01:54PM, Thursday 17 October 2019
More affordable housing, less development on the greenbelt and taller buildings in Maidenhead town centre have been revealed in the updated Borough Local Plan (BLP).
The amended document, which will guide developments in the borough to 2033, was published on Tuesday.
Councillors will vote on the proposed changes at an extraordinary council meeting on Wednesday, but the opposition has slammed the Conservative council for releasing the 400-page document just a week before the meeting.
If voted through, a public consultation will be held on the plan from Friday, November 1 to Sunday, December 15.
Cllr David Coppinger (Con, Bray), cabinet member for planning and Maidenhead, called the amended plan ‘exciting’.
Cllr Coppinger said: “Maidenhead is where it’s all happening, so much of the BLP is linked to Maidenhead, and I am delighted about that.
“It brings together a large number of key issues for us as the Conservative leadership. It enables us to provide the housing we desperately need, but not just any old housing. We will be providing affordable housing, social housing, a complete range.”
The revised plan seeks to build on less greenbelt land.
Eighty-three per cent of the borough is greenbelt land.
The previous plan looked to build on 1.7 per cent (3.8sq km) of this, but the amended plan will only build on 1.1 per cent (2.2sq km).
To compensate for this, developments in central Maidenhead will be built higher up, although it is not yet clear how high.
New sites in central Maidenhead that have been added to the plan include the Nicholsons Centre (500 homes) and St Mary’s Walk (120 homes).
The ‘Triangle’ site, west of the Ascot Road, south of the A308 and north of the M4, has been earmarked for industrial and warehousing units.
The affordable housing provision has also been altered in the updated plan.
The council has maintained its compulsory 30 per cent affordable housing quota on all residential developments with ten or more homes, but the new plan goes slightly further, insisting some large greenfield residential sites provide 40 per cent affordable housing, like Spencer’s Farm (330 homes) between Maidenhead and Cookham.
Cllr Lynne Jones (Ind, Old Windsor) said she was ‘frustrated’ that councillors had to decide whether to vote through the plan so soon after the lengthy document was released.
She said: “As a borough councillor are we being given enough time to understand, challenge and scrutinise this in seven days?
“You can’t challenge it. I am just so frustrated, it’s like deja vu.
“That’s not the way to run a council, it’s very concerning.”
One of the main reasons the original plan had been left in limbo for so long was because there was a flood risk at several of the planned development sites.
Many of these sites have been removed from the plan, and those that remain will be used for commercial rather than residential purposes.
Cllr Coppinger added that he is willing to meet any ‘recognised’ group in the area to brief them in more detail on any part of the plan.
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