HOLDING RBWM TO ACCOUNT
Maidenhead Golf Club
One of the sites proposed for 2,000 units under the
The BLP will change the
character of our Bourough beyond
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RBWM Residents Action Group (“RBWM RAG”) is an association set up by a number of organisations and local residents concerned about the impact the proposed Borough Local Plan will have on our area.
Organisations which support RBWM Residents Action Group are (in alphabetical order):
We stress that this association is non-political and that the sole aim of RBWM Residents Action Group is to reflect and support the aims and aspirations of the local communities across the Borough that will be impacted by this Local Plan. .
Formation of RRAG
On Monday 19 June 2017, at an Extraordinary Meeting of full Council, and in front of 100’s of residents (who weren’t allowed to speak or ask questions), RBWM Councillors considered the motion of whether to proceed with this current flawed Borough Local Plan. After more than 2 hours, a vote was taken and 33 Councillors voted to proceed with the Plan and 10 voted against. So, the motion was carried.
• despite many Parish Councils, Neighbourhood Plan Groups and residents having submitted their concerns over this Plan at some length during the previous consultation. But our Councillors (or most of them) were not listening.
• despite many Neighbourhood Plan Groups, Parish Councils and resident associations writing a letter in May 2017 to RBWM Council expressing their serious concerns on the lack of consultation and engagement between the Council and them, also highlighting the lack of transparency by the Council during the drafting of the BLP which together with the lack of sharing of information means that it does not reflect the vision and aspirations of local communities.
• despite a proposal from the DCLG to pay for professional mediation.
• despite over 1,700 residents having signed a petition on Change.Org in just 6 days asking Councillors to delay proceeding with this Plan so that proper consultation and engagement could take place.
Our website was launched on 12th June 2017 initially with the aim of getting as many local residents to sign the petition to postpone publication of the Local Plan so that more consultation and engagement could take place. In the 6 days leading up to the Councillors’ vote at the EGM, a total of 1,703 people had signed the petition, sadly to no avail. RBWM Councillors (or most of them) weren’t listening.
This website now provides a platform for information on the Borough Local Plan.
The association is managed by a Steering Group which consists of representatives from NP Groups, Parish Councils, Resident groups and individual residents. Namely: Jane Dawson, Ken Elvin, Patrick Griffin, Martin Hall, Naheed Majeed, George Midgley, Margaret Morgan and Diana Tombs.
Purpose of RBWM Residents Acton Group (RRAG)
RRAG is strongly supportive of the need for a new RBWM Borough Local Plan (“BLP”) that includes a positive vision for the borough and is produced through consultation and engagement with local communities, for where and how these should best be delivered. We are PRO development, especially for affordable homes, which are homes our children and young people can access; and homes for nurses, teachers, care workers and other vital key workers. We agree this is an imperative for our area and should be a key objective of the Local Plan.
We are prepared to accept, if necessary, development in areas that are Green Belt, if (but only if) there are insufficient other sites to accommodate this development. We do not believe that the Borough have properly considered all available options.
We also need a Plan that is infrastructure rich, to ensure that everyone’s quality of life is secured. This means roads, schools, open spaces and utilities infrastructure. The current Plan does not provide either a vision or the evidence for how and when all these will be provided and, critically, how sufficient funding will be found to pay for them.
The Plan is also weak on providing a vision for employment in our area and pays little more than lip service to the environmental protection of our landscape.
The Borough itself owns several of the sites allocated for development in this Plan. If it is serious about being committed to providing affordable housing and developing these sites in a considerate way that residents can welcome, why is this not enshrined in policies for these sites?
Based on the above reasons RBWM Residents Action Group (“RRAG”) strongly opposes the current Plan:
Although we are confident that we will be able to stop this plan at examination, no one will be a real winner, as this may result in the Borough not having a plan for at least two years. We do not want this and have tried to avoid being in this situation but the council has ignored our attempts to engage at every given opportunity.
•We have had two meetings in July with our Maidenhead MP Theresa May, with Cllr Dudley in attendance at one of those meetings. We highlighted to Theresa the complete breakdown of trust and communication between many of its residents and the councillors including residents having to raise an FOI when requesting information from the council as otherwise they do not respond. We asked at this meeting for the Plan to be halted and Council to work with residents to try and salvage this plan. But Cllr Dudley stated at this meeting that the Council would NOT halt the BLP process.
•Furthermore, at our second meeting on 21st July, the day that we met with both Theresa and Cllr Dudley, we sent the Council a copy of a Legal Opinion we received from top QC John Hobson which called the Council’s approach to Reg. 19 consultation “unduly restrictive and misleading” and said it was “unlawful”, and suggested the council should restart the process. We also submitted a letter written by the Secretary of State Sajid Javid on Reg 19 consultation. This resulted in the Council “extending” Reg.19, but at no point did they acknowledge that they were at fault. The reason the Borough found itself in this embarrassing position was because they consistently resisted engaging with their residents despite repeated attempts by us to try and work with them. The full opinion is available here.
We have even asked Theresa May as our MP to call for earlier intervention from DCLG as we desperately want to have a plan for our Borough but the Council is intent on driving through this plan at whatever cost. This is a sad situation for us all.