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Volunteers needed to create a Maidenhead neighbourhood plan

A forum is being assembled to co-ordinate a neighbourhood plan for Maidenhead, which will help with planning applications in areas without a parish council.

The new Maidenhead Neighbourhood Forum (MNF), which will develop the document, is looking for new members to help.

Neighbourhood plans are taken into consideration when developers submit planning applications and they allow communities to set out a vision of what kind of construction should take place in an area.

It will sit next to the Borough Local Plan, which guides developments across Windsor and Maidenhead.

MNF wants people to help develop planning policies for six Maidenhead wards which don’t have a parish council.

Typically, parish councils develop neighbourhood plans but the forum will provide one for Maidenhead’s wards that don’t have a body to do so.

It is a continuation of the Maidenhead and Cox Green Neighbourhood Plan Steering Group (MCGNP) – but Cox Green, which has its own parish council, will no longer be part of the group’s scope.

The forum’s acting chairman, Martin McNamee, who is also Maidenhead Civic Society’s planning chairman, said that ‘current legislation regarding the NP (neighbourhood plan) process requires that parish councils submit their own NP and that unparished wards submit a NP through a neighbourhood forum’.

“It is no longer considered legitimate to mix unparished wards with a parish council as was the case with MCGNP.”

“To be properly constituted and recognised by the planning authorities, MNF requires a minimum of 21 members,” he added.

He said there is a core of ‘seven or eight active participants’ who are also ‘mature and male’ and he hopes applications will come in from all ages, genders and ethnicities who live or work in Maidenhead.

Elected councillors from the six wards covered by the forum – Belmont, Boyn Hill, Furze Platt, Oldfield, Riverside and the new town centre St Mary’s ward – are also welcome to join.

“Applicants only need to care about their town and where it is going,” Mr McNamee said.

“Joining MNF is an opportunity to participate in drawing up guidelines and policies to complement and improve the upcoming Borough Local Plan.”

A lot of work on a draft neighbourhood plan has been completed by the old MCGNP, and ‘many policies’ have been drafted, Mr McNamee said, but work is needed to finalise policy, move on to a consultation and legitimise the MNF as a group which can create a neighbourhood plan.

Anyone interested can join by emailing martinjmcnamee@yahoo.co.uk

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