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Opposition councilor calls on council to be more transparent over Borough Local Plan consultation process

An opposition councillor has urged the council to be more ‘open and transparent’ after slamming the Borough Local Plan consultation process.

Councillors discussed a petition which urged the council to restart the Borough Local Plan (BLP) Regulation 19 consultation at the housing and overview scrutiny panel on Tuesday, August 15.

Anu Chawla presented the petition on behalf of Andrew Cormie, which was signed by more than 430 people  and demanded the consultation be restarted so residents could comment on any aspect of the plan.

Earlier this month the council agreed to extend the BLP consultation by a further month following legal advice from a resident action group which said the consultation has been unlawful by restricting resident comments to the ‘technical and legal soundness’.

Cllr Richard Kellaway (Con, Bisham and Cookham), chairman of the panel, said: “Personally I don’t understand how there was a problem. It’s been quite clear from the beginning anyone could comment on what they wish.

“I think it’s fundamental we do point out on behalf of the council that you have had success, as the period has been extended.

“That is ample time to make comments.”

Cllr Malcolm Beer (Ind, Old Windsor) said that Cllr Derek Wilson (Con, Oldfield), cabinet mem-ber for planning, had specifically said it was a limited response before.

He said: “This raised alarm bells for me.

“We were told there were limited grounds for comment but there has been no local plan working group for the past year to consider what was going on.

“The latest thing in these entire mysterious goings-on, is the council has taken legal advice but will not let the public see what it says.

“At least four Conservative councillors have seen this, that we the public are paying for.

“We are supposed to be open and transparent, let’s have some of it please.”

Cllr Kellaway accused Cllr Beer of political grandstanding and Cllr Michael Airey (Con, Bray) said it was made ‘perfectly clear’ in a public meeting what the scope of the comments would be.

Visit www.rbwm. gov.uk for more information about how you can comment on the BLP.

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