The Willows are Weeping over the Borough Local Plan 2022

I recorded my BLP speech as the RBWM videos have very mixed sound and vision quality. RBWM full video at the bottom of this page.

The Borough Local Plan is a document that looks to address the fictitious needs of a government who have shown time and time again that they cannot be trusted to have the best interests of the public at heart. They are more interested in the needs of pension companies, bankers and housing developers.

The BLP says over 14,000 new homes were needed in 2012. Are we sure they are needed in 2022? 

COVID has changed the landscape. Home buyers want gardens and plenty of non-ionised fresh air… 

You can’t expect people to wear masks for 2 years and still want to breathe the same air as hundreds of others in tower blocks?

A BIG Thank You to Bray Parish Council for commissioning their Air Quality Appraisal which details readings, near the proposed AL21 development, already over 3 times the WHO guideline levels before you factor in hundreds of extra cars. I wonder what weight the AQA will carry with planning?

Hearing stories of young people, who bought shared ownership flats, having to drop 10% off the current list price in order to sell, because new flats are still available, tells me there is something very wrong with the property market in 2022.

I recall seeing new home figures during the BLP process quoting half the 2012 estimates. The game has changed, life has changed, so should the BLP.

West Windsor used to have 2 garden centres which the residents loved to frequent. A flyer posted by ex Tory Councillors misled residents saying “They (the garden centres) will remain untouched by the BLP”. Thankfully the Tories are long gone but sadly so are the garden centres loved by many

AL21 in the BLP is over 68 acres of land around what used to be Wyevales and is earmarked for 450 homes and a SEND School. Local councillors are in regular contact with Wates, the developer, to optimise any CIL or Section 106 monies should this get approved.

Much has been made of Maidenhead Golf Course being under threat as a result of the BLP.

What many will not know is that The Willows Estate, on the edge of Windsor, is a valuable heritage asset, dating back to the 1800s.

THIS IS ALSO UNDER THREAT.

The problem is that some of its heritage walls border AL21 and it is likely Wates’ application will swallow up these heritage walls as part of the development.

The Willows Estate is listed as a Non-designated Heritage Asset (NDHA), and therefore legally entitled to protection from developers. It should be showcased as part of our heritage, not hidden or destroyed.

There is an easy solution to the problem – There are orchards and allotments planned as part of the AL21 development, and some of these could easily be located alongside the heritage walls. The walls would consequently be left undisturbed with their heritage value remaining visible for all to see and celebrate.

WE AS COUNCILLORS COULD HELP FACILITATE THIS… I believe, following pressure from local residents, Adam Afriyie, Windsor’s rarely vocal MP, has written to the council sharing his concerns.

We really do need to ensure boundaries are respected where we have influence. The experience of the Old Farmhouse which neighbours ALDI has taught me that.

Respecting local heritage assets, green belt and environmental protection needs enforcement teeth backed up by RBWM’s legal team if we want to take residents with us.

I simply ask the Tories to please STOP playing the government’s out of date property game.

Developers argue green fields are much easier to build on than brown fields. I’d argue virtual fields don’t need anyone to get their hands dirty!

So if all you want to do is make money then go and play crypto finance, the new stock market, as it has little or no impact on the lives of real people unlike the inflated house building numbers this Tory Government demands of RBWM.

I look forward to a fresh and more positive approach for the next BLP which will put the residents first. 

But for that to happen, residents have to put the borough first at the next election 😉

Thank you.

Jon

Full council video below…

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