01:00PM, Thursday 18 June 2020
A petition has called for a ‘Maidenhead Great Park’ to be created close to the town centre.
The 132-acre Maidenhead Golf Club, which is leased from the council, is earmarked for a 2,600-home development in the Borough Local Plan.
Members of a new campaign group Create Maidenhead’s Great Park have called on the council to abandon these plans in favour of creating a green space that will protect wildlife and can be enjoyed by the public. So far more than 600 people have signed its petition.
Campaign leader Tara Sutthoff Crist said: “We have a unique ‘once in a generation’ opportunity to create a new park in the centre of our town for everyone to enjoy and bene-fit from.
“Creating Maidenhead Great Park will conserve and protect the trees, rolling parkland and rich wildlife habitats currently leased by Maidenhead Golf Club.
“The coronavirus pandemic has shown us even more clearly the importance of access to green space for everyone. During lockdown, many people have discovered the beauty of this green space in the heart of our town and witnessed that it is rich in biodiversity, and not just a golf course.”
In the Borough Local Plan, the council has committed to building about 8,000 new homes between now and 2033, and a sizeable proportion of that allocation is earmarked for the golf course.
The council is required by the Government to meet this housing commitment.
Tara said: “We understand the need for new homes but access to green space is vital.
“Our society has been dramatically altered by the effects of the coronavirus pandemic and we need to totally rethink plans for how our town will be developed.
“Less office and shop space will be needed, so these brownfield sites can now be turned into homes instead.
“Many of the new homes that have already been built in our town are flats without access to outdoor living space, and many more flats are planned.
“People, especially children, need space to explore and move around to stay fit and happy. ”
Council leader Cllr Andrew Johnson (Con, Hurley and Walthams), was critical of the petition.
He said: “It does feel like it’s not really managing people’s expectations and may have been misleading in terms of what can be delivered on the site.
“If we don’t deliver houses on that site we’d have to find room for 2,000 homes across the borough.”
The campaigners have set a target of collecting 8,000 signatures from Royal Borough residents by Decem-ber, before the council submits an official planning application for the site.
To view the petition visit https://petitions.rbwm.gov.uk/MheadGreatPark/
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