Passions rose at Bray Parish Council as members agreed the ‘green triangle’ site should not be used as a ‘bargaining chip’ in the borough local plan.
The site, which is between the M4, A308 and A330, has been earmarked as an employment site, and will be defined as an industrial area in the draft version of the plan. This would see the land taken out of the greenbelt.
Cllr Derek Wilson (Con, Holyport) explained the site would most likely be used for the next ten years as a compound
for work turning a stretch of the M4 into a Smart Motorway.
He added: “You currently have a highways depot on that site. There is a proposition to have a large depot on the site for the Smart Motorway.
“That is a national infrastructure project of which none of us, in the borough or the parish, have any influence over whatsoever, because it’s a government decision to take over the site and do with it what they wish.
“If you are using the site for Smart Motorway, and therefore changing the definition of the use of the land, you suddenly think, ‘well it’s an obvious site because it’s close to the motorway network’.”
He said an economic development needs assessment showed there was a shortfall of warehousing and changing the designation of the site could meet that need.
Cllr Wilson explained: “You have to look at the quality of greenbelt, whether it is so special to conserve it. The triangle is low grade, therefore if we were to release it we could say to the inspector, ‘we’ve listened to what you said, we’ve done this and we’re not going to release any other sites’.”
However, Cllr Leo Walters (Con, Holyport) strongly disagreed and said the decision to take it out of the greenbelt was put in the plan at ‘short notice’ with no real consultation.
He said: “A lot of people in Bray and Holyport are very much against this change of use at last minute from greenbelt, and it’s a large site.
“I admit that I didn’t spot this in the plan but that doesn’t remove fairness or unfairness of changing this thing at the last minute. We should have an opportunity to object to it.”
Cllr Derek Wilson responded that the borough local plan would be discussed at full council at the end of September, and then a consultation would be launched.
Cllr Margaret Pierce (Ind, Bray) expressed concern the site was being used by the borough as a ‘bargaining chip’.
Councillors voted to send a ‘strongly worded letter’ to the Royal Borough requesting the site remains within the greenbelt.
The meeting took place at 7.30pm on Monday, August 15, at Braywood Memorial Hall in Fifield.
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