Chris Evans’ plans to build 14 luxury apartments at the site of his dilapidated Ascot mansion have received a boost.

This comes after Natural England told the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead (RBWM) it had no objections

to the proposals.

After being asked to

assess the plans

, the public body commented: “Based on the plans submitted, Natural England considers that the proposed development will not have significant adverse impacts on statutorily protected sites or landscapes.”

The news comes as a rare positive step for Virgin Radio DJ Evans, whose plans have received setbacks in recent months.

In April, the News told how the applicant

hit a stumbling block

after an RBWM ecology expert discovered roosting bats and other wildlife at the site.

The officer suggested the plans would harm the mammals, and advised proposals could only go ahead if actions were taken to ensure bats were not disturbed.

Natural England’s lack of objection will bolster Evans’ plans after RBWM’s ecology guru recommended the applicant needed the all clear from the organisation.

But developers also need to make sure bird and bat boxes and wildlife-friendly landscaping is introduced to ensure biodiversity around the site.

A few weeks before the ecology officer’s report,

Sunninghill and Ascot Parish Council

(SAPC) objected to the proposals.

The authority pointed out how the development would mean building in the countryside and new luxury homes would be out of character with other houses in the area.

Objections were also received from neighbours, including one from Adrian Newey, chief technical officer of Red Bull Racing F1 team.

In his letter, Mr Newey wrote about his concerns about the impact of the development on the local community, traffic, infrastructure, noise and accessibility to the site.

The proposal involves knocking down the derelict eight-bedroom house which currently occupies the site on Church Lane in Sunninghill.

Eight of the 14 apartments would be three-bedroom homes and the other six would be two-bedroom dwellings, all of which are expected to fetch millions of pounds on the market.

The application is pending consideration.