10:01AM, Friday 28 January 2022
CALA Homes wants to build 80 homes on land to the south of Ray Mill Road East in Maidenhead
Plans to build 80 homes on a flood zone in Maidenhead are being contested by nearby residents, who are planning to lobby the Secretary of State to call in the controversial proposals.
CALA Homes wants to construct the development on land to the south of Ray Mill Road East – also known as Deerswood Meadow – with a planning application advancing at a meeting in November.
Planning officers recommended councillors refuse the plans due to concerns over flooding, but the application went through via a casting vote from meeting chairman Councillor Phil Haseler.
It was decided that the application be deferred to the council's head of planning – subject to referral to the Secretary of State – to approve the plans.
This includes the completion of legal agreements and to secure the refusal matters.
Cllr John Baldwin (Lib Dem, Belmont) has long been opposed to the development and claims that the decision to advance the plans is ‘wrong’ due to the potential flood impact, while Cllr Ross McWilliams came under fire for his role in the vote due to a row over his private employer’s links to CALA Homes.
Cllr Baldwin also claims that the development goes against the Royal Borough’s emerging Borough Local Plan – with modifications proposing that the land be used instead as a ‘green infrastructure site providing a pocket park’.
The Lib Dem councillor says he has been speaking with nearby residents who oppose the scheme to gather email addresses and send objections to the Secretary of State, adding that hundreds of residents have been willing to back his drive.
“We are hoping to send hundreds of emails to the Secretary of State over the course of this week. We will keep peppering emails,” he said.“The most common reaction that we have had from people so far is ‘I do not like the development, I just do not know what to do about it’. What we are saying is: ‘you do this’.
“Nobody we have spoken to has wanted the development. My focus is on protecting Deerswood, it has been since before I was a councillor.”
A Royal Borough spokesman said: “While the recommendation was to refuse on flood risk grounds, weight was given to the contribution the new dwellings would make to the supply of housing as well as provision of affordable homes.
“The panel’s resolution to approve has been referred to the Secretary of State due to the Environment Agency’s objection on flood risk.
“Regarding open space, officers advised that the reduction in open space would be acceptable, subject to required enhancements to the area of retained open space, including ecological enhancements and managing the space for the public.”
CALA Homes told the Advertiser that the issues raised are addressed in the documents submitted as part of the planning application and were discussed at the planning committee meeting.
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