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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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2nd April 2024



You have probably followed this saga for the last four years as we have continued to press the Environment Agency to re-open the gates on Odney Weir and reinstate public access to Lock Island.

At a meeting in August 2023, senior EA staff and representatives of the Cookham Society and the Parish Council reached an agreement that the site would be opened to members of the public on weekdays for a test period from 1st March through to 30th June 2024. This was not the full re-opening we wanted but the EA insisted on a cautious approach which allowed them to finish planned tree work on the island and then re-assess safety issues.

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On the 1st March the gates did not open and there was no explanation from the EA. Eventually, at a further meeting with EA in Mid-March we found out that tree work had not been completed on schedule. The fact that the opening was delayed by a few weeks because of the extended tree work was regrettable but we could live with that. The EA then dropped the bombshell that at the beginning of 2024 there had been a freeze placed on recruitment of any replacement staff or any of their usual group of temporary summer staff. We were then told that because of recruitment and training times there was now no chance of opening Odney Weir before September 2024.

We understand that at present the EA is under financial stress, but we have been immensely disappointed by the poor or non-existent communications from them and their lack of drive to re-open this site to the public. This recent setback has only strengthened our resolve to continue fighting to get this access open again, the sooner the better.

In the meantime the Society and Parish will be working together, taking legal advice to release site risk assessments and job descriptions to identify these problems, and arranging a further meeting with the EA at the end of April.

6th February 2024


Whereas last year's seasonal opening of the Causeway footpath from the West Field to the river was welcome the CS still has concerns with the management of Battlemead. We believe flooding risks are being created by the recent planting and fencing on the site. During flooding the White Brook which normally flows from the Thames to the Maidenhead Ditch and then into Maidenhead reverses and flows back across Widbrook Common and Battlemead and into the Thames. There are also  large flows across the fields outside the White Brook channel. It is vital that this flow is unimpeded otherwise  it raises flood water levels in the south of Cookham  and  particularly on the A4094 across Widbrook Common.

Unfortunately the recent January floods have proven that this build up of detritus really does hold back flow as the Society predicted.

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We, in common with the Maidenhead Civic Society, are still concerned by the lack of availability of the site to the public for recreational purposes, and the lack of parking on site. We  continue working for improvements.

21st March 2024


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Wildway Wildlife Ltd had applied for temporary permission to operate a ‘small mini zoo and animal education centre’ on land at Lower Mount Farm on Long Lane until New Year’s Day 2026. RBWM refused the application following representations from the Society, the Parish and individuals.


Not everyone agreed with the decision but unfortunately the zoo was set up without planning permission or a zoo licence being obtained. Of course we love animals but also love Cookham and its Green Belt which seems to be under constant threat from creeping urbanisation. This is frequently under the guise of seemingly inoffensive temporary buildings, often without planning permission, that within a few years develop into permanent structures.

These considerations were made in our objection letter available to view on the RBWM website. 

October 2023




23/02019 is the first of two applications by Bellway Homes to build around 200 dwellings on Greenbelt Land at the edge of Cookham. This is the largest single development ever in Cookham, potentially increasing the local population by at least 10% and further eroding the green space between Cookham and Maidenhead. Despite objections from the Society and many individuals the outline plan to include this in the Borough Local Plan was unfortunately approved by RBWM.  This leaves us with little chance to overturn it and an uphill battle to make any improvements.

However on detailed review of application the Society felt it necessary to lodge a strong objection.  Basically the proposed development does not meet the requirements of Cookham's VDS (Village Design Statement) or the latest NPPF (National Planning Policy Framework) which states that developments should "...establish...a strong sense of place. using the arrangements of streets, spaces, building types and materials to create attractive, welcoming and distinctive places to live, work and visit" and that "... a new development should be sympathetic to local character and history..." Clearly this proposal has failed dismally.

Describing the proposals as mundane, which will not provide an attractive and high quality environment, our representation to the Royal Borough covers a wide range of issues including poor site access, impractical parking, ill considered drainage,  general layout issues and the impact on local traffic and amenities.  In our view, the scheme will be uninspiring, crowded and designed down to the minimum without the quality the village is entitled to expect.  As we say:-

Cookham Deserves Better.

6th June 2022


The Cookham Society and many others have objected to this scheme for  multiple reasons. Even RBWM’s flood advisors have recommended refusal of the scheme in its present form. We believe that this scheme should be totally withdrawn or very significantly modified by the developer before it is seriously considered for development.

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Sept. 2023


This 12.5km walk from Hurley to Boulters Lock, Maidenhead originated as a joint project of Maidenhead Civic Society and East Berks Ramblers to celebrate the Millenium. The main route was waymarked in 2023. The Marlow link will be done in 2024. 

Download the leaflet below.

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April 2023


Last year's Design Award winner was announced at the AGM. For report and pictures see the  Design Award page.

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