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Call to save Green Belt land from Film/TV Studio scheme

16 December 2023

Local countryside campaigners have expressed their alarm at the return of developers’ proposals to build film and television studios on Green Belt land in the village of Holyport near Maidenhead.

The Berkshire branch of the Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE) opposed the original application for the creation of a studio complex at Holyport when it was first put forward a year ago. A revised application has now been submitted to the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead by the developers Greystoke Land, and CPRE is hoping the new scheme will be thrown out by councillors.

CPRE considers the proposal from Greystoke to be extremely damaging to the local community and countryside, and the Berkshire Branch Chairman has written on behalf of CPRE to the Borough Council urging councillors to reject the revised application.

The scheme would see a substantial studio complex, with numerous buildings, including some up to 7 storeys high and with a significant building footprint, constructed on what is currently Green Belt farmland, just a short distance from the existing Bray Film Studios.

Greg Wilkinson, Chairman of CPRE Berkshire, wrote: “We wish to reiterate our previous objection to this proposed development, which represents inappropriate development in the Green Belt, with no ‘Very Special Circumstances’ to justify such encroachment, as there is no need for yet another facility of this type in the Royal Borough.”

He added: “Permitting this application would have a direct negative impact on the heritage assets of the Holyport Conservation Area. CPRE also contends that it would set a bad precedent for Windsor & Maidenhead Borough, potentially opening the door to further loss of Green Belt land and other green spaces for inappropriate commercial development.”

It was noted that the Conservation Officer for Windsor & Maidenhead Council had registered an objection to the original proposal on the grounds that the development “would have an urbanising impact on the rural appearance of the area” and that “the level of harm would be moderate to high”.

The countryside charity is also concerned that the proposal for a so-called ‘nature park’ within the development is “just another example of ‘greenwashing’ by developers to disguise the fact that the proposed development will harm an important local greenspace and reduce biodiversity.”

CPRE is urging local residents and all who value our local countryside and green spaces to write to Windsor and Maidenhead Council objecting to this unnecessary and inappropriate development. The application number is 22/03374/OUT and full details may be found on the Council’s website. 
For more information about CPRE Berkshire campaigns, please visit the charity’s website or follow the group on social media @CPREBerkshire.