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Concerns raised about greenbelt sites at Borough Local Plan public meeting

Tensions rose at a public meeting as more than 150 residents packed into Saxon's Barn to discuss development in the Borough Local Plan.

The meeting, organised by the Oakley Green and Fifield Residents Association (OGFRA) saw residents question Bray ward councillors about why greenbelt sites were not being protected.

Rod Ball, chairman of OGFRA, began the meeting at the barn in Dedworth Road on Thursday  by introducing the sites earmarked for development in the BLP in the Bray Parish.

They include the two garden centres, land near Bray lake, the Green Triangle and Water Oakley Farm.

He said: "We as residents rely on the borough to protect our green fields on our behalf. This council have failed to do that.

"The borough promised not to reduce the gap between Windsor and Maidenhead.

"Whatever our feelings are, none of us between towns want to be joined up together."

The BLP, if adopted, is a scheme which is intended to unite development policy for a range of areas. The borough has set itself a target of building 13,528 homes over the 19-year period which has been set – the equivalent of 712 per year.

Rod said he was concerned 1,355 of these homes would be in the parish and there would be more cars on the A308, a loss of public amenities, pressure on infrastructure including doctors and GP surgeries, and flooding issues.

Questions from members of the public included why the consultation period was held over Christmas and how the sites had been chosen.

Responding to concerns, Cllr Derek Wilson (Con, Oldfield) cabinet member for planning, explained why the borough had to meet its accessed need.

"The reason for us to meet them is because a lot of local neighbouring authorities are trying to push their housing into the Royal Borough," he claimed. "I've had continuous arguments with Slough Borough Council because their number of dwellings is 932 and they are saying we would like you to take some of our housing. I’m saying no, we can take our entire need, and that's what were intending to do. As a result we don’t have to continue with those discussions with neighbouring authorities because we can meet our own need.

"There's an awful lot of people against what we are proposing, that's fair, but we have a consultation process and I would ask that everyone submits their response through that consultation period."

The consultation closes on Friday. Visit www.rbwm.gov.uk to take part.

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