Update: Windsor and Maidenhead District Group

Avatar for John Hudson, Chairman, CPRE Berkshire
By John Hudson, Chairman, CPRE Berkshire
21st July 2020

A Judicial Review and an Appeal in Windsor & Maidenhead show that our work continues to be vital in protecting the Green Belt from inappropriate development.

One of the key roles of CPRE is to protect the countryside from unsuitable or inappropriate development, particularly where this is located in the Green Belt. This means opposing some development proposals, particularly when the suggested proposals go against the protective measures laid out in the government’s National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF).

In the Royal Borough of Windsor & Maidenhead (RBWM) we have been campaigning to prevent two major developments from going ahead, one at Legoland, and the other at Holyport. We are also campaigning against an inappropriate and large-scale development in the neighbouring borough of Bracknell Forest

Legoland Residential Accommodation

Legoland have applied to develop up to 450 new accommodation units for visitors to the attraction. These units are intended to be built within the Legoland site, in Windsor Forest, within Windsor Great Park. The forest contains the largest number of ancient and veteran trees, mainly oak, in the whole of northern Europe, and should this development go ahead, it would result in the destruction of a substantial number of these trees.

The Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead’s Planning Officers recommended refusal of this planning application, however they were overruled by Planning Councillors, who approved the application.

CPRE Berkshire became involved, and requested a Judicial Review of the Council’s decision, in the High Court of Justice, but unfortunately the request for a Judicial Review was subsequently rejected. We then submitted an application for Leave to Appeal against this decision.

Owing to delays in court proceedings due to Covid 19, our application has not yet been processed. However, our legal team are optimistic about achieving a positive outcome from our appeal, so it is now a matter of waiting to hear the court’s decision on our application.

Lodge Farm Development, Holyport

Lodge Farm in Holyport remains the last area of Green Belt land between Maidenhead and the village of Holyport. The owners, Beaulieu Homes Southern Limited have been seeking permission to develop this site for the past 40 years. They are proposing to build 150 new homes on the site, together with a new doctor’s surgery and new football field.

Understandably, this development has been vigorously opposed by both the residents of Holyport, and RBWM, and each planning application has been firmly rejected. Last year Beaulieu Homes Southern Limited appealed against the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government’s decision to reject their latest planning application. CPRE Berkshire were represented at the appeal hearing by a Chartered Town Planner, and we were delighted when the appeal was firmly rejected by the Planning Inspector.

Incredibly, Beaulieu Homes Southern Limited have now lodged a further appeal against the Inspector’s decision, and we are hopeful that this appeal will be rejected.

Jealott’s Hill, Warfield

In January this year we held an open meeting for the public to discuss the proposed development at Jealott’s Hill. Although this is in the neighbouring borough, it falls within Windsor MP Adam Afriyie’s constituency, and it will have a major impact on residents living in the borough of Windsor & Maidenhead. The owners Syngenta are planning to develop 4,000 new homes and re-configure its science park on the site, which is located in prime Green Belt land.

The aim of the meeting was to unite the various neighbourhood and action groups who are opposing the development,

The meeting was very well attended, and an excellent presentation was given by Richard Knox-Johnston, Chairman of the London Green Belt Council. CPRE members received a meeting report, which was subsequently shared to the wider public and remains available here. The report highlights the importance of protecting the Green Belt, advice and encouragement on specific actions we can take to support our case, and lists the weaknesses and gaps in the development proposal. The development is also opposed by RBWM, and we remain hopeful that this development will not be given approval.

Windsor Great Park Oak Malcolm Gould, CCA 3.0