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Council says figures released over responses to Borough Local Plan were not misleading

James Harrison

Town hall bosses have denied misleading the public over the last consultation on the Borough Local Plan.

The most recent consultation on the document, which will determine planning policy in the Royal Borough until 2032, including the development of sites such as Maidenhead Golf Club, concluded in January.

At the time, the council released a statement saying more than 7,000 representations had been received over the six-week period – less than a quarter of the 30,000 predicted ahead of its launch.

However, following a Freedom of Information request, it has now been confirmed that those representations could have come from as few as about 2,100 consultees.

This discrepancy appears to have come about because each aspect or area of the plan counts as a separate representation. For example, one submission, either online, by letter or email, could cover several parts of the proposed plan, with each one counted as a ‘representation’ that must be responded to.

When asked if the council had misrepresented the number of people who responded, Cllr Derek Wilson (Con, Oldfield), cabinet member for planning, said no.

He added: “I was asked the question [about the number of representation received] and we put out a press release in response to that question.

“As far as we’re concerned these are the representations that have been made.”

In its January statement, the Royal Borough referenced having received ‘more than 7,000 representations’ but made no reference to the number of individuals, households or organisations which had responded.

According to the FOI submitted by Andrew Cormie, who wrote about it in the Advertiser’s Letters page last week, 2,309 representations were submitted online by 648 ‘individual consultees’.

About 1,500 letters and emails were also sent to the consultation, each of which is expected to contain three of four representations, on average.

Altogether, this means an estimated 2,148 individuals, households and organisations responded to the consultation.

According to the 2011 census, there are more than 140,000 people classed as ‘usual residents’ in the borough.

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