While I agree that King Edward Court / Windsor Yards needs an upgrade, I also believe that RBWM and Windsor residents need to see greater benefits if we give the go ahead at the Planning Panel meeting this evening.
What follows is my presentation as I have it mapped out after speaking with officers and the developer about my concerns over the last few days.
I was disappointed not to be able to download a bunch of documents from the planning portal. Was it just me or did others struggle?
1.3 talks of six story buildings balanced against 4 story, too tall so why should we allow them to build so high, breaching our tall buildings SPD. 10.96 reinforces its harmful nature.
10.115 tries to balance this with the talk of 691 jobs, mostly in the office block. Are a few hundred sole traders choosing to base themselves in an office rather than at home to be considered new jobs? Premium office space for corporates on the top floors of the building with views of Windsor Castle will make up some of the tens of millions annual revenue benefits to the applicant but who will these benefits be seen by? RBWM will get their annual rent as agreed and a small proportion of the business rates so not really benefiting the council.
10.118 talks of greening and planting. A dozen trees in plant pots! An oak tree needs to be 180 years old to provide any real benefit to humans. 100% biodiversity net gain is not hard to achieve in a concrete jungle. Greening the roofs with wild flowers and solar panels… will the bees agree this is greening or think of it as an electromagnetic nightmare, never to be pollinated. I’ll like to see what happens with my own eyes on this…
10.119 104 cycle parking spaces above the outdated 2004 Parking Strategy requirements of 10% but we are in a new era of healthy modes of transport and seriously expensive push bikes. What we need for Windsor is secure cycling parking, not just bike racks. Would the space between All Bar One and the railway line make for a good location for this? I know this is a different land owner.
10.123 30% CO2 reduction is based on them not knocking anything down, so CO2 will be produced, just not as much as might have been by simply refurbishing great swathes, saving them millions in the construction but negating any need to worry about electrification of the car park.
5.10 776 parking spaces but there is no clear requirement to turn any into electric car charging bays? Surely if we are being forced to go electric then future proofing the car park makes sense does it not?
5.11 Talk of the 103 new parking spaces sensibly being 20% active and 80% electric plugged in without the tech so ready to go electric as needed. I’ve asked for clarity on this.
9. Consultations. I invited the developers to consult with residents in West Windsor who make up half the town’s population but they chose not to. I also suggested discussing with the Youth Council as they are the future, I’ve not had any feedback that they were consulted.
TVP Comments – Comments related to the restriction of access through the archway, further information related to lighting and surveillance.
Let’s take a look at i) Other Considerations
10.186 Thames Valley Police has raised concerns regarding the existing situation of the undercroft and loading areas, shopping level access and the residential development. There is also concern about a lack of security and access strategy for the proposed office development at the southern development site.
10.187 It is considered that the comments from Thames Valley Police related to the some of the undercroft and loading areas are not within the application site and are not owned by the applicant. Therefore, some of the suggested conditions, including the re-introduction of the taxi marshalling, restriction of the access, are not considered to be enforceable and reasonable in this particular case.
10.188 Thames Valley Police also has made some comments related to the shopping level access and the proposed office development at the southern development site, including further information is required for the lighting and surveillance strategy. It is considered that such details can be secured by planning conditions.
I read concerns about safety at night dismissed by comments that there will be more people around? While I appreciate there is a level of truth in this, we need TVP or professional security.
We have just hosted a Community Safety Summit with great fanfare, talk of 4 new dedicated RBWM Police Officers and we are seemingly ignoring TVP Police very real concerns around resident safety in Windsor town centre? Are we serious about keeping residents safe or is that simply an election soundbite?
I feel the contractor needs to fully commit to addressing any TVP concerns they can and provide adequate Section 106 monies to address those they can’t before this application is taken forward.
If the contractor wants permission to create a mini NYC with tall buildings and views of Windsor Castle, enhancing their reputation on a global stage as a developer and providing the ability to generate tens of millions in revenue every year for itself and partner organisations who manage the facilities then we need some demonstrable uplift for RBWM and Windsor residents.
If electric cars are the future then the existing car park needs to be adequately passively wired for potential future charging points, not just the new spaces.
TVP resident safety concerns addressed and real secure cycle parking provided and managed by the applicant. They can obviously charge cyclists a fee to cover their own costs and make a small profit but cyclists need to be offered the option of secure parking in Windsor if we are to create a truly 21st century shopping experience.