11:33AM, Friday 28 May 2021
The future of the Borough Local Plan (BLP) came under heavy fire at a cabinet meeting on Thursday over concerns relating to Maidenhead Golf Club land.
Cllr David Coppinger (Con, Bray) presented a report detailing the next steps following on from an inspector’s advice letter after the stage 2 examinations were completed at the end of last year.
The council noted no ‘showstopper’ issues with the BLP as the inspector had only asked for one allocation of housing next to Maidenhead railway station to be removed.
“At every stage in this process, the plan carries more weight,” said Cllr Coppinger.
“[The inspector] has only asked us to take out one site in Maidenhead town centre.
“Yes, the plan does include parts of the greenbelt, which, in an ideal world, we would not want to use, but we need homes of every size to meet the demands of families.
“We need family homes, and the only space available is in the greenbelt.”
The report presented to cabinet suggested that the inspector had ‘no in-principle soundness’ over the use of the Maidenhead Golf Course site.
However, a member of the public, Andrew Hill, raised concerns over whether the site would be deliverable.
Mr Hill said: “In April, the golf club wrote to the council and its 700 members saying that the RBWM 074 document contains a number of pieces of information which are inaccurate.
“RBWM seems to have chosen to deliver factual information which has been distorted to confirm to the inspector that the land is available – that sounds to me like a delivery risk.”
Mr Hill said that there was a serious risk to the availability of the golf course, as the club could rescind the agreement as the BLP had not been passed.
“The golf club says that this matter could potentially be put to its members at its next EGM,” he said.
Cllr Andrew Johnson (Con, Hurley and the Walthams) responded by saying that there is no risk to the BLP due to the unavailability of the golf course.
“I am aware of the letter the golf club’s board have sent to its members and the council,” said the leader of the council.
“We have responded fully to that letter within the last couple of days, refuting the allegations raised that we have not sort to meet and engage with them – that is very much not the case at all.”
Cllr Johnson also said that the council would not refrain from the use of compulsory purchase powers if required to secure the site.
"We will do whatever we have to do to deliver that golf course site including the use of compulsory purchase powers."
“We are confident that we a Borough Local Plan that is sound, will meet the required tests and will be in a state we can adopt it, when it is ready, later this year,” he added.
Police were called to the River Thames between Cookham and Bourne End yesterday at about 3pm, to reports that a teenage boy had entered the water but hadn’t been seen to leave.