Cherishing the Past
Protecting the Future
What We Do
The Society takes an interest in all matters affecting Cookham. These include planning applications and development, Green Belt, Conservation Areas, public open spaces, roads and parking, bridges, bridleways and footpaths, the riverside, waterways and flood risk, tree preservation, the environment and local services.
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6th June 2021
APPLICATION 21/01078 NATIONWIDE BS
Change of use of the ground floor from retail to residential.
The loss of a retail outlet may be an inevitable consequence of the current economic climate. The Society believes it should not be an excuse for creating sub standard and cramped accommodation in the heart of Cookham.
Two flats are proposed for the ground floor. Flat 1 has two bedrooms and an area of just under 52 square metres whilst the minimum standard for a two-bedroom flat is 61square metres. Flat 2 is even worse, it has an area of 19 square metres in comparison with the minimum required for a single person one bedroom flat of 37 square metres. (To put the diminutive size of Flat 2 in perspective RBWM require a garage space for a single car of 18 square metres.) The proposal also fails to show any provision for outside amenity areas, parking, bin stores or cycle stores.
This application is made under Class M Permitted Development but appears to be directly in contravention of the Borough’s own recently stated design policies. The Society has requested refusal.
20th March 2021
PLANNING APPLICATION 20/00864 STATION COURT UPDATE:
A BIG NO!
Plans to build a three-storey block of 12 flats on the old station yard produced furious objections from many residents. Not only was the block far too big and dominant in this location but the proposed provision of parking was woefully inadequate.
The Society sent in several objection letters criticizing the proposed scheme and challenging the highways department’s logic in acceptance of inadequate parking.
Because of the size of the development the decision on whether to approve or not had to be taken by the RBWM Planning Panel. We were extremely disappointed and concerned when the officer’s report to the Panel recommended approval. At the Panel meeting on Wednesday evening the Cookham Society and Cookham Parish Council made a joint presentation of our reasons for objecting. We were followed by both our Ward Councillors (Mandy Brar and Gerry Clark) who supported and reinforced our objections. The Panel took onboard what we all said, and the application was unanimously rejected. Great result produced by us all working together.
In the discussion, the number of individual objections from residents was noted by the Panel members. It is definitely worth sending in those personal objections! It was also good to hear Panel members referring to the guidance of our Village Design Statement.
6th July 2021
UPDATE - ACCESS ACROSS WEIR BLOCKED
SInce reporting this last October access across the weir remains closed. The Society has contacted the Environment Agency (EA) again recently urging them to reopen the access as soon as possible. The Society can see no valid reason to keep it closed beyond the end of Covid restrictions on 19th July.
A separate issue is the planned installation of metal fencing either side of the weir to prevent further serious accidents. The Society has been in touch with both the EA and the Thames Water Team to clarify the extent of the fencing.
You may have noticed that access over Odney Weir has been closed to the public for several months, blocking footpath access to Sashes Island with the picturesque lock and dramatic views of the steeply wooded hillside below Cliveden.
According to the Environment Agency Waterways this is due to “the lockdown and ongoing global pandemic, and issues this summer including two drownings”. While these issues are in no doubt regrettable The Cookham Society believes that there is no longer any valid reason to keep the weir closed and will be urging the Parish to join us in pushing for it to be re-opened in the very near future.
6th July 2021
UPDATE - BATTLEMEAD COMMON
The Society continues to be involved in the Battlemead Steering Committee. This includes pushing involved parties to accept the creation of a circular walk and a missing link for both the Millenium Walk and Boundary Walk.
17th March 2021
PLANNING APPLICATION 19/02442/OUT
LOWER MOUNT FARM
Excellent outcome to Equine Centre Planning Appeal.
Our newsletter in February 2020 reported that the RBWM Planning Panel had refused an application to build a massive equine centre in the field opposite Lower Mount Farm. This was however not the end of this proposed development as an appeal against the refusal was lodged by the developer. A virtual appeal hearing was held by a planning inspector online on 9 February 2021. Both the Cookham Society and the Parish Council were represented and spoke against the development. On 12 March we found out that the appeal had been rejected and our opposition vindicated.
Throughout this process the Society has maintained a consistent position. If the owner wants to graze horses rather than cattle, we have no objection but if the horses need accommodation then disused agricultural buildings should be used rather than constructing large new buildings in the Green Belt.