DEMOLITION of the Windsor Garden Centre to make way for a new Aldi store has been described as a ‘war zone’ by an angry bed and breakfast owner.
In October 2020, councillors on the Royal Borough Development and Management panel approved plans to demolish the garden centre on Dedworth Road and redevelop it into a discount supermarket with 113 car parking spaces.
Demolition works started a few weeks ago, prompting concerns from Pat Morrish, owner of the Old Farmhouse, which is a 14th Century Grade II* listed B&B building and adjacent to the Aldi site, who said the noise, dust, and vibrations has been “horrendous” since it began.
Mrs Morrish described the site as a ‘war zone’, adding: “I’m worried about the Old Farmhouse in particular because there’s clearly no foundations in a building of that age.
“I can hear in my house, which is also on the same site but further away, all the vibrations and they were digging up the concrete this morning [Wednesday, March 10].
“It’s just awful. You stand on the drive and you can feel it, and you can see the fence vibrate.
“So, what it’s doing to the farmhouse I just do not know.”
She added had the B&B, which is closed due to Covid-19, been opened, she couldn’t take any bookings because of the disturbances coming from the site.
Mrs Morrish is also the co-founder of the Cardinal Clinic psychiatric hospital on Oakley Green Road, which is not far from the site and has been providing mental health services for over 40 years, adding the noise and vibration disturbance from the demolition and future construction will impact their patient’s mental health as they need peace and quiet.
She said: “It’s already a traumatic thing for somebody of that age group [young people] to go and talk about whatever is happening in their lives whether that be school, home, or friendships.
“To talk about that and have this constant interruption going in the background with noise and then suddenly the whole building shakes is just impossible.”
She added, they also had to close their out-patient department for adolescents and children with mental illness – which is on the boundary – temporarily because of the excess noise.
An Aldi spokesperson said: “We have measures in place to limit noise and have been working closely with our partners to minimise the impact of the works on those nearby.
“All demolition and construction work is being delivered in line with the construction management plan submitted to the council.”
A council spokesman added: “We appreciate that demolition and construction work can cause a degree of disturbance, but they are activities which are reasonable and necessary.
“Demolition is a relatively short-lived activity which will give rise to some noise, vibration and dust. In this case, the contractor appears to be complying with the relevant legislation and guidance with regard to minimising the impact and working at appropriate times.
“The council will be sending a standard letter containing advice about noise and dust to the developer.”
However, Mrs Morrish said the construction management plan only made reference to the hours when the construction could be a disturbance and it made no requirement on how much of a disruption the developers could cause.
Mrs Morrish believes the Aldi application should “never have been passed” knowing the negative impact the site would have on the Grade II* listed building and on the clinic’s patient’s mental health.
“I’m absolutely certain that had one of the councillors lived on this site, this would’ve never happened,” Mrs Morrish said.