Within the last month, LEGOLAND Windsor Resort have submitted a significant amount of information in relation to two projects outlined in their Long Term Plan (LTP) – phase 1 of the Holiday Village and the associated car parking reconfiguration. This is with the intention of discharging the respective planning conditions in order to be permitted to commence work on the developments.
Within the LTP, Phase 1 of the Holiday Village was classed as ‘Project 1’ by the LTP and represented the installation of 65 permanent semi-detached lodges (130 rooms) and 20 ‘barrels’, along with an associated amenity facilities block, a central facilities ‘hub’ building, SUDS ponds, landscaping (including equipped play areas) and infrastructure works. ‘Project 2’ then corresponded to the reconfiguration of car parking and internal accesses and the associated infrastructure works. This included permanently surfacing Car Park E, which is currently a field used for overflow parking situated to the north of the proposed site of phase 1 of the Holiday Village.
In order to provide information required on the existing and proposed levels across the site (Condition 6), a site plan detailing this has been submitted. A notable feature of this is that it marks the locations of LEGO themed characters which feature audio and lighting that will be situated around the village. Another requirement was for details of the materials to be used to construct the external surfaces of buildings within the development to be provided to the council (Condition 7). Therefore, samples of the materials proposed for each type of building including the lodges, barrels and clubhouse have been submitted, along with a schedule of the range of colours to be used.
Although information required to show the parcels of development (Condition 3) was submitted and approved by the council earlier in the year, it has since been realised that those for Projects 1 and 2 need to be updated to reflect the latest landscaping. Hence, revised versions of these plans have now been submitted. Details of the landscaping works themselves was another requirement (Condition 12), and so detailed plans setting this out have also now been submitted. Proposed landscaping for the phase 1 of the Holiday Village 1 includes new indigenous tree and whip planting, shrubs, climbers up the lodges and barrels façades, and turf in the circulation area. The proposed landscaping scheme across the reconfigured car parks includes new indigenous tree, shrub and herbaceous planting around the car parks’ boundaries. In respect of the tarmacking of Car Park E, the Resort were required to submit details of the proposed surfacing (Condition 19), and have now done so.
A standard condition around drainage (Condition 21) was also attached to the initial approval, and so detailed drainage drawings have now been submitted. Another relatively standard condition required the submission of a Construction Environmental Management Plan (CEMP) before development on certain projects could commence (Condition 8). This sets out a construction sequence, working hours, and general site management. With details required of the tree protection measures to be implemented during both the construction and operational phases of the developments (Conditions 10 and 11), the Resort have now submitted the necessary reports and plans to address this. There was another standard condition requiring archaeological investigations to be undertaken at the development sites (Condition 17). The Resort set out how they would complete this evaluation in information submitted earlier in the year. The results of this work has now been submitted, confirming that there does not appear to be any archaeological potential at the sites.
Two conditions required further details relating to the security and access control of both projects (Conditions 15 and 16). The Resort has therefore submitted a Crime Prevention Strategy and Security Needs Assessment, prepared in consultation with Thames Valley Police, in respect of phase 1 of the Holiday Village. This sets out the known crime risks and how secure by design principles have been considered in the implementation of crime reduction measures. A Car Park Management Plan has also been submitted to address the requirements here.
When the LTP was approved in 2019, this was subject to a S106 legal agreement between the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead and Merlin Entertainments. It is typical for such agreements to be put in place when it is considered that a development will have significant impacts on the local area that cannot be moderated solely through planning conditions. One clause of this required an updated travel plan to be prepared, covering how the Resort would manage both guest and staff travel to and from the Resort, and the impact this has on the local area. This was submitted in June. Another clause required the submission of an Ecology Management Plan, which was provided in August. This is similar to the CEMP, although takes into consideration longer term responsibilities and maintenance. One other notable clause of the S106 agreement mandates the Resort to confirm the number of jobs created once the projects have been completed and in operation for 6 months, in order to ensure that the 60 new full-time positions referred to in the application are realised.
None of these documents appear to provide an intended timeframe for construction on the projects to take place. However, the Resort did state at a local town forum event earlier this year, that they were looking to open phase 1 of the Holiday Village by the end of 2024. This would be consistent with the plans that have recently emerged for the Resort to add a duelling family shuttle coaster, seemingly in 2024.
Nonetheless, the start of construction on phase 1 of the Holiday Village and the car parking reconfiguration has been significantly delayed, with the LTP originally intending for this to have commenced in 2018. This comes as a result of persistent appeals from the Berkshire branch of the Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE) against RBWM’s decision to grant planning permission in April 2019. All avenues to block the implementation of the Resort’s LTP were finally exhausted last December when the application to appeal the decision in the Supreme Court was refused. Documents submitted earlier in the summer, as part of the application to add an indoor Adventure Golf attraction, noted that the Resort have been engaging in consultations to refresh its LTP, due to the delays resulting from the Judicial Review challenge, along with changes to the leisure and tourism market and the impact of COVID-19, undermining the relevance of the previously approved projects.
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