Residents raise concerns over development in South West Maidenhead

Building height, traffic issues and infrastructure are among the issues which have been raised during a consultation over development in South West Maidenhead.

At a public meeting on Wednesday, July 27, planning officers discussed feedback from residents given at three drop-in sessions on the consultation on the draft South West Maidenhead Development Framework Supplementary Planning Document (SPD).

The document sets out the vision for development in the area, including the highly-controversial Maidenhead Golf Course site.

At the online meeting, Ian Motuel, the Royal Borough’s planning policy manager, explained that a lot of the popular topics at the sessions were similar to the early engagement messages.

He added that ‘several’ people were asking why housing was needed now as the number of projected households needed for the area has changed, while others thought there was ‘too much development’ and the density of houses would be too high.

People also voiced concerns about how many storeys the blocks of flats would be, particularly at the northern end of the site.

Other topics raised included traffic and transport issues, such as where the cars would go and ‘whether or not the road improvements would be sufficient to mitigate the additional traffic’.

Mr Motuel added that several people also asked about vehicle access into the housing site – in particular, whether Harvest Hill Road would be wide enough.

He added that people also asked about infrastructure, including schools, the health provision, public transport provision, air pollution, and what would happen to existing doctors’ surgeries.

Mr Motuel explained that a ‘strong concern’ was also raised over whether the housing would be ‘genuinely affordable’ and added that ‘many people’ expressed concern over biodiversity, green corridors for wildlife, the loss of trees and issues around carbon emissions and the need to ‘compensate for that in terms of climate change’.

Topics also included the time it would take to build the housing and the disruption it would mean for residents.

Mr Motuel said: “These were some of the key messages that we heard loud and clear from the three engagement sessions, and I’d just like to thank everybody that turned up to those.

“We had some good conversations, quite robust at times but it was very helpful for us.”

Mr Motuel added that the team will look at all the comments received and issues raised ‘very carefully’ and will then revise the SPD to address those comments as ‘as far’ as they can.

He added that they will be aiming to complete the work in late autumn and will then be taking the report back to cabinet, which will decided whether to adopt the document as the supplementary planning document.

Mr Motuel added that, once adopted, the plan will not have development plan status but will possess ‘considerable weight’ for when planning applications are received.

Cllr Phil Haseler (Con, Cox Green) thanked the public for attending the consultation events and providing comments.

He encouraged them to submit comments before the deadline at midnight on Wednesday, August 17.

He added: “The officers will continue working hard, considering all of the consultation comments in preparation of the final supplementary planning document.

“Thank you again everyone for participating in this process. It’s incredibly important.”

Documents can be viewed at Maidenhead Library. For more information on the consultation and how to respond, visit: https://www.rbwm.gov.uk/home/planning/planning-policy/non-development-plan/placemaking/placemaking-and-south-west-maidenhead 

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