Who are we?

We are a group wanting to protect the Green Belt, based in Englefield Green. We’ve set up a company so we can take legal action with limited liability. We have instructed a solicitor, barrister and planning consultant to help represent residents.

Why are we needed?

In Englefield Green, a wealthy developer has repeatedly abused the planning process for financial gain. This needs to be stopped, to send a clear signal to unscrupulous developers. A new planning precedent could open the floodgates for more unlawful building on the Green Belt.

What’s happened?

Most recently, a Runnymede Borough Council planning committee approved a retrospective planning application for the Arora Group to keep extensive unlawful additions to the Fairmont Windsor Park hotel and thousands of square meters of additional tarmac laid without planning permission, much of which covers a habitat protection zone!

A second retrospective planning application for five lodges, built on metal stilts after mature woodland was cut down, five tennis courts, an outdoor gym and playground, all built without planning permission, is due to be considered by a future planning committee. This is on residential land next to the hotel, but is being used, unlawfully, as part of the hotel business.

What else has happened?

The Arora Group has a long history of planning breaches in Englefield Green. In addition to a vast amount of building without planning permission, spoil and demolition waste was dumped, unlawfully, on adjacent countryside. A neon sign and globe lights were put up outside the hotel without planning permission. Planning conditions to replant trees cut down to build the new hotel, design lights for protected species and install lots of charging points for electric vehicles seem to have been largely ignored.

What new planning precedents are we concerned about?

The hotel developers are offering to demolish a smaller derelict house over a kilometre away, in exchange for the unlawful overbuild of the hotel. In other words, the retrospective planning application for the Fairmont Windsor Park hotel could set a new, dangerous planning precedent allowing unlawful building on the Green Belt to be offset by demolishing unwanted buildings a huge distance away.

Another worrying precedent could be set if planning permission is given for treehouses built in Green Belt woodland after mature trees, some with preservation orders, were cut down to make space for them, along with tennis courts, car parks and a children’s playground etc.  In exchange for all this, the developer is offering to remove a couple of mobile horse shelters, a wooden caravan on wheels and a couple of old wooden cabins.

What can you do?

We need to raise funds.

We have engaged solicitors and a barrister.  We need to pay them. 

We are currently looking to raise £20,000 for judicial review of the planning committee’s approval of the retrospective planning application for the oversized hotel. We are part way there but need all the help we can get.

We don’t want to fight the Council, but they have been overseeing the destruction of the Green Belt with little regard to residents’ concerns. We want them to stop supporting unrelenting, unlawful development on Arora Group land, but we have seen nothing in eight years to make us think they will.

What are our goals?

We want Runnymede Borough Council to treat the hotel developers rigorously, as they do other residents.

To see a fair solution to the unlawful additions to the Fairmont Windsor Park hotel that does not set a dangerous, new planning precedent.

To see the removal of unlawfully built treehouses, car parks and other construction on Dell Park and the restoration of habitat.

To see planning conditions for the replanting of trees and protection of habitat around the hotel enforced.

To send a clear signal to others who think they can flout Green Belt planning laws that communities can unite to protect the Green Belt and environment.

What if there is any money left over?

Everyone working on this is a volunteer, money will only be used for legal fees.  If we raise more money than we need to cover costs any excess will be put back into the community. Accounts will be published.

What else can I do?

You can make people aware of this campaign and help to raise funds.  This isn’t just a local issue; a new planning precedent will affect the whole of the Green Belt.  You can write to Runnymede Borough Council planning department with objections to the planning application RU.22/1819 for the five houses in the woodland.  It doesn’t matter that the closing date for comment has passed as these applications have not yet been considered by a planning committee. Write to planning@runnymede.gov.uk

Has the environment been harmed?

There has been a huge amount of unlawful building, without planning permission, on Dell Park and on the adjacent Fairmont Windsor Park site.  Habitat has been lost.  Areas identified as important and in need of protection, including for hedgehog hibernation, have been concreted over. Many mature trees have been cut down.  There are floodlights, in a once dark area next to Windsor Great Park, that will affect insects, birds and bats.  Padel-tennis, played under floodlights, generates noise and light pollution that will be particularly harmful for nocturnal animals.

Can the habitat be restored?

Yes, if the treehouses and other unlawful structures are removed and the appropriate trees are replanted then, slowly, nature will recover.

What land is covered by this action?

There are two sites affected by this legal action, the Fairmont Windsor Park hotel site and the adjacent Dell Park site, both with retrospective planning applications.  Much of the surrounding land is also under common ownership, through a variety of linked companies, including Oaklands Park, Littlebrook nursery, the former Sun pub, Parkwood and Meadow Farm Cottage.  A large mansion is under construction on Oaklands Park.  Plans for Parkwood and the other land are not yet in the public domain.

Is there going to be a golf course on Parkwood?

The Arora Group have stated, in the press, that there is no formal application for a golf course and said decisions should not be based on gossip whilst submitting planning documents entitled ‘PARKWOOD GOLF COURSE’. This doesn’t have planning permission either!