Neighbouring Borough Objections to Jealott’s Hill Revealed

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By Imogen Haig
7th May 2020

Neighbouring borough objections to the proposed inappropriate housing development of 4,000 homes at Jealott’s Hill have been revealed by local paper Bracknell Forest News journalist.

Pressure on Bracknell Forest District Council to remove the inclusion of an inappropriate and large-scale housing development of 4,000 homes on designated Green Belt land at Jealott’s Hill from its Local Plan shows no sign of abating. Following a Freedom of Information request by Local Democracy Reporter Ollie Sirrell, the Bracknell Forest News reported this week (5th May 2020) on the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead’s objections to the proposed development. Key reasons revealed included:

  • the loss of Green Belt land
  • a big impact on climate change
  • little need for more housing
  • minimal engagement with the borough despite the cross-boundary impact of the development
  • significant weaknesses in their ‘exceptional circumstances’ argument
  • reduced sustainability due to its isolated location
  • detrimental impact on surrounding roads
  • insufficient transport modelling
  • detrimental carbon emissions; and
  • an increase in light pollution

Our Bracknell District Chairman Rebecca Murphy said

“The Council has a statutory ‘Duty to Cooperate’ with neighbouring councils on cross-boundary matters. RBWM has laid out the many impacts of the Jealott’s Hill proposal with admirable clarity. It is not sufficient for the Council to deal with the points raised. It needs to engage constructively, actively, and on an ongoing basis with RBWM on these matters.

If the Council cannot show it has done this, the Plan can be found unsound and fail at Examination. There are no second chances: Duty to Cooperate cannot be put right retrospectively.

CPRE Berkshire is not being alarmist. Several councils have seen this happen already in 2020, with examinations halted and proposed Local Plans found unsound.

If a Plan is found unsound, this will have wasted years of work and taxpayers’ money. The Council is left without an up-to-date Local Plan, and its communities at the mercy of speculative planning applications and unplanned development.”

As CPRE Berkshire stated in November 2019, it is a fundamental aim of national policy guidance that you do not release Green Belt land for a Local Plan unless you have absolutely no alternative: that is, you have nowhere else to build homes, and neighbouring authorities cannot help you out. This is just not the case in Bracknell Forest. Our primary concern with this proposal is that by allowing the proposed development it would go against the primary aim of Green Belt policy to prevent urban sprawl; threatens its ‘openness’; and goes against the current national policy guidance which states that only in ‘exceptional circumstances’ should there be changes to the Green Belt boundaries.

We are grateful to Ollie and our local paper for the Bracknell area, and the Save Jealott’s Hill campaign group for helping to keep up the pressure.

You can read the full article here

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