The key message I want to get across is DON’T WORRY.
Over the last few months a number of planning applications to build on these small plots of land have spread panic and confusion amongst the community in south Dedworth, around Wolf Lane, Franklyn Crescent and Hemwood Road.
This confusion turned to fear as word spread and residents were uncertain of how to deal with the situations.
Having been the local Cllr for a couple of years I have begun to understand the planning process and so what initially looked like an impossible world of legal mumbo jumbo with this plan, that act, NPPF, WNP, this doc, that fiction has become a map of solutions in my mind. We have a team of officers at RBWM with expertise in the various areas that make up the legal planning process and it’s simply a matter of knowing who to turn to.
Years of underfunding has seen many skilled officers leave RBWM thanks to the Tories but the new officers that are in place are looking to plug the holes and move us forward.
I have every confidence in our planning team to ensure prompt and solid decision making, ensuring we are in the strongest legal position to defend any decisions we make. That is the key. Not a knee jerk reaction to a situation. Mind, we might not always like the decisions!
After a recent application on Franklyn Crescent, on receiving a couple of emails from residents and hearing the social media whirl of worried voices, I went to visit those around the application site. My message was “Don’t worry, the officers have this under control.”
The first comment, 3rd Nov, on the Planning Application website for 21/02857 was from an officer making it clear that there were many reasons why the application would not be granted but fear had been spread needlessly when it could have been calmed by those with a modicum of experience of the planning process.
The most rewarding thing for me was visiting one of the elderly residents last week to reinforce this message and I could see his whole demeanour had changed. He was empowered after our last conversation and felt in control of the situation. I gave him more tools, should he need them, to facilitate a rapid response should any illegal actions be taken by buyers believing themselves above the law.
A couple of trees were felled at the top of Wolf Lane mid Dec. I can’t bring myself to say “landowner” as even though they bought the land, it is covered by so many protections, any action to remove or add a twig to the plot requires permission from RBWM. This illegal act, questioned by residents, has seen our tree team create a case file and crime reference number with Thames Valley Police and I have asked them to take the strongest action to discourage other plot owners from taking similar action.
Then there was the recent application 21/03236 in the area, corner of Duncannon Crescent and Hemwood Road, which was withdrawn by the applicant on Christmas eve after discussions with officers.
If you see strangers removing trees or bushes from the open plan areas of Dedworth then please contact the tree team firstname.lastname@example.org asap copying me in Cllr.Davey@rbwm.gov.uk and action will be taken.
If you hear of planning applications for these auction plots of land then most importantly, DON’T WORRY unnecessarily. There is a process. It might take longer than a few minutes but officers will make any applicant aware of the obstacles to them building their dream home and most will respond by withdrawing their applications. Others will be refused by officers.
I put this web page together to help those who would like to understand the process better www.planningwindsor.co.uk
So again, please don’t worry unnecessarily.
If you are concerned about something then email me Cllr.Davey@rbwm.gov.uk