In October 2012, the Princes Foundation brought together over 200 members of the community with the hope of creating a new vision for Ascot.

Between the high street and local economy, community amenities, housing and transport and infrastructure, existing aspects of Ascot and potential changes were analysed for review in the local Neighbourhood plan.

This followed previous rejuvenations within neighbouring towns where the community and developers came together to form a cohesive plan.

Residents and community groups have expressed their fury as a further five years has been added to the timeline due to the disconnect between developers views and community values.

What was the original concept?

The Princes foundation facilitated a series of community events to develop specific strategies, plans and ideas for the town. Ascot was seen as an area that deserves to be looked at in greater detail for a budding rejuvenation.

Ascot High Street was deemed to be the best focal point in the regeneration with room for further spaces for independent businesses and an extension to the South Side of the high street restricted at the time by a Greenbelt.

A substantial community space was also a big factor in the original proposal to cater for theatre, art and music for the people of Ascot and surrounding areas.

Robyn Wood, lead member of finance and chairman of the planning committee said: “It started with the developers and the government drive to have more houses, and effectively what we ended up with was a potential trade off from releasing the greenbelt land.”

Following public consultations, a consortium of developers was assembled by the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead to find a plan for Ascot Rejuvenation that was broadly in line with the community vision.

The rejuvenation was split into three separate stages each comprising of separate developers.

What residents are angry about.

Over the last 11 years, residents and councillors have hit out about the direction that London Square developers are taking the rejuvenation in, including the time line and amendments made that distract from the original neighbourhood plan

With 800 amendments and modifications over the last 2 years, London Square have yet to find a cohesive balance with other developers and the community.

As the other two developers have yet to submit planning applications, the worry is that the three areas will not work with each other.

Individuals that have had a huge involvement with the project include Margaret Morgan from the co-chair of the neighborhood plan consultation group and Patrick Griffin, the chairman of the Society of Protection for Ascot and the Environ (SPAE) that represents around 600 residents and acts as a planning watchdog for Ascot, Sunninghill and Sunningdale.

As the plans have evolved, many people have hit out about delays and amendments to community facilities including the reduction in space for an arts centre.

Margaret said: “Developers somehow think that what is needed is housing but actually the whole thing started with the premise that the community wanted a heart.”

With a strong community spirit and Royal connections, residents hoped this land would give 'Ascot a heart and soul' by creating a central place for residents to meet and congregate.

John Gripton, a keen advocate for Ascot’s rejuvenation and a parish council has spoken to the News about his commitment to providing Ascot with the best rejuvenation possible.

John explained: “My concern is that there has been no new thinking on the proposals for the last ten years.  We now find ourselves in a new era where environment and climate change issues are to the fore. 

“I believe Ascot is uniquely placed to amend our plans to make a significant leap and address the new challenges.  Ascot is to have almost 1200 new homes built in the area on green field sites.  There will be considerable finance available to construct these with the right infrastructure to create a new green town.”


What is happening now?

After 12 years of meetings, consultations, and hundreds of planning applications, planners have stated that it may be another 5 years before the commencement of the project.

Within the planning application for the London Square developers’ section of the project there are 800 documents outlining modifications, objections, changes and so many versions of plans.

The current proposal is for land bounded by Ascot fire station, Station Hill And West of Hermitage Parade And South of High Street Ascot.

This includes:

  • Redevelopment of existing site to provide 1,798.9 sqm flexible commercial floorspace and 278.5 sqm flexible community floorspace (mix of uses within Use Classes E, F1 and F2)
  • 117 dwellings with associated parking, access, open space, landscaping and other associated works.
  • Provision of new public open space with associated hard and soft landscape works, new pedestrian and cycle paths and children's play area

Robyn wood explained: “London Square have had their application in since 2022 and they’ve continued to modify it.

“The last application for the housing, additional retails/office space and the community centre facilities is currently being considered by planners and I believe shortly they will make their recommendation.”

Wood added: “The individual owners of the sites have yet to submit any plans so we don’t know whether they will gel together as a cohesive plan or whether they are individual applications which will not look at whether they will belong together.”

Despite the council putting a time line on the development of 5 years, London Square Developers expect different results.

A spokesperson from London Square Developers said: “We are working closely with the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead and the local community on our planning application for a new development on Ascot High Street of over 100 high quality houses, apartments, a community centre and retail and commercial space,  set among mature trees and with the provision of a new park.  

“We are hoping for a favourable outcome this Spring/early Summer. Once planning has been granted, London Square will start on site as soon as practically possible, with the aim for completion in summer 2025.”