06:07PM, Wednesday 15 December 2021
Hundreds of protesters gathered outside Maidenhead Town Hall for the second time in as many months on Tuesday night.
Residents and councillors opposed to the redevelopment of Maidenhead Golf Course congregated for more than an hour while speeches were given by a number of individuals.
The golf course is earmarked for 2,000 homes in the Borough Local Plan, which was due to be debated that evening before the meeting was postponed.
Protesters are adamant that the council should not develop on the golf course site, which is greenbelt land, with many bringing placards, masks and pets to help amplify their voices.
Some as young as 11 took to the microphone and described their passion for wildlife, biodiversity, and climate change, while calling on the council to backtrack from the plans to ‘pour concrete over the golf course’.
John Hudson’s speech told protesters that the ‘main reason’ behind the development was ‘financial’ and added that the council had almost already met the housing need of 6,382 new homes using updated Government data from 2018.
Debbie Ludford spoke of RBWM’s environment and climate strategy, published in December 2020.
She said: “In it they acknowledge the importance of the natural environment for protecting the ecosystem benefits we receive – including clean air and water.
“They acknowledge that protecting and enhancing our environment will also create great places to live and support residents’ health and wellbeing.
“So why on earth do they want to destroy our beautiful greenspace at the golf course?”
Following the event, Tina Quadrino, one of the key supporters of the campaign, said: “I think it was a really great turnout. The fact that so many people wanted to speak is really testament to the strength of feeling about this issue.
“We’re all waking up to the fact that this is our council which represents us, and they need to start listening to what we’re trying to say.
“We’re all taking climate change seriously, so we really need our representatives to do the same.
“It was amazing to see all of the kids up there speaking – this is what they’re learning at school, and it’s their future that we’re destroying if we don’t protect our environment – so it’s really important that they were so brave to speak up.”
Councillor David Coppinger, cabinet member for planning, environmental services and Maidenhead, said: “The content of the Local Plan should not come as a surprise as it has been shaped over more than a decade, including through a series of public consultations and public examination by an independent Planning Inspector.
“The redevelopment of Maidenhead Golf Course is a crucial part of the next phase of Maidenhead’s regeneration.
“The club site offers a highly sustainable location, which, once complete, will deliver more than 2,000 desperately needed homes, especially houses, with 30 per cent of the properties being affordable, in addition to a new primary and secondary school, and a community hub.
“It will open-up significant parts of green space for public access, improve walking and cycling connectivity for residents. It will accommodate future population growth while preventing speculative green belt development across the borough through the adoption of a valid Local Plan.
“The Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead recognises the challenges posed by climate change, and we remain committed to our Environment and Climate Strategy which was adopted last December.”
An independent report into a Conservative councillor has found a breach of the Royal Borough’s code of conduct in a document seen by the Advertiser.
Further details have been revealed over how many trains will be running in Slough, Windsor and Maidenhead during planned rail strikes later this month.