The last three days of the Stage 1 Examination in Public of the Borough Local Plan have been incredibly intense. Despite the heat, and the distraction of football matches eating into our preparation time, the RRAG team feels that we have done the best we possibly could to bring to the Inspectors attention all the critical issues that we fully documented in our Reg 19 submission statement and subsequent statements. Of course we have had the benefit of superb legal and professional advice and guidance from John Hobson QC and Peter Lerner our planning consultant and we fully acknowledge that it would have been very difficult to have done this without either of them. Representatives from each of the Groups under the RRAG umbrella were also there to participate in the hearings and make statements. It is fair to say that they came over as being both very knowledgeable about the key issues and also passionate about getting the best plan possible for our area – and it was also wonderful to see the friendly faces of so many RRAG supporters. THANK YOU to everyone who made the effort to attend.
At the end of the session on Thursday afternoon the Inspector determined that it would not be necessary to continue the hearings on the additional day provisionally scheduled for next week. We anticipate that there may be some indication of what will happen next towards the middle/end of July. As this is a legal process it would not be appropriate for us to comment on what happened in the Hearings in any detail. However we did get the opportunity to make a statement about the status of the Group and make it clear that we are 100% resident led and resident backed with no outside funding sources. Rest assured we are not going to stop representing resident’s views and interests until the job is done.
On that note – the professional advice and guidance from which we have benefited does not come cheap, nor should it, but it does have to be paid for. So PLEASE if you made a funding pledge we would be so grateful if you can now honour it. Even if you didn't initially make a pledge we would appreciate any donations. Details of how to make a pledge payment or a donation to RRAG are outlined below.
Following on from the John Hobson QC advice that we shared with you yesterday emphasising on "RBWM's many errors"and respectfully called for the non-adoption of this legally unsound plan, we would also like to tonight share with you the QC's advice on the serious flaws in the Sustainability Appraisal undertaken by RBWM. The advice therefore states that the Inspector should be invited to suspend the proceeding, a full version of this advice is available here.
We are SO grateful for all the support and encouragement residents have given us since we started this fight for a better Borough Local Plan. As you will know today is the first day of the first stage of the Examination in Public of the deeply flawed BLP. Representatives from all 13 groups involved in opposing the BLP are in the Council Chamber to have their say on your behalf.
We have taken professional advice and have been working with a planning consultant who will take the lead in representing the group at the Hearings – and we have also taken legal advice from the same leading QC who initially helped us to get the Council to fulfil their legal obligations and give residents additional consultation time at the Regulation 19 stage last year. You can read the Statement re; Duty to Cooperate from John Hobson QC here.
Getting high level professional help at this stage is essential to ensure we present the best possible case for all the residents we represent – but it means we have incurred substantial costs and we now need to ask everyone who has pledged cash support to make good their promise and pay the pledged amount.
After 5 months of continuosly asking the Council, on 23rd April, we finally received some "non-answers" to our questions on affordable housing. The "non-answers" provided by the Head of Planning Jenifer Jackson are available here to view in full.
Our Concerns on affordable housing remain the same; If Council are serious about delivering affordable housing then why are Key Considerations on Housing site Proformas in the BLP not including Afforsable Housing.
It has been claimed that having an approved Borough Local Plan will somehow ‘protect’ against planning applications like the recent application to develop Claire’s Court. Cllr Coppinger, the Lead Member for Planning, spoke on this topic at the ‘Cox Green says NO’ meeting held on the 30 January 2018, stating that there is a golden opportunity for developers in this window before the BLP is approved.
Unfortunately, Cllr Coppinger’s argument is as unsound as the proposed Borough Local Plan: just to be clear, an approved Borough Local Plan will NOT stop developers from applying to build, the only thing a BLP might do is to prevent a developer relying on the lack of a 5-year housing supply as a reason to permit development. This argument is usually made in relation to windfall site applications, rather than applications in Green Belt.
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Maidenhead Golf Club
One of the sites proposed for 2,000 units under the
The BLP will change the
character of our Bourough beyond