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Claires Court campus plans recommended for refusal

Plans for Claires Court to move its senior boys and girls campuses to its greenbelt land at Maidenhead Thicket have been recommended for refusal.

A package of five planning applications, which include outline plans for new houses and sports facilities, have been opposed by residents who formed the Cox Green Says No campaign.

They have criticised the plans to develop the land off Cannon Lane, on traffic grounds, and have been angered at the proposed development of the greenbelt.

The council’s planning officers recommended the Maidenhead Area Development Management Panel rejects all five applications.

“Cox Green has been joined in saying no by the RBWM planning officers – we’re delighted,” the Cox Green Says No campaign posted on Twitter.

“Now we hope that the development panel will concur with residents,

cross-party councillors and the legal experts to refuse this major development on greenbelt.”

Cllr Phil Haseler (Con, Cox Green), who spearheaded the campaign and won election to the borough council in May, said: “It (is) reassuring that planning

officers have identified the same issues that Cox Green Says No has identified throughout the three-year-plus campaign.”

Cllr Haseler sits on the panel but will not vote due to the conflict of interest.

Claires Court wants to move its senior boys’ school, in Ray Mill Road East, Maidenhead, and its nursery, junior, senior girls and sixth form schools, in College

Avenue, Maidenhead, to join its junior boys’ school in Ridgeway, an area in Maidenhead Thicket, mostly in the greenbelt.

Its school sites in College Avenue and Ray Mill Road East would then make way for housing.

Council officers have determined that the campus plans in the Ridgeway would constitute ‘inappropriate development in the green- belt’ and would harm the character of Maidenhead Thicket.

It would lead to the loss of open space and ‘it has not been demonstrated that the open space is surplus to requirements’.

“We are disappointed and somewhat surprised by the recommendation for refusal as the officers in their report agree that there are no suitable alternative sites for a new school campus in the borough, that Maidenhead Hockey Club do need to relocate to new facilities and new homes are required to meet local needs.

“The report also acknowledges that concerns relating to highways and ecology have been addressed and we have received positive feedback from a number of consultees including from Sport England.”

“We remain confident in the merits of our proposals based on the all of the benefits it will bring (and) we look forward to the planning meeting next week.”

The panel is due to meet on Wednesday at Maidenhead Town Hall, where its members will decide whether to permit or refuse the application.

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