A public space improvement scheme in Windsor starts next week and is one of the key priorities for the Royal Borough of Windsor & Maidenhead as it supports local recovery post COVID-19.
The work is part of a scheme to inject £2.4 million into Windsor, to ensure it continues to be a world class visitor destination and a safe and pleasant place for residents and visitors to enjoy, after the pandemic.
The work, starting on Monday 1 March, will see a series of small holes dug on Castle Hill outside Windsor Castle, is to understand what is underground. This is being done in advance of the next stage of improvement works due to take place in May.
This scheme is the result of a four-week public consultation that took place in December and January, on proposals aimed at increasing visitor expenditure, economic growth within the town and improving the overall experience and safety for residents and visitors around Windsor Castle.
The council asked for the public’s views on the widening of the footpath on the southern side of Castle Hill, the timed closure of Castle Hill to vehicles and the implementation of a protective barrier near the Queen Victoria Statue for improved safety.
Residents, businesses, and stakeholder groups took part in the consultation, with two thirds of respondents in favour of the proposals.
Councillor Gerry Clark, lead member for transport and infrastructure, said: “Thank you to everyone who took part in the consultation, we have listened to your feedback and are moving ahead with these improvements which will enhance the area outside Windsor Castle and make it a more enjoyable and safer space for residents, businesses and visitors alike, while at the same time maintaining the historical nature of this area.
“This initial work is another important and necessary step in a project that will improve visitor safety but also create a more pleasant and enjoyable space for everyone as well as helping local businesses improve their offer by increasing the space available for outdoor seating and dining.”
When the scheme is completed there will be a wider footpath on the southern side of Castle Hill from its junction with High Street to the junction with St Alban’s Street creating more space for pedestrians.
A protective gate will be installed behind the Queen Victoria statue on Castle Hill to make it a more pedestrian-friendly area during the opening hours of the castle’s visitor centre.
The gate will be closed between the hours of 9.30am and 4.30pm and will be manned by a member of staff from the castle who will be able to allow vehicles access if required. Outside of these hours, the gate will remain open.
Bollards will also be installed on St Alban’s Street at its junction with Castle Hill to stop traffic, making St Alban’s closed to through traffic with limited access only from the southern end.
During the first stage of work taking place on Monday 1 March, the area that will become the wider footpath on the southern side of Castle Hill, will be cordoned off with barriers to ensure the holes are safe, to create more space for pedestrians and to observe what impact the change has on traffic in the area.
During the first stage of work there will be limited disruption to traffic. Access for vehicles along Castle Hill will be retained in both directions, though on a narrower carriageway, mirroring the proposed completed project. During this period St Alban’s Street will remain open.
The work is part-funded by the Thames Valley Berkshire Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) and supported by further funding from the council as part of its ongoing commitment to support the current and future needs of the town, its residents and businesses and to be a borough of innovation and opportunity.