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'Homes blighted' by Windsor Link Railway proposals

Residents near Alexandra Gardens say their homes have been ‘blighted’ by proposals for a new privately-funded railway.

The Windsor Link Railway, led by former Royal Borough councillor George Bathurst, is aiming to build a new rail tunnel in Windsor which would connect the South Western and Great Western lines.

A meeting of the Windsor Town Forum was told that Mr Bathurst had applied to the government for a Development Consent Order (DCO) which, if approved, could require public land to be made available to deliver the multi-million pound project.

But a nearby resident told the forum on Tuesday that the proposals had left homeowners in the area fearing for the future of their properties.

Sally Shanly, who lives in Bridgewater Terrace, said: “Residents have been deeply distressed by all this because they don’t know what’s going to happen to them.

“They are not going to be rehoused, at least within five years, so what’s going to happen when Mr Bathurst knocks us down?”

She added that the threat of homes being compulsory purchased to make way for the project had made it difficult for people to sell.

“Nobody can sell, people are trying to at the moment but it’s proved that we can’t sell,” she said. “There are people that expect to live their lives out there but not under the threat of a CPO (Compulsory Purchase Order).”

The council’s acting managing director, Russell O’Keefe, told the meeting that the scale of the scheme proposed by the WLR, which also includes plans to build hundreds of homes, would be difficult to get approval for from central government.

Mr Bathurst, who was not at the meeting, said it was ‘by no means certain’ that land in Bridgewater Terrace would be needed to deliver the development and that a CPO would be a ‘last resort’ for the project

He added that a DCO had not yet been submitted to government, and said: “The vision isn’t just to build a railway or just to build houses, the vision is to deliver a whole new riverside area that Windsor can be proud of.”

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