Residents oppose redevelopment of 'ex drug den' over fears of wildlife harm

Adrian Williams

Adrian Williams

Residents of The Crescent near Maidenhead town centre are concerned about environmental damage and poor planning following an application to construct new houses on land on the street.

Property developers are trying to build on the location for a third time in 18 months – but according to residents it is home to a variety of wildlife including protected slow worms, stag beetles, bats, woodpeckers, red kites and nesting birds.

The proposals are for three houses and three parking spaces east of the Maidenhead to Furze Platt railway line.

The site was acquired by Churchgate Premier Homes last year.

Prior to submitting a planning application for nine flats on The Crescent in 2019, the site was cleared, including the removal of one protected yew tree.

The 2019 application was opposed by more than 100 residents in a petition and received 36 separate objections. The application was refused by the Royal Borough.

A second 2019 planning application for two houses was also refused by the Royal Borough on the basis of impact on the remaining protected trees.

Churchgate Premier Homes has now submitted another application, this time for three houses.

Residents are concerned that the scheme is an overdevelopment, that the housing is not of good design and has insufficient parking provision, increasing pressure on local street parking.

They also object that the plans fail to asses the impact on protected species.

A statement from Paul Ringer and Alison Coignard, who live inn The Crescent, said: “The developers appear to be going ahead with plans to build cramped houses or flats, with no concern for the consequences for other people who use the road.

“We do not object to a reasonable development, such as the one for two houses withdrawn earlier this year, but the developers seem determined to press ahead with over-development of the site, with poorly designed houses and little or no regard to people or wildlife and they need to be stopped.”

The agent for developers Churchgate Premier Homes rebutted claims that the application fails to assess the impact on protected species, saying it contains a ‘robust ecological assessment’.

The spokesperson also said that its parking survey demonstrates that ‘more than sufficient capacity exists’ on The Crescent to fulfil the need for the two on-street parking spaces that would be required in addition to the three Churchgate is building.

“Prior to clearance this site had become overgrown and unmanaged. Unknown to the local community, it was found to contain a drug den comprising a small encampment littered with drug paraphernalia,” said the spokesperson.

“Churchgate Premier Homes seek to avoid the site once again becoming a harbour for crime or antisocial behaviour, by providing a high quality development comprising three family houses.”

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