05:21PM, Monday 06 March 2017
A planning dispute between the Royal Borough and Legoland Windsor has now cost the taxpayer more than £250,000.
The council confirmed today (Monday) it will pay the resort £170,000 to cover its legal fees following a planning inquiry over the building of a proposed haunted house ride.
In October 2015, Royal Windsor Racecourse hosted a four-day inquiry after theme park bosses appealed a decision by Windsor’s urban development control panel to refuse planning permission for the ride.
Planning inspector Robert Parker ruled in favour of the resort and told the borough it would have to stump up legal costs for the hearing for both sides.
A Freedom of Information request by the Express in June revealed the council spent £95,435 to cover its own legal costs, seek professional advice and hire out the racecourse for the inquiry.
But now, after nearly 18 months of discussions, a figure for the resort’s costs has been confirmed.
Council leader Simon Dudley said: “Officers have worked hard to come to a suitable conclusion to pay legal costs following their planning appeal.
“In hindsight this is clearly an unacceptable outcome for our council taxpayers. On becoming leader I ensured there were new processes within the council to minimise the chances of a repeat occurrence.”
Ingrid Fernandes, strategic development director at Legoland, added: “As we continue to progress the resort’s future plans which will benefit the community and Windsor tourism, we hope to work closely with the Royal Borough planning department to avoid this situation happening again.”
The ride, which was initially refused due to concerns over traffic congestion and use of greenbelt land, has still not been built yet.
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