Parish council criticises Royal Borough's plan for borough's future development

Adrian Williams

Adrian Williams

Bray Parish Council (BPC) has criticised the Royal Borough’s plan for future developments across the borough, calling many of the proposals ‘vague’ or lacking adequate consideration.

BPC was responding to the Borough Local Plan, which sets out the developments the Royal Borough will be looking to make up until 2033.

A second round of public hearing sessions for discussing the plan are scheduled in October and November. An independent planning inspector has issued a series of questions to guide the discussion.

Responding to these questions, BPC’s first concern was that the revised plan does not take into account COVID-19 changes, such as the possibility of less use of public transport and more reliance on private vehicles.

BPC also felt there was a ‘paucity of analysis’ relating to pollution and related health effects on roads adjacent to the A308, marked for development.

“Bray Parish Council finds it entirely unacceptable that the council’s emerging plan does not consider that the matter is worthy of comment,” the parish council wrote.

It also said there is no information concerning the grading of the agricultural land which would be lost at one of the sites, Site Allocation AL26.

The agricultural land there is assessed as Grade 3a – the best and most versatile agricultural land.

“The Parish Council does not consider that the vague references… to alternative provision of allotments, community gardens or orchards will in any meaningful way compensate for the loss of high quality agricultural land,” wrote BPC.

The response also highlighted that the plan did not outline the exceptional circumstances that would justify building 560 houses on 58 hectares of greenbelt land.

BPC also observed that, in aiming to meet the assessed housing need in the borough, the Royal Borough has gone over the top, with plans to build more than 2,000 new houses ‘for which no actual need has been established.’

In response to the conerns, Cllr David Coppinger (Con, Bray), lead member for planning and Maidenhead, said: “The hearings [in October and November] will consider a range of matters and issues including the plan’s spatial strategy, future housing provision and the policy framework for specific sites.

“The council have been responding to matters raised by the Inspector since the last hearings and look forward to the sessions later this year.”

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