10:39AM, Friday 18 September 2020
A Windsor councillor has raised concerns that Royal Borough greenbelt land could be used to meet housing requirements for Slough after it was suggested in a council letter to the Borough Local Plan (BLP) inspector.
The Royal Borough’s amended BLP outlines plans to build 14,240 homes between 2013-2033, however that figure was based on 2012 data from the Office of National Statistics (ONS) which projected there would be a growth of 12,691 households in that period.
In June, however, ONS released its latest projections which predict that growth in households will be much lower – 6,382 in that period.
In July planning inspector Louise Phillips asked the Royal Borough to consider whether newly published housing projections from the ONS represented a ‘meaningful change in the housing situation’.
In response the council said the housing projections did not represent a ‘meaningful change’ and said planned housing could contribute towards the unmet needs of Slough Borough Council.
The letter written to Ms Phillips said: “In light of the position set out above, the council submits that the projected reduction in household growth does not affect the justification for the plan’s proposed greenbelt releases.
“The planned housing provision, including on greenbelt land, will meet the evidenced housing need.
“The planned housing could contribute towards the unmet housing needs of Slough Borough (within the West Berkshire Housing Market Area), although this need is being specifically considered and addressed through the ongoing Wider Area Growth Study.”
Councillor Wisdom Da Costa (WWRA, Clewer and Dedworth West) said it was ‘unacceptable’. He added:
“So RBWM is proposing to allow building on greenbelt sites, not to help with Windsor or Maidenhead residents with their housing needs but rather to help Slough.”
“It’s wrong and it shouldn’t be done and you certainly wonder about the decision-making process that arrived at that statement.”
Addressing these concerns Cllr David Coppinger (Con, Bray), lead member for planning and environmental services, said: “There is absolutely no intent that if there were any additional housing – and it really is an unbelievably big if – it would be used for Slough.
“Had I read the document those words would not have been there as it is totally wrong. It was meant as an example rather than a definitive.”
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