03:23PM, Friday 21 February 2020
Plans for 80 new homes and open space on land south of Ray Mill Road East were rejected by councillors.
At a Royal Borough planning committee meeting at Maidenhead Town Hall on Wednesday, members voted seven against and four in favour of the application.
Councillors were impressed by the level of affordable housing proposed with the scheme – 47 per cent – and the restoration of some green space, but were divided over the issue of flooding on the site.
Planning officers recommended councillors refuse the plans over the land being located in a flood zone with no apparent safe escape. The Environment Agency were against the scheme.
Officers’ reasons for refusal also included the absence of a signed legal agreement to secure the affordable units, however the applicant did indicate its ‘willingness to enter into an agreement to secure these matters’.
CALA Homes wanted to construct 17 one-bedroom, 18 two-bedroom, 17 three-bedroom and 28-four bedroom homes, and public open space.
Representing the applicant, Douglas Bond said there is ‘a great need’ for new homes in the Royal Borough, and reiterated that this site would be at a low flood risk.
“The officers report accepts there are no other sites in the borough to meet these needs,” Mr Bond said.
“A large part of Maidenhead is at risk of flooding, however this site would only flood in a one in a hundred year event.
“In the very unlikely event of a flood, the dwellings would remain 100 per cent dry, as the proposed floor levels are above any predicted flood level.”
But councillors were not swayed by Mr Bond’s speech.
Cllr Josh Reynolds (Lib Dem, Furze Platt), a keen affordable housing advocate, said: “I think it is great we have a site which is showing a high level of affordable housing, but it is a shame about the flood risk and I do not think we can ignore the Environment Agency.
“It is regrettable, but I do not think I can support the progress of this application, even with all the things I have been shouting about for the past year.”
Cllr Leo Walters (Con, Bray), added: “It is a great shame we can’t build these houses. I do not think we can go any further.”
Cllr Helen Taylor (TBF, Oldfield), said: “This scheme has many pluses but I can’t get around the fact that this is in a flood zone. I can’t support something that could possibly put residents’ lives at risk.”
Cllr Gurpreet Bhangra (Con, Boyn Hill) and Cllr Maureen Hunt (Con, Hurley and Walthams) were in favour of the scheme, with the latter putting forward a motion to approve it.
But it was ultimately defeated with seven councillors voting against. Cllr’s Bhangra, Hunt, Cllr Geoff Hill (TBF, Oldfield) and Cllr Gurch Singh (Con, St Mary’s) were in favour of the motion.
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