Castle Hotel, Windsor, will retain its outdoor seating area

Windsor’s Grade II listed Castle Hotel wins the right to retain its outdoor seating area despite criticism that it doesn’t fit the ‘prestige’ area.

Hotels retrospective plans to retain its seating area, which was erected for the Leaf restaurant next to the building and part of the pavement arch in April in response to Covid-19, was narrowly approved by advisers to the management committee of the development of Windsor and Ascot.

As the seating area is in a conservation areaparts of it were under threat of removal after planning officials were originally going to turn down the project, who said the structure had a ‘negative’ impact on the setting of the listed building and rendered the arch of the “congested and incongruous” roadway.

The Castle Hotel in Windsor High Street

But Eton and Castle Ward Councilor Samantha Rayner ‘called’ the candidacy of panel members to determine her fate, believing Windsor’s economic regeneration, Covid safety and tourism outweigh that.

Speaking at the meeting on Wednesday January 5, Sam Goss, general manager of the Castle Hotel in the High Street, said it made the area more “vibrant” and “improved” High Street.

Cllr Julian Sharpe (Con: Ascot & Sunninghill), who put forward a motion to refuse the plans, criticized the ‘shabby’ seating area for looking more like a temporary structure rather than something to be made permanent.

READ MORE: Castle Hotel, Windsor, could see outdoor seating area removed

He said: “I think right now to make it a permanent structure, I’d like to see the business come back with something of a much higher heritage quality that would serve the same needs and uses, but would actually improve the conservation area itself, which I don’t think it’s doing right now.

He also feared it would set a precedent for other businesses in Windsor High Street to put up ‘similar’ and ‘low quality’ structures.

Cllr Amy Tisi (Lib Dem: Clewer East) said it ‘doesn’t fit with the prestige of the area’ given it is opposite the guild and close to the castle.

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But Cllr John Bowden (Con: Eton & Castle), who put forward a proposal for approval against the officers’ recommendations, felt the damage to the heritage buildings was “less than substantial” and agreed with Cllr Rayner that the regeneration economic outweighs this harm. .

The two motions were evenly split regarding votes where the chair had the deciding vote.

Cllr David Cannon (Con: Datchet, Horton and Wraysbury) used his vote from the chairman to approve the plans against the officer’s recommendations.

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