June 2024

The planning decision for the retrospective planning application for the unlawful additions to the Fairmont Windsor Park hotel still hasn’t been issued. This is because it will be accompanied by a legal agreement not to rebuild Parkwood house that is still being drafted. We will keep you posted on developments.

May 2024

On 17 May, the Department for Levelling Up confirmed that the Secretary of State has decided not to call in the retrospective planning application for the unlawful additions to the Fairmont Windsor Park hotel. The Council was obliged to consult with the Secretary of State because of the scale of the unlawful building in the Green Belt. This decision means that the fight to save our village and the Green Belt now begins in earnest. We can also now expect a further technical amendment to the second retrospective planning application for the treehouses, tennis courts, outdoor gym and playground because the hotel site plan was changed to include the unlawful 68-space car park and road on Dell Park, built on top of a habitat protection zone. This application will then need to be considered by the planning committee. Please talk to your councillors about this.

As of 7 May, the Department of Levelling Up, Housing and Communities confirmed that no decision has been made whether to call in the retrospective planning application RU.23/1214 on the unlawful additions to the Fairmont Windsor Park hotel. If the Secretary of State decides to call in the application then a planning inspector will be appointed and they will have to take the findings of the inspector into account in making a decision. If that happens we will inform residents if and how representations can be made. If the application is not called in then the Council can issue a decision notice and we can then begin the process of judicial review.

April 2024

After a ‘call for sites’, it seems that the Arora Group asked the Council to consider taking Oaklands Park out of the Green Belt – area 103 on this plan – and that they also offered the top field for a housing estate. The Council notes that building could be permitted, even if this land remains in the Green Belt, if there are Very Special Circumstances and we have seen how flexible they can be in creating Very Special Circumstances to allow building by the Arora Group. Keep a watchful eye on what happens.

March 2024

On 27 March, Runnymede councillors voted to approve the retrospective planning application for the oversized Fairmont hotel. This was despite serious concerns about the application. There were concerns raised that false information was provided and important legal advice ignored. Coach loads of people working for Arora Group hotels turned up early to fill up the public gallery so many residents were turned away at the door by council officials and couldn’t view proceedings. We will be taking legal action and will provide updates on next steps. We will gratefully accept donations to fund this legal action. Thank you

Fairmont Public Meeting Presentation recorded video, click below – 19th March 2024

Watch the slide show from the public meeting about the Green Belt – click on the image below

ByeByeGreenbelt_Final

Bad news! The planning officers are recommending that the retrospective planning application for the oversized Fairmont Windsor Park hotel is approved by the planning committee on 27 March. This is despite our planning consultant’s report pointing out the facts of the case and the strong advice from a barrister that the proposed demolition of Parkwood house does not clearly outweigh the harm from building the hotel much larger than permitted and surrounding it with thousands of square meters of concrete that wasn’t permitted either, some of which concreted over a habitat protection area. If approved, this will create a new precedent that will make it easy for others to build in the Green Belt without planning permission. Please attend the planning committee at 6.30pm at the Council offices and please lobby your local ward councillors between now and then.

A ‘technical amendment’ to the retrospective planning application RU.23/1214 to keep the unlawful additions to the oversize Fairmont Windsor Park hotel by the Arora Group has altered the site plan and added an unquantified amount of unlawful concrete for a 68-space car park, road and extra hardstanding, as well as asking for a change of use from residential land for part of Dell Park. Professionals have been engaged to send objections on behalf of residents.

February 2024

Thanks to our supporters, we instructed a solicitor to write to the chief executive of Runnymede Borough Council to inform him that the retrospective planning application RU.23/1214 was not accurate and that a statement of truth should not have been signed. We await his response.

The BBC have reported on the petition launched by the Green Belt Watch. Link to BBC story

Sign the petition at Change.org

We have heard about work on Ham Lane. If you have concerns about the footpaths then report them to Surrey County Council at the following link.

https://www.surreycc.gov.uk/culture-and-leisure/countryside/management/footpaths-byways-and-bridleways

January 2024

The latest revision to the National Planning Policy Framework, December 2023, has beefed up requirements for energy efficiency. Paragraph 161 now says ‘In determining planning applications, local planning authorities should give significant weight to the need to support energy efficiency and low carbon heating improvement to existing buildings, both domestic and non-domestic’. The Fairmont Windsor Park was only built to the building standard required and did not include solar panels. It is much larger than permitted but seldom full, so it will be using more gas for heating and cooling than originally envisaged. You may wish to write a fresh objection letter to ask the planning department to take this update to the NPPF into account.

Our poster is now available, contact us for a copy if you’d like to put it up in your window.

The closing date for letters of representation to retrospective planning application RU.23/1214, for the unlawful additions to the Fairmont Windsor Park hotel, has passed, but this has not yet gone to the planning committee so the Council should still consider further letters. Write to planning@runnymede.gov.uk if you want to oppose or support this application.