09:53AM, Wednesday 03 August 2022
Cookham Parish Council has approved a design document it hopes will help shape developments planned for key sites in Cookham – including Strande Park and Lower Mount Farm.
The Cookham Design Code is a design guide that goes along with the Cookham Neighbourhood Plan, which has been in the works for some time.
The Government issues grants of up to £30,000 to successful authorities to incentivise uptake of neighbourhood planning.
The hope is to have the Cookham Neighbourhood Plan ready in September/October and then to put it to a referendum for adoption. It will need the support of 50 per cent of the vote, plus one.
To sit alongside the neighbourhood plan, the Design Code further outlines design guides for sites, hoped to help with three key sites earmarked for development in the Borough Local Plan (BLP).
This is AL36 (Cookham Gas holder on Whyteladyes Lane), AL37 (land north of Lower Mount Farm, Long Lane) and AL38 (land east of Strande Park).
In the BLP, the gas depot site is earmarked for 50 homes, Lower Mount Farm for 200 homes, while Strande Park is marked for 20 homes.
These are controversial sites causing ‘enormous concern’, due to the density of the plans, effects on on-street parking and impact on roads, to name a few.
The Design Code asks questions for consideration by developers, including what parking solutions have been considered, as well as how well plans integrate with existing paths and complement Cookham's character, among other points.
Cookham Parish Council hopes the Design Code, while not binding, will influence developer decisions about how to move forward with proposals.
The parish council has been in meetings with Shanly Homes, which is planning development on Strande Park.
Chairman of the Cookham Parish Council planning committee, Bill Perry, said Shanly has been making changes to its plans as a result of what the parish council has been saying.
He believes the developers understand that a parish council’s view holds some sway with the Royal Borough and its planning officers.
It will be the Royal Borough’s planning team that makes the decision on whether to approve each planning applications for the sites.
“Shanly has realised that councillors listen to councillors – there's an inclination to listen to a fellow elected official representing the voice of his residents,” said Bill.
“I think that's been useful in persuading them that they should pay some attention to the emerging Neighbourhood Plan in their proposals.”
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