how this impacts on your life, including the air pollution problems if that is of concern to you. The Inspector will be looking for evidence so if you are able to give specific examples with ideally dates that would be most helpful. Last year traffic trials were conducted and it has yet to be seen if the new routes will prove effective. We will only know in the peak months of July and August. This Easter has been very different to earlier years in that schools have “spread” their Easter holidays over a four week period, thus we have not experienced the “spikes” of visitors that were experienced in previous years.

If you want further details of how you should make your representations to the Inspector go to the How to take part in the inquiry process sections 5-8 see below for link.

Please do contact me if you have any questions.

Helen

USEFUL LINKS

How to take part in the Inquiry Process can be found on the Planning Inspectorate website – click here – This is clearly written and explains how to make comments BEFORE and DURING the inquiry.

Details of the Haunted House Planning Application (Application number 14/01251/FULL) can be found on the RBWM’s website – The documents dated 2015 all relate to the Appeal

The Appeal (Appeal Ref 15/00022/REF) can be found on the RBWM’s website – However this does not contain much useful information

Details of the Planning Appeal progress can be found on the Planning Inspectorate website – However currently this show very little useful information at this stage.

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