written to the Maidenhead Advertiser (MA) that same day, a letter which MA did not publish.
The text of that letter follows;
Local Plan and Bray Ward / Parish
RBWM council is 94.7% Conservative (54 councillors). The 2015 Conservative manifesto stated they would PROTECT THE GREEN BELT. They claimed to have delivered every one of their commitments, saying that they "AIM TO REPEAT OUR COMMITMENT TO DO AS WE PROMISE".
Bray Parish Council (BPC) has fifteen Councillors, five being RBWM Conservative Councillors, one
of whom is RBWM Council Leader, another the Lead Councillor for Planning – the latter in charge of the Local Plan.
We now see in their Local Plan that RBWM propose to build on Green Belt, a disproportionate
amount of which is in Bray Parish / Bray Ward.
The agenda for a BPC meeting on 12th December conveyed that during discussion on a BPC
response to the Local Plan, understood to be critical of the use of Green Belt land, the RBWM
Councillors would not take part.
Residents elect Councillors to act in Residents best interests.
It should be a Parish Council principle that a Parish Councillor cannot also be a Borough Councillor.
Bray Parish Council has recently submitted to RBWM its Neighbourhood Plan, documenting its
demand that Local Plan Area HA11 to the South East of Fifield is a "Green Gap" that must remain
as Green Belt.
Bray Parish Council would not include my claim that Green Belt to the North West of Holyport (HA9, HA8, HA7 (and HA6) a combined area of 104 Hectares) is also a "Green Gap" between Holyport and Maidenhead.
Now we see that RBWM ignore BPC and will build on all of these areas.
In 2014 HRA and the Holyport Preservation Society submitted resident backed, still valid,
justification to RBWM showing that Area HA9 (known then as Area 5C) and Area 7A had to remain as Green Belt. RBWM accepted that, but for HA9 have since reneged on their promise.
My draft comments on the Local Plan and our 2014 submission can be found on the Holyport
Residents Association (HRA) website under general heading Local Problems.
Only one Bray Ward RBWM Councillor (Walters) has shown any willingness to fight this RBWM
Green Belt decimation.
I advise all other Conservative Councillors that I will not vote for them again.
Chairman, Holyport Residents Association
Since then the Local Plan Consultation has taken place with many complaints from the public about the short time span of the consultation and the difficulties in making comments on the RBWM website.
Now, in the Maidenhead Advertiser of 26th January 2017 we see on their NEWS page (page 5) that the Council Leader Simon Dudley has removed Cllr Leo Walters, not only from Chairmanship of the panel but entirely from the RBWM Planning and Housing Overview Panel. This is apparently due to Cllr Walters having sent an email to his panel members advising what a member of the public had extracted from RBWM and advised to Cllr Walters as leader of said panel; this being that 86% of total land proposed to be allocated for housing and new development would be in the greenbelt.
The news item is shown below;
replaced by Cllr Dudley, who we now see might be exhibiting that same undesirable quality.
In the same MA issue on page 18 we see a letter from Cllr Walters, A letter that I imagine contains
much of what was said in Cllr Walters's email to panel members. I show that letter below;
My own comments to RBWM on their local plan are accessible elsewhere on this website, and in
these comments I made much of the fact that in our past consultation of Holyport Residents,
approximately 90% were in favour of protection of Green Belt.
It is sad indeed that apart from Cllr Walters, no RBWM Bray Ward Councillor or RBWM Councillor
sitting as a Bray Parish Councillor (all Conservative Councillors whose manifesto on which they
were elected stated that they would protect the greenbelt), has found it possible to prevent the
scenario disastrous for Green Belt presented by RBWM Planning Department under the leadership
of Cllr Derek Wilson, who is also a Bray Parish Councillor.
Could it be that this lack of support for greenbelt is also due to bullying tactics?
I highlight again the ludicrous situation whereby Bray Parish Council, due to one third of its Councillors being also RBWM Councillors, fails to act as a united body to support the interests of Bray Parish.
Further, the focus in BPC has been more about protecting HA11 and HA18, the "Green Gap" of the Neighbourhood Development Plan, which lie between Fifield and Windsor. But despite that, RBWM are still promoting these areas for development, as well as all areas to the North East of Holyport.
Their development would join Maidenhead to Holyport. This is counter to four of the five purposes of the NPPF i.e;
1. To check the unrestricted sprawl of large built-up areas;
2. To prevent neighbouring towns merging into one another;
3. To assist in safeguarding the countryside from encroachment;
4. To preserve the setting and special character of history towns;
We know of course that Central Government's policies are the main reason why RBWM has to be
seen to consider development on Green Belt, and it may be that having considered comments from the public, RBWM may feel justified in fighting back against Central Government. That will depend on whether or not sufficient strength of feeling has been conveyed from the public to RBWM.
We will have yet another chance to comment later this year.