May 1989 the Friends of the Vansittart Road Recreation Ground
were involved in a fight to save this valuable Public Open Space,
from being sold to developers by the Windsor and Maidenhead council
(RBWM). The fight was much helped by an earlier decision in 1952
and previously in 1947 to refuse planning permission in similar
Any attempt in the future to the build upon this Public Open
Space will need to overcome the powerful arguments put forward
during these previous failed applications plus the successful
campaign run in 1989, which also resulted in a refusal following
a further Public Inquiry.
The shortage of Public Open Space in Windsor is well documented
and it would be folly, and tragic, to deny future generations
use of this important area of recreational land in this part
of Windsor. Once lost it can never be recovered and offers of
other recreational areas elsewhere in the town are of no benefit
to the residents around the Vansittart Road Recreation Ground.
This is the decision of the Chief Planning Officer of the County
of Berkshire in June, 1952 at the planning committee that was
considering the application at the time.
Committee - June, 1952
The Use of Vansittart Road Recreation Ground, Windsor,
for Housing Purposes
Chief Planning Officer An application has been received from the Windsor
Borough Council for the use for housing purposes of approximately
10 acres of land at Vansittart Road, Windsor, which has been
allocated in the County Development Plan as a public open space.
The Council's decision was based on the view that in Windsor
there is an overriding need for sites for private building.
Friends Press Release
The Friends Newspaper
There are, however, strong reasons why this land should not be
used for housing purposes. In June, 1947, the Minister of Town
and Country Planning dismissed an Appeal submitted by Mr W. Varney,
the owner of the land, against the refusal of the Windsor Borough
Council as interim development authority at the time, to permit
the development of the land for housing purposes. It was stated
at the inquiry that the Borough Council considered this site
was the last piece of open ground in the centre of this residential
area suitable for a recreation ground. Representations on behalf
of 356 local residents were made, emphasising the need for recreational
facilities in this particular area. The Minister in his decision
also considered that the development of this site for housing
would not result in the best use of the land and should in his
view be reserved as a public open space. In consequence of the
Minister's decision, it was agreed that the Borough Council should
purchase the land. Since that time the Borough Council have been
negotiating with Mr Varney for the acquisition of the land, but
they have not yet been able to come to terms. In the meantime
the land is held by the Borough Council on a lease which will
expire on the 29 June, 1953.
In 1951, the Borough Council approved the proposals contained
in the Town Map for Windsor. No objection to this particular
proposal was raised at the Public Inquiry into the County Development
Plan. The land was included in the Development Plan as a public
open space because it is the only area of vacant land not already
reserved for other purposes, which is available to serve an extensive
residential area in the vicinity. The Borough Council themselves
are undertaking considerable housing development to the south
of this site and they have made no provision in their layout
for local recreational facilities for the inhabitants, other
than that which would be provided by this site in Vansittart
In relation to standards advocated by the National Playing Fields
Association, Windsor is deficient in the existing provision of
land for public open space. The development of this 10 acres
of land in the Vansittart Road as a public recreation ground
would help to remedy this deficiency in an area where it is particularly
desirable. It has been stated that adequate land has been allocated
in the Development Plan for open space in the Dedworth area,
but it is at least a mile distant from the Vansittart Road residential
area, and therefore of little value as local recreation ground
to serve the neighbourhood.
Reference has also been made to the need for land for private
housing. In preparing the Development Plan, a very careful analysis
was made of land requirements, including those related to housing
needs, and the adequate land was shown in the Plan for those
purposes. It is not possible to indicate in the Development Plan
land for private development as against that for Local Authority
housing. This is a matter of detail, which is very much the concern
of the Local Authority, but there is no reason why the land already
allocated for housing should not be fairly distributed according
to needs without encroaching onto land reserved for other purposes.
Resolved: That the applications submitted by the Windsor
Borough Council for the development of the Vansittart Recreation
Ground for housing purposes be refused.
Grounds of refusal: That the land is included in the County Development
Plan as a public open space.
F. D. BAZETT, Chairman.
14th May, 1952
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