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No specific need for housing in Cookham, argues parish councillor

There is no specific need for housing in Cookham, a parish councillor has claimed, as representatives of the village put the finishing touches to their response to the Royal Borough’s Local Plan on Tuesday.

The statement was discussed by councillors at a parish council meeting on Tuesday, January 3, and finalised at the planning meeting this week.

Cllr MJ Saunders called it a ‘constructive and professional response, a good collaborative effort’.

During a discussion about the wider housing need in the borough, Cllr Christine-Ann Jannetta said: “Generically we need more housing, but not specifically in Cookham.”

The Gasholder site in Whyteladyes Lane and land at Strande Park and Long Lane have been included in the plan.

Councillors also chose to include remarks in the response over land at Spencers Farm, due to its proximity to Cookham.

Greenbelt policy is the focus of the council’s response, a document of five sides of A4 paper.

It also argued flood risks at Strande Lane could not be adequately mitigated.

Any developments at the Gasholder site must ‘fully resolve constraints on sewerage capacity’ and be buildings compatible with existing developments nearby, if construction was to go ahead, the response said.

A few adjustments still needed to be made to the response, including the addition of a flood risk argument to the reasons the council did not want Spencers Farm to be included.

Councillors agreed to send the response to the Royal Borough by today (Friday).

At the meeting they also objected to an application by Geoffrey Copas, to convert an agricultural building at Lower Mount Farm, in Whyteladyes Lane, to a dwelling.

Richard Copas said the business needed it for staff who might otherwise not be able to move to the area.

Referring to house prices, he told the meeting: “This is an ongoing problem for us. Just before Christmas, we lost another staff member.

“We are again trying to recruit staff.”

He said some were ‘not willing’ to move and a house in the farm would ‘provide much-needed accommodation for staff’.

Cllr Jannetta expressed concern about setting a precedent for building on the greenbelt.

“I do not think we can support it,” Cllr Andrew Nye added.

A final decision on the application is due from the Royal Borough at a later date.

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  • ADAJA

    11:11, 13 January 2017

    As a life long resident forced out of Cookham due to unaffordable property, this sort of elitist, narrow-minded "NIMBY-ISM" is irritating. Before too long there will be no one left in the Cookhams under the age of 50. There IS a specific need for cost-effective housing to support ALL generations of residents, not just those fortunate enough to buy into the area several decades ago when things were easier...

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