12:00PM, Thursday 13 April 2017
A reshuffle of councillors sitting on a committee that can approve or refuse planning applications is underway.
The Royal Borough's Maidenhead Development Management Panel, which makes decisions about planning applications in the town and can refuse or approve them by taking a vote, is due to shrink from 12 to nine members.
Cllr Claire Stretton (Con, Boyn Hill) found out she had been taken off the panel after receiving a call on Tuesday morning from Tory whip Cllr Christine Bateson (Con, Sunningdale).
She said she had not been given a reason for her removal when interviewed by the Advertiser on Tuesday afternoon.
Also removed was Cllr Philip Love (Con, Belmont), who did not wish to comment.
The identity of the third councillor has yet to be revealed.
Yesterday (Wednesday), council leader Cllr Simon Dudley (Con, Riverside) said he wanted to bring the panel membership closer to the number who sit on the Windsor Urban and Rural development management panels.
“There is no reason Maidenhead should have a greater number of councillors determining applications,” he said.
It left Cllr Stretton concerned that her Boyn Hill ward would not be represented in a committee that currently includes all three Bray councillors and two from Bisham and Cookham.
She said that, as growth and development in Maidenhead continued, it was ‘important’ that those living close to new constructions were represented.
“I have not been given a reason,” Cllr Stretton said.
“It is an important one, a very important one to my residents.
“There is no one representing Boyn Hill residents.”
The panel is now composed of 10 members.
Alongside the Bray and Bisham and Cookham councillors, which now account for half the panel, there is one representative each from Oldfield, Cox Green, Hurley and Walthams, Furze Platt and Riverside.
Cllr Dudley said he had taken the decision to remove the councillors and would ensure Maidenhead’s wards were not left unrepresented in a further reshuffle.
“There will be further changes,” he said, which would take place ‘imminently’.
He added that a councillor can ‘turn up to any meeting’ to give their views.
A new borough-wide development management panel has been set up to determine applications that affect the authority’s area as a whole.
Council leader Cllr Simon Dudley (Con, Riverside) said the panel, chaired by former council leader Cllr David Burbage (Con, Bray), will meet whenever such an application needed deciding on.
Whether an application affects the whole borough will be determined by Cllr Dudley. One possible example includes the redevelopment of Heatherwood Hospital, Ascot.
The panel will not replace the existing Maidenhead or Windsor Rural and Urban development management panels.
Cllr Dudley said that, when the panel is convened, they would try and give as much notice as possible.
“This is all part of the emerging Borough Local Plan,” he said.
The panel is also expected to move its meeting locations around the Royal Borough.
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