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Borough Local Plan voted through by councillors

The revised Borough Local Plan has been voted through by councillors, potentially paving the way for 14,000 new homes to be built in the borough.

The amended plan was presented at an extraordinary council meeting on Wednesday night and was accepted by the council despite fierce criticism from opposition councillors, who failed in an attempt to delay a decision by two weeks.

Critics were furious they had been asked to vote on a 400-page document only a week after it was published; and other background documents, some also hundreds of pages long, had only been released hours before the meeting began.

Conservative members praised the plan for the additional homes it will bring to the borough and the increased affordable and social housing provision that will provide up until 2033.

At least 50 members of the public attended the meeting, asking questions about the plan’s impact on the environment and traffic issues.

Some of the major developments that could go ahead now include a 450-home development on land north and south of the A308 in Windsor, 47 homes on land at King Edward VII Hospital and 300 homes in central Ascot.

Thirty and 50-home developments are also earmarked for the car parks of Windsor and Eton Riverside and Ascot Station.

Leader of the opposition Cllr Lynne Jones (Ind, Old Windsor) said: “We need to give councillors the ability to raise concerns, ask questions, get answers.”

Cllr Carole Da Costa (Ind, Clewer and Dedworth East) added: "I really want to support this plan but I didn't receive some of the documents until a couple of hours before we came over here.

“I just can’t vote for something I haven’t scrutinised.”

Conservatives argued that once it got voted through, parts of the plan could be revisited and changed, and the public will have the chance to consult on it from Friday, November 1 to Sunday, December 15.

The amended plan will now be examined by an independent inspectorate.

Cllr David Hilton, cabinet member for finance, described it as a ‘living document’.

He said: “These points will go through consultation and examination by the public – we all wish to protect the greenbelt and biodiversity.”

A motion was tabled by Cllr Simon Werner (Lib Dem, Pinkneys Green) to delay a vote on the plan by two weeks.

He argued this would give councillors a chance to read through the plans properly and then meet with representatives from Wild Maidenhead and the Royal Borough Climate Emergency Coalition, many of whom were sat in the public gallery, to ensure their concerns were properly addressed.

This motion did not pass, with 17 votes for and 21 against.

Councillors then proceeded to vote on the plan itself, which was passed, with 22 for, 15 against and one abstaining.

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