02:00PM, Thursday 26 January 2017
Cllr Leo Walters
A veteran Royal Borough councillor and champion of the greenbelt has been removed as a member of the planning and housing overview and scrutiny panel by the council leader.
The Advertiser understands Cllr Leo Walters (Con, Bray) was removed from the panel, of which he was chairman, by Cllr Simon Dudley, after he sent an email to panel members highlighting the fact 86 per cent of total land proposed to be allocated for housing and new development in the draft local plan would be in the greenbelt.
In the email, which was sent to panel members of all parties and council officers on Tuesday, January 3, Cllr Walters said he was ‘extremely concerned’ the council may be going ‘overboard’ in an effort to meet the objectively assessed need. He also said he could not find this information in any council documentation.
He said: “Only recently I have been told by a resident Patrick Griffin that as a result of an FOI request he has been informed by the Royal Borough that of the 48 allocated sites, 26 are in the greenbelt.
“The total area of the proposed 48 sites is 305 hectares and that of the allocated 26 greenbelt sites is 262 hectares. This would mean as many as 7,229 dwellings being built on the greenbelt land which equates to 86 per cent of the total.”
This FOI request was published in the Advertiser on Thursday, January 12.
When contacted by the Advertiser, Cllr Walters confirmed that he did not resign, and it was not his wish to leave his post as chairman, mid term.
Cllr Walters has been listed on the agenda for the planning and housing overview and scrutiny panel on Monday, January 30 as only a substitute member.
When asked about why Cllr Walters was removed, Cllr Simon Dudley (Con, Maidenhead Riverside) said: “We’re always looking to freshen up the panels. Nothing is static. This is just one of those examples.
“Cllr Walters is very interested in planning so I’m sure he will still make this thoughts heard.”
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