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Summer 2003
Updated December 2003

Government Sponsored Vandalism

(But permission refused in December 2003)

38 York Road

Update December 2003

Planning permission for the demolition of the above property in York Road and York Avenue has been refused, although this may not stop the developers from having another go with revised plans in the near future.

We are particularly pleased that this area of Windsor has been preserved from inappropriate development and hope that it will remain so, but pressures from a variety of directions remain on attractive period properties such as this and we must remain vigilant.

The following is extracted from the letter sent to local residents.

It is to be hoped that the reasoning behind this refusal of planning permission can also be usefully applied to others in Windsor. BUT note the warning at the end of the letter where the applicant has the right of appeal.

In coming to its decision, the Council ...took into account all other relevant factors, including the policies in the Development Plan, and in this case the proposed development was considered unacceptable. The application was accordingly refused on for the following reasons:

1 The proposal represents an overdevelopment of the site in terms of site coverage, height, bulk and massing and proximity to the south east and north boundaries,which is at odds with the more spacious character and appearance of the locality. The proposal also fails to provide usable amenity space to serve the future occupiers or sufficient space for a setting for the building and to allow planting to mitigate against landscaping which will be lost. As such the proposal is contrary to policies LD3 and EN1 of the Berkshire Structure Plan 1991-2006 and to H11 of the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead Local Plan 1999

2 Inadequate parking, is provided to support this level of development. The site is located outside the town centre, where reduced parking standards are not considered to be appropriate. Additional visitor parking would be required and cannot be satisfactorily provided within the context of this scheme. Without additional parking there will be an overspill of cars onto the neighbouring heavily parked roads which will exacerbate problems of limited visibility and thus will adversely affect highway safety and the amenity of the locality . The proposal is therefore contrary to Policy LD3 of the Berkshire Structure Plan 1991-2006 and Policies H11 DG1 and P4 of the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead Local Plan 1999.

3 The proximity of the development to northern and westerly boundaries will, as a result of the height, bulk, massing and disposition of windows, create an overbearing intrusive and unneighbourly form of development which will, on the northern boundary, create problems of an overbearing relationship and loss of privacy and, on the western boundary, will give rise to the loss of residential amenity due to the overlooking of neighbouring houses and private gardens, particularly in the winter months. The proposal is therefore contrary to Policy LD3 of the Berkshire Structure Plan 1991- 2006.

4 The location of the car parking area in close proximity to the north and western boundaries of the site and in close proximity to neighbouring properties will give rise to noise and disturbance to neighbouring residential properties and will, as a result, be detrimental to the residential amenity which these neighbouring properties might reasonably expect to enjoy, contrary to Policy LD3 of the Berkshire Structure Plan 1991 -2006

5 The proposal would fail to provide provision for on-site public open space, education facilities, community facilities or library services to meet the additional demands for such facilities that would be created by the proposed development, or financial contribution in lieu of such provision. As such, the proposal would be contrary Policies LD6 and R5 of the Berkshire Structure Plan 1991-2006 and Policies R3 al IMP1 of the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead Local Plan (Incorporating Alterations adopted June 2003), and to the Council's Adopted Supplemental Guidance on Public Open Space Provision (February 2003) and Planning Obligations and Developer Contributions (March 2003).

A copy of the Decision Notice can be inspected at the address shown below during normal office hours.

You should be aware that the applicant does have the right to appeal to the Secretary of State for the Environment against the Council's decision at any time during the next six months. In the event of such an appeal being submitted I will write to you again to give you an opportunity to make representations to the Inspector who would be responsible for conducting the appeal.

Yours faithfully
Gary Rhoades-Brown
Development Control Manager

The pressure to build in the south-east 'come what may' threatens quality Victorian homes

The Original Story

On 7th March 2000 Mr Prescott, Deputy Prime Minister, demanded a significant increase in housing projects in the south-east while announcing in the House of Commons his Regional Planning Guidance for the South East and the publication of Planning Policy Guidance on Housing (PPG3). Given this government green light, the announcement paved the way for developers throughout the south-east to go on the hunt for land, confident that local authorities would be under central government pressure to approve planning applications which in any other circumstances would be deemed undesirable and unsuitable.
  Mr Prescott originally claimed that the only sites that would be affected by this pressure to build, build, build, would be brown field sites. I.e. those sites that had formerly been industrial and which were now derelict or otherwise ripe for change of use.
  This yardstick has now been very much stretched and distorted such that attractive buildings of real character and visual amenity to a community are now threatened with high density housing development . This is government sponsored vandalism.
  One such property under threat is 38 York Road, Windsor, pictured above, a delightful home of considerable character dating from the late Victorian period. The very fine domed roof in the south east corner of the property is particularly attractive above the fully rounded bay windows.
  A planning application has been lodged with Windsor and Maidenhead Borough Council to demolish the existing house and erect ten flats. The danger is that, with the increased government pressure, this application will be granted, along with many similar around the country, such that in a number of localities the quality of the housing stock will be reduced to non-descript, high density units, totally lacking in style such that a once-attractive residential area is reduced to a soulless street with no quality architecture of any kind.

Update April 2005: I have found a reference to the house in an ISC journal 'Chronicle' dated February 1920 which reads "The house "Tokio" in York Road, which is now the property of the College and is to be known in future as the Chaplain's House, is under Mr Healey's charge."

Added Government Pressure

The Guardian newspaper, in July 2002 reported that Mr Prescott attacked councils in the south-east "for missing their targets for new house building in the last two years, and promised to intervene to force reluctant local authorities into approving new developments."
  This is continued government sponsored vandalism.

Effect of Euro 'convergence'

Extract from
Assessment of the five economic tests
But there remain structural differences with the euro area, some of which are significant, such as in the housing market. Because of the risks these factors pose, and the fact that any dynamic changes would take time to come through, we cannot yet be confident that UK business cycles are sufficiently compatible with those of the euro area to allow the UK to live comfortably with euro area interest rates on a permanent basis...

Although it is not immediately obvious, the sometime acceptance of the Euro as the unit of currency in the UK (given acceptance by the UK public) is currently adversely threatening properties such as no. 38.
  In order to reduce the Bank of England interest rate to European levels and to achieve some sort of 'convergence', a much lower interest rate is required here in the UK. If the interest rate was lowered significantly now (Summer 2003) house prices would jump substantiallially once again, adding to inflationary pressures. To reduce house price increases, more property must be made available - built - to meet demand. This is one of the government strategies that Gordon Brown touched upon in a TV interview, on June 10th 2003, where he intimated that more housing was being encouraged. This would reduce the pressure on prices and help meet the requirements of the Famous Five
economic tests. In order to build more houses, higher densities are required in existing residential areas. In these circumstances the application to build 10 properties on the site of 38 York Road could be permitted, especially if local planners give in to central government pressure. The danger is, as previously stated, that political targets can wreek havoc in residential areas such as these where valuable and architecturally interesting properties are sacrificed to make way for drab as ditch water development. To borrow a phrase from another campaign... "Just say 'no'!"

It's up to the residents

We urge all residents to lobby their local councillors and MPs to express their concern at this potential destruction of their neighbourhood. The sad truth is that ill-considered planning approvals serve merely to legalise property vandalism and line the pockets of property developers.
  Only in years to come, when later communities come to mourn the loss of significant local buildings, will the true loss be realised. Attractive residential areas and neighbourhoods take years to mature, yet can be wrecked in days.


There is a serious loop-hole with planning applications these days, and the loop-hole is being expolited by developers. Quite simply, if a developer puts in an application for some form of development to which local residents have objected, the plans can be withdrawn and a second, very similar set lodged which nullify the original objections UNLESS they are resubmitted in relation to the new set of plans. In other words, every opposed planning application must be objected to, however similar they may seem to previous applications. The initial objection will be deemed to have been withdrawn if any subsequent applications are not objected to.
  This sorry state of affairs requires attention.

Planning Application Details

Application No: Application by: Location of Property Description
03/83613 Birch Cantry Homes Ltd 38 York Road
Erection of a two storey apartment block with accommodation in roof space for 10 2-bedroom flats following demolition of existing property

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