Uncertain future for historic Ramslade HouseBy Hugh Fort
November 01, 2011
There are fears over the future of an historical Bracknell building after new leisure facilities were approved for a huge housing estate.
Bracknell Forest Council planning committee decided to allow two separate applications from Taylor Wimpey, which include building a community centre and sports facilities at The Parks Development, off Broad Lane, better known as the former RAF Staff College.
The decision, taken at the planning meeting on Thursday, October 20, means the developer no longer has responsibility for Ramslade House, the former headquarters of the staff college and the only remaining part of the original site.
The first application was for a new community centre, a floodlit multi-games area, a recycling centre and a 57-space car park.
A second application was to remove floodlighting from a proposed rugby pitch in the estate, to scrap plans for a squash court and a teenage play area, and to reduce the number of recycling centres from two to one.
The original planning permission gave the developer the option either to convert Ramslade House into a community centre or to build a new one.
At the meeting, Johan Appell, of The Parks Residents’ Association, said: “We object to the plans in three different areas.
“Number one is building a new community centre when we were promised, when we moved in, that it would be in Ramslade House.
“Number two is we feel there are insufficient changing rooms in the new building.”
Thirdly, he said there were also concerns about anti-social behaviour surrounding a teenage shelter near the multi-use games area and that residents are frustrated by Taylor Wimpey’s refusal to reveal its plans for Ramslade House.
David Lander, on behalf of Taylor Wimpey, said it was too expensive to convert Ramslade House and the only option was to build a new community centre.
He added the company would be consulting with people over the future of the former headquarters building.
Councillor Chris Turrell said: “The residents on the site are very concerned about Ramslade House and it is absolutely unfair to people who have made the single biggest purchase of their lives not to be told what the developers plan for that building area.”
Richard Ireson, a governor at Ranelagh School, said removing the floodlighting from the rugby pitch would impact on a vital facility for schoolchildren around Bracknell.
Mr Lander explained that it was not possible to light both the rugby pitch and the multi-use games facility.
A third application by the developers to change the location of planned flats to higher ground was also approved.
Afterwards Mr Appell said: “The concern is now Ramslade House falling into total disrepair or they will knock it down to build more houses or flats.”