10:35AM, Tuesday 27 October 2020
Developers hoping to build flats in an affluent area of Maidenhead had their plans quashed at a planning meeting last week.
Councillors at the Royal Borough Development Management Panel disagreed with planning officer’s views that the application, at Zaman House in Church Road, should be permitted.
Proposals were put forward for eight new apartments in an area known as The Fisheries, typical of large homes with riverside gardens.
But opposers said the plans were not in keeping with other properties in the area and would be harmful to its character at Wednesday’s Zoom meeting.
Issues surrounding flooding were also raised, despite the applicant claiming the Jubilee River would act as protection.
Mike Parkinson, chairman of The Fisheries Residents Association, said: “The task of the panel members is to look beyond the technical issues and ask themselves, what do we really want this area to look like?”
Bray Parish Council were against the plans, with Cllr Jackie Phillips telling members that eight new flats would cause traffic chaos in nearby roads.
“If two large vehicles try and pass each other in Bray Road, one has to go on the pavement. This would seem a dangerous activity, particularly near a school,” she said.
“Building work and deliveries to eight more households would increase this problem.
“I would ask [for you] to reject this application to allow flats in such a sensitive location. It would be hugely detrimental to the whole area.”
Matt Taylor, representing the applicant, urged councillors to agree with officer’s recommendations.
“We consider this proposal being an asset to Maidenhead and the local community,” he said.
“We are also giving the next generation of residents a more attainable form of housing with the existing housing stock in the estate largely being beyond the realms of affordability for the younger generations.”
Mr Taylor added the proposal’s design meant it would be ‘less intense’ and ‘just as domestic’ as any other house in the estate.
He also said that residents would be equipped with a flood evacuation plan in the ‘unlikely event’ of a flood.
But these claims fell on deaf ears as Mr Taylor’s namesake, Cllr Helen Taylor (TBF, Oldfield), expressing her displeasure of the plans.
“The Fisheries is an established residential area which dates back to 1890,” she said in a speech.
“The area is made up of private, narrow roads and detached houses with spacious plots. It is a unique area filled with a variety of properties.
“It is not an area for purpose-built multi-household properties.”
Cllr Geoff Hill (TBF, Oldfield) added: “I do struggle with this application, it is a well-designed property but for me it seems to be in the wrong place.”
Cllr Leo Walters (Con, Bray), put forward a motion to refuse the application.
He said before doing so: “It’s pretty obvious [this apartment building] would not be sympathetic with local character, nor maintain the sense of place associated with The Fisheries estate.
“We are going to build hundreds of flats in Maidenhead, and I don’t think eight flats is going to make [a lot of] difference.”
The application report also states that the majority of the development site is within ‘Flood Zone 3’ – a high flood risk area – but that various tests have been passed in relation to this.
But Cllr Walters disagreed, He said: “This is an important application. There is a question mark over safety, and I think we would [rue] the day if we allowed this.”
Councillors voted five in favour of Cllr Walter’s motion, with three voting against. Cllr David Cannon (Con, Datchet, Horton and Wraysbury) abstained.