AFTER years in the making, 230 homes are set to be built on the old Heatherwood Hospital site as plans have been narrowly approved.

Developer Taylor Wimpey had plans to replace the Ascot hospital in London Road with a mix of houses and apartments passed at Wednesday’s Windsor and Ascot development management panel meeting.

This mix consists of 14 one-beds, 69 two-beds, and 40 three-bedroom flats – which range from three to five-storeys – and three two-beds, 88 three-beds, and 16 four-bedroom homes.

Plans to redevelop the old 1920s Heatherwood Hospital, where the new hospital is set to open this year, into housing have been works since 2017 when a hybrid planning permission was granted.

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Outline plans on access and layout were considered at that time, which sought if councillors agreed with the development in principle. At this meeting, members were considering a reserved matters application on appearance, landscaping, and scale, which gives Taylor Wimpey the right to develop following from the approved 2017 outline application.

Speaking on behalf of Taylor Wimpey, agent Sarah Isherwood said the 230 homes are on a highly sustainable brownfield site and the development would create a “green gateway” to Ascot as new landscaping and biodiversity will be created.

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The site is proposed to have a parking provision of 368 spaces, 45 of which will have electric vehicle charging points, 432 cycle spaces, and incorporates new landscaping, grassed patches, and public open spaces.

It is ‘not viable’ for affordable homes to be built at the site – but a condition has been added for Taylor Wimpey to contribute £6.35m in off-site affordable housing.

Ascot and Sunninghill councillor Julian Sharpe (Con) said there were “several failings” with the plans, such as the developer not implementing a footpath and cycleway to the train station.

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But due to complications with land ownership with the Ascot Racecourse, it was heard this was “difficult to do”. However, Cllr Sharpe begged to differ.

He said: “Putting people on the moon is difficult. Clearing president Putin out of Ukraine is difficult but getting an agreement from the racecourse for a footpath, which would enable residents to easily and quickly get to the station, which is the nearest transport hub that they have, would be far, far, far more simple and will make their lives much better for the next several years whilst they live there.”

Meanwhile, Ascot and Sunninghill parish councillor Robin Wood criticised the “inadequate” parking levels, believing people will be relying on their private vehicles as buses are every 90 minutes and the shops are too far to walk to.

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Cllr Amy Tisi (Clewer East: Lib Dem) said: “I find the design fairly uninspiring, I have to say.

“I feel like it’s a missed opportunity for something a little bit more prestigious for the location. It’s near the [Ascot] Racecourse. It really could have been a bit more exciting.

“I feel like there’s an extra added pressure of the fact that we know it’s paying for the hospital, which we all of course very much welcome and so time is of the essence to get the houses on the land built.

“But I feel it could have been a little more design-conscious. It’s lacking imagination, in my opinion.”

Four members voted for the plans, three were against, and one abstained.

While councillors gave plans the nod, it is under a string of conditions, such as completing and securing a contribution to the council’s carbon offset fund.