Maidenhead Council could use mandatory powers to seize golf course
STERN warnings were issued by the Royal district leader, revealing that the council will do “whatever it takes” if the Maidenhead golf course site becomes a “showstopper” for major housing projects.
Senior advisers gathered in the first face-to-face meeting of the local authorities cabinet since the UK’s lockdown in March 2020 on Thursday May 27 to present the changes from the Inspector of Local Planning to the district (BLP) for public consultation.
BLPs set the vision for future development in a borough and are used as a local guide to help decide planning requests and other planning decisions.
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Senior Planning Member, Councilor David Coppinger (Con: Bray) presented the report, saying no “showstoppers” issues were raised by the inspector – but requested that the allocation of housing to next to Maidenhead station be removed.
The controversial Maidenhead Golf Course is part of the BLP, which is intended to provide more than 2,000 homes, including 30% affordable housing, new schools, open public spaces and a community center.
The conservative-led council has been under pressure to convert the golf course into a large park in order to preserve green space and biodiversity – but rejected those calls at a plenary council meeting in March 2021.
Maidenhead Golf Club Site Map
During the cabinet meeting, Andrew Hill, a Maidenhead resident, said the development could potentially be a “crush” for the BLP as members of the golf course consider rescinding the deal they had with the board.
This is due to a letter sent to council accusing them of “misrepresenting the information” to confirm to the inspector that their land is available.
However, the head of the council, Councilor Andrew Johnson (Con: Hurley & Walthams), denied it posed a “risk” to the BLP.
He also said they responded to the letter by refuting their accusations that the Royal Borough had not engaged with them and confirming their agreement signed by both sides.
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However, Cllr Johnson has warned that local authorities are ready to issue a mandatory purchase order, which requires landowners to sell if that hinders a regeneration project, if the deal is broken.
He said: “[We] also made it clear, and this was also made clear to the inspector, that we will do whatever we need to do to deliver this golf course, including using mandatory purchasing powers.
Cllr Johnson added: “We are confident that we have a local borough plan that is solid, that will pass all the required tests and be in a state we can adopt it – when it is ready – later. this year.”