I have not been involved in the Bray Parish Council Neighbourhood Development Planning process except to criticise it. This is because I wish to be free to object if I think it necessary.
Why do I not like it - as explained in the home page of this website - the way it has been established by government to allow a Neighbourhood to promote MORE development than the Borough Local Plan but never LESS development. I recently learned that the proper legal title for a Neighbourhood Plan is a "Neighbourhood Development Plan". So why are these mostly called "Neighbourhood Plans"? I suppose because the latter seems more innocuous.
Although it is legally established that Neighbourhood Development Plans may promote MORE development than does the Borough Local Plan, it is only an option that the Plan could promote more development, it is not a requirement that it do so. Thus, it could be acceptable to me if the Bray Parish Council's Neighbourhood Planners would pay attention to what residents have indicated they want, and ensure that the Plan DOES NOT ALLOW development on the Local Plan identified areas 7A and 5C. As we know, there was a clear indication from 88% to 97% of residents who responded to the HRA survey for the Local Plan, that these two areas must not be built on, and we know from the RBWM that their Local Plan intends that these areas will remain as Green Belt, not to be developed.
The RBWM statement of 26th February 2015 in connection with the Local Plan, rules out any development on all of the Bray Parish Green Belt, and this decision was supported by the three RBWM Bray Ward Councillors, and these councillors are still in place. Perhaps part of the reason that residents voted for them was that these councillors had heeded Residents wishes regarding Areas 7A and 5C. The reporting RBWM Councillor for the Local Plan (not an RBWM Bray Ward Councillor) is also a Bray Parish Councillor. Two of the three RBWM Bray Ward Councillors are members of the Steering Committee for the Bray Parish Neighbourhood Development Plan and one of those is a Bray Parish Councillor. As of the recent election, the third RBWM Bray Ward Councillor (the leader of the RBWM council) is now also a Bray Parish Councillor. This being the case it is difficult to understand why the BPNDP as currently written still allows development on Bray Parish Greenbelt, especially on areas 7A and 5C.
The document issued to residents for comments by Bray Parish Council on 18th May 2015 (the "SHARE YOUR VIEWS" (SYV) document), states that "The Plan therefore does not propose any further housing development within Bray Parish", (also published on 21st May by the Maidenhead Advertiser) but the effect of this statement is only for the immediate future, it is not a permanent rule. It does not align with the Bray Parish Neighbourhood Development Plan Vision Statement second sentence shown in the SYV and in the Draft Plan "We will respond to the housing needs of our communities with sympathetic development". Further, it conflicts with the SYV Objective Number 7 "To ensure that housing changes maintain, and where possible enhance, the quality and character of the Parish so that future generations can enjoy the same or a better living and working environment." In addition, this concept of allowing housing development in the future is established by 11 of the Plan's policies BNP – GB1, GB2, BE1, BE2, BE3, BE4, BE5, BE6, BE8, TI1 and TI4. Well, after all it is a NEIGHBOURHOOD DEVELOPMENT PLAN!
Regarding the Plan statement mentioned above "We will respond to the housing needs of our communities with sympathetic development", I ask how can the housing needs of our communities be differentiated from the housing needs of incomers? If housing is built for people who live here, there is no restriction on these same people soon selling to incomers. Then there could be further pressure from residents for houses for them and this process of residents getting homes and selling to incomers, with subsequent residents pressure for more homes, would gradually fill our area with homes for incomers, whilst always increasing profits for developers. This in Violet added 31 May 2015 - A comment has been raised about my remarks above re incomers. My concern is not about incomers as such, it is just that I think it impossible not to have the situation I described above, so I feel that the phraseology used by BPNDP is disingenuous.
There is no policy statement that protects areas 7A and 5C, so I have suggested that the following be included as the first policy;
"This Bray Parish Neighbourhood Development Plan excludes from any possibility of development the areas identified in the RBWM First Preferred Options Consultation as Area 5C and Area 7A."
Reason for above policy - The RBWM’s conclusions on their First Preferred Options Consultation include that Areas 7A and 5C are Green Belt not for development, and this is supported by the HRA opinion survey for the RBWM Consultation, which found that 96.9% of Residents who responded said that they do not want any development on Area 7A, and 88.1% said they do not want it on Area 5C.
Another topic that has caused me concern is expressed in the Draft Neighbourhood Development Plan as follows;
"The Plan supports the planning and construction of a link road to the south of the M4 to alleviate passing traffic problems on the A330. The planned-for increase in traffic on the 'widened' M4 together with the substantial population increase resulting from housing development in the Royal Borough and in the adjacent areas North of Bracknell/Binfield are the main contributors to the issues, as well as commercial traffic passing though the Parish. A southbound link road would complement the busy A404(M) thus linking the M40 to the A4 and M4 and through towards the M3. The Plan supports the Thames Valley Berkshire Local Enterprise Partnership which has identified the need for a North-South link between the M40/M4 corridor and the M4/M3 area as a strategic priority to promote economic development in the region. Similarly the Plan sees this link as a main priority in securing a solution to the increasing Parish traffic problem and the method for improving intra Borough traffic flow. The link through the M4 should serve the A404M to encourage through traffic usage. It is noted that there are only two southerly exits on the M4 between Junction 4b (M25) and Junction 10 (A329M). The Plan supports the Highways Agency M4 SMART scheme currently under consultation."
You may have seen that no mention of the above appears in the SYV document. It only contains a policy as follows;
BNP TI1 "As an objective of the Plan is the free flow of safe traffic throughout the Parish, any developments that have an impact on traffic movements in the Parish must provide a road infrastructure that is appropriate for all forms of transport allowing for regulatory requirements and forecasted increases in such movements."
It is clear to me that the aforementioned policy as written would allow the aforementioned link road. But there is no place in Bray Parish to put a link road from M4 J8/9 that would not cause great disruption to existing homes, and / or would cause extreme noise pollution and further gaseous pollution, especially if the said link road were to become a link to the M3.
I have therefore suggested a change to the Plan text as follows;
"The Plan supports the planning and construction of a new M4 motorway junction approximately mid-way between the existing M4 J8/9 and J10 with associated new North and South feeder roads. This would encourage M4 traffic originating or terminating in these catchment areas, (in particular the Bracknell / Binfield areas), to avoid J 8/9 and the Bray Parish Area as a whole. This would alleviate passing through traffic problems in the Bray Parish Area. The planned-for increase in traffic on the 'widened' M4 together with the substantial population increase resulting from housing development in the Royal Borough and in the adjacent areas North of Bracknell / Binfield are the main contributors to the need for such roads, as well as commercial traffic passing through the Parish. The Plan supports the concept expressed by the Thames Valley Berkshire Local Enterprise Partnership in so far as a North-South link between the M4 and the M3 would improve traffic flow. The new motorway junction and associated feeder roads we suggest here would assist in this regard."
And suggested a change to the BNP TI1 policy thus;
"BNP-TI1: As an objective of the Plan is the free flow of safe traffic throughout the Parish, any developments that have an impact on traffic movements in the Parish must provide an access road infrastructure to the satisfaction of Bray Parish Council and that is appropriate for all forms of transport allowing for regulatory requirements and forecasted predicted increases in such movements. This policy does not advocate the building of any new major roads or modifications to the M4 8/9 junction."
There are other areas of concern to me, but the aforementioned are the most important. Residents are invited to add their comments here, or in the Forum.