11:00AM, Thursday 08 June 2017
An otherwise uneventful parish council meeting ended in a heated debate about the Bray Parish Neighbourhood Plan (BPNP).
Parish councillor Chris Graham complained the Royal Borough had not moved forward with the neighbourhood plan – drawn up by the community to help shape development in the area.
His comments were directed at Cllr Derek Wilson (Con, Oldfield), the only borough councillor present and the RBWM cabinet member for planning.
Cllr Graham said the next stage for the parish plan – which will feed into the Borough-wide Local Plan (BLP) – was an advert in the paper triggering a consultation process. The parish council says it had been pushing for this since November but nothing had happened and progress had been further delayed by purdah restrictions.
The borough is responsible for organising the adoption of the plan, including independent examination and a referendum.
Cllr Graham claims while the BLP was included in purdah restrictions, it did not specifically include neighbourhood plans.
“This is entirely unacceptable. Somebody, somewhere has made a decision on no legal advice. You borough councillors should be thoroughly ashamed of yourselves,” said Cllr Graham. “We have been completely ignored since November.”
But Cllr Wilson said he had seen nothing in the original parish minutes about moving the neighbourhood plan forward, though he alleged they had since been amended.
Cllr Graham responded that ‘as far as he is concerned’ there had been no changes to the minutes, to which Cllr Wilson replied ‘rubbish’.
Cllr Louvaine Kneen, who was chairing the meeting, stepped in asking what the borough’s view was on moving the plans forward tomorrow (Friday) when purdah restrictions will no longer apply.
In response to her calls for a meeting to be set up, both councillors agreed it was not necessary but Cllr Wilson said he would ‘have a discussion’ about moving the plans forward.
Another issue raised by Cllr Graham was that he had not heard back from the borough’s head of planning, Jenifer Jackson, on three occasions.
He said he has made a formal complaint to Royal Borough managing director Alison Alexander.
The Advertiser has contacted the borough for comment.
The meeting took place at Braywood Memorial Hall on Monday.
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