Comments on Application 18/00847 - Land at Spencers Farm
EIA Screening. Request for opinion under Regulation 8 (Town & Country Planning Regulations 2017) for a proposed development comprising residential up to 410 dwellings, a two class entry primary school, associated access, open space, green infrastructure and attenuation
This Green Belt site is identified for residential development within the Borough Local Plan. Nevertheless, we have reservations about the site and the proposed development, and would like to restate our views in response to this Environmental Impact Assessment exercise.
The site does represent a genuine Green Belt buffer between North Maidenhead and Cookham. This is in spite of the fact that residential development continues northwards to the west of the railway line/Maidenhead Road.
The site is liable to flood - especially the eastern half towards Maidenhead Ditch. Amelioration measures within the development of 410 dwellings and a school will need to be very effective - as the site already floods as grassland.
It is believed that historically the site has been used as a land infill site and remediation work will be required.
The total number of dwellings at 410 is too high - and the density is driven up because the area available for building is limited to the western half with flood concerns in the east of the site.
The three-storey buildings are presumably flats. The only flats permitted should be in the "affordable" category. Maidenhead is over supplied with new-build flats on the open market.
Access is a major issue. Only one point of access is inadequate for a development of this size. The only access from Gardner Road/Cookham Road (B4447) to the east of the hump-backed railway bridge on a bend is substandard and dangerous. Under normal circumstances it would never be considered or permitted. The only reason it is being proposed is that it is the only access point.
We are surprised that the site outlined in red within the documentation includes the green triangle of public land between Gardner Road/Cookham Road, Aldebury Road and the southern boundary of the site.
We believe that these are a compelling list of issues that need to be addressed before any Planning Permission is granted. Inclusion of this Green Belt site within the BLP means that "Extraordinary Special Circumstances" will not have to be proved. It does not mean that the site is suitable for development - or that the scale of proposed development is acceptable.