Council could limit building on greenbelt
The two recent demonstrations attended by a large number of residents including young families outside Maidenhead Town Hall show the concern at the planned proposal by the council to build 2,000 homes on Maidenhead Golf Course.
This wonderful green space makes a significant contribution to the health and wellbeing of all residents in Maidenhead.
If it is developed it will have the opposite effect.
Researching my files I came across a very relevant article which appeared in The
Times as far back as 2017.
The article was written by Ben Webster, environment editor and I am quoting from relevant sections from the article he wrote under the heading ‘Councils ignore powers to limit housebuilding on the green belt’:
“Some local authorities choose to protect their greenbelts but others accept much higher housing targets and allow developers to build on environmentally valuable land.
“The different approaches mean some areas are being earmarked to have thousands more homes than necessary, according to research by the Campaign to Protect Rural England.
“The National Planning Policy Framework NPPF), introduced in 2012, requires all councils to determine their ‘objectively assessed need’ (OAN) for housing, which is the number of new homes required to meet both market demand and social need.
“Councils do not have to accept the targets produced by the assessment if they have large amounts of greenbelt or other protected land.
“Brighton and Hove Council has set a target of 13,200 homes by 2030, less than half the 30,120 determined by its OAN.
“Watford, Hastings and Crawley have also set targets of only half their assessed need.
“By contrast, the Royal Borough of
Windsor and Maidenhead is planning to meet its full OAN of 14,200 homes by 2033 despite 83 per cent of the borough being greenbelt.”
Together with others, I attended several meetings with (former council leader) Simon Dudley, other councillors and twice with Theresa May in an effort to persuade the council to preserve the golf course (Councillor Coppinger please note).
We even asked the council if they would consider a partial development and leave a large section of the course as parkland or a nine hole golf course for the public to enjoy.
We were met with an emphatic ‘no’ to these suggestions.
The current council leader appears to think the same.
It is my view that the council deliberately wants to build the maximum number of new homes as specified in the OAN in an attempt to justify building on Maidenhead Golf Course in particular.
It is all about money, very large sums of money that the council would receive by selling the golf course to developers, thereby giving no thought whatsoever to the environmental damage such a development would cause.
The only way to prevent this from happening is to make the council aware that public opinion throughout the town is against the unnecessary decimation of the green belt, especially the golf course.
Please make your views known by contacting your local councillor.
GEORGE MIDGLEY Walker Road