04:38PM, Thursday 24 October 2019
Cllr David Coppinger brought the amended Borough Local Plan to councillors on Wednesday.
The revised Borough Local Plan (BLP) has been voted through by councillors, potentially paving the way for 14,000 new homes to be built in the borough.
The amended plan was presented at an extraordinary council meeting Wednesday last week, and was accepted by the council despite fierce criticism from opposition councillors, who failed in an attempt to delay a decision by two weeks.
Critics were furious they had been asked to vote on a 400-page document only a week after it was published; and other background documents, some also hundreds of pages long, had only been released hours before the meeting began.
Concerns were also raised about the amount of development in central Maidenhead.
Conservative members praised the plan for the additional homes it will bring to the borough and the increased affordable and social housing it will provide up until 2033.
Cllr Joshua Reynolds (Lib Dem, Furze Platt), said: “The BLP won’t provide an answer to Maidenhead town centre.
“Let’s talk about tall buildings. We know some developers are pushing for 25 storeys.
“They are overbearing and what some people may call the slums of the future.”
He also highlighted a lack of parking as an issue with planned new homes.
“One developer told me it's almost impossible to sell a flat in Maidenhead without a parking space, which begs the question, why are we building flats without parking spaces?
“We need reliable parking and that has to be one space per dwelling. Not 0.4 spaces per house – I don’t have 0.4 cars.”
Conservative councillors argued that if the plan was not voted through, the borough would lose control over where future housing developments were placed.
Leader of the council, Cllr Andrew Johnson (Con, Hurley and Walthams), said: “You either have a proper plan or you are at the mercy of the market.
“It’s detrimental to talk down on a town as great as Maidenhead, a centre of business where people want to come and invest.
“We will seek to make further amendments relating to biodiversity, sustainable development and developments like full fibre and the roll-out of 5G.”
At least 50 members of the public attended the meeting, asking questions about the plan’s impact on the environment and traffic concerns.
Cllr David Coppinger (Con, Bray), lead member for planning, assured the public that many environmental issues raised by the public would be discussed and resolved by a cross-party working group.
Cllr Karen Davies (Lib Dem, Clewer East) a member of the group, which has met only twice, said it would need more resources to resolve the problems.
A motion was then tabled by Cllr Simon Werner (Lib Dem, Pinkneys Green) to delay a vote on the plan by two weeks.
He argued this would give councillors a chance to read through the plans properly and then meet with representatives from Wild Maidenhead and the Royal Borough Climate Emergency Coalition to ensure their concerns were properly addressed.
This motion did not pass, with 17 votes for and 21 against.
Councillors then proceeded to vote on the plan itself, which was passed, with 22 for, 15 against and one abstaining.
A public consultation will take place from Friday, November 1 to Sunday, December 15.
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