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.
PUBLIC ACCESS OVER ODNEY WEIR -
OPENING DATE ANNOUNCED AT LAST!
After three years of frustrating inaction by the Environment Agency the deadlock was finally broken when the Cookham Society contacted our MP, Theresa May, for help. Within a few weeks an onsite meeting was arranged at the weir attended by senior EA staff and representatives of the Cookham Society and the Parish Council.
A further meeting was held last week between senior EA staff and representatives of the Cookham Society and the Parish Council.
An agreement was achieved in principal, for the site to be made accessible to members of the public on weekdays for a test period from 1st March through to 30th June 2024. This will be subject to all safety measures being completed. The opening times will be dependent on when there is a Lock and Weir Keeper (LWK) on duty, and will remain open until approximately 1 hour before the end of the scheduled LWK working day. This allows for members of the public to vacate the area prior to the site being secured.
Access will be managed according to weather conditions, allowing access during times of expected lower footfall.
At the end of the opening period a further review meeting will be held.
The Cookham Society welcomes this restricted opening and considers it a success at this stage and hope it will lead to full access in the foreseeable future if there are no further problems.
NEW - THE MILLENIUM WALK
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.
6th June 2022
UPDATE - BATTLEMEAD COMMON
Whereas the recent seasonal opening of the Causeway footpath from the West Field to the river is 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.
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.
AL37 - 200 DWELLINGS AT LOWER MOUNT FARM
COOKHAM DESERVES BETTER
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.
COOKHAM BRIDGE: CLOSED FOR ESSENTIAL MAINTENANCE
The Society has been in touch with Network Rail requesting they consider these suggestions during the bridge closure:-
Free car parking on the north side of the bridge for visitors to Cookham coming from the north.
Re-opening of the bridge to traffic over the Christmas Period if there is a shut down of construction activities over that period.
Reducing business rates for businesses in the High Street and Cookham Rise for the period of the closure.
Increase the frequency of trains on the branch line during off peak hours.
UPDATE 21st October
Unfortunately to date none of these has been adopted and now also we have heard that our suggestion that bus passes to be accepted on the Branch line during the bridge closure will not be permitted by the Dept. for Transport.
The RBWM have issued a very useful leaflet about the repairs and key dates for consultations which you can download HERE.
6th June 2022
APPLICATION 22/00343 - 25 DWELLINGS ON LAND EAST OF STRANDE PARK
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.
A SIMPLE GUIDE TO PERMITTED DEVELOPMENT FOR HOUSEHOLDERS
Permitted development rights allow householders to improve and extend their homes without the need to apply for planning permission where that would be out of proportion with the impact of works carried out. Larger single storey rear extensions are subject to a neighbour consultation scheme It is important that homeowners understand how they can exercise their rights to carry out development while protecting the interests of their neighbours and the wider environment. The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government has produced this technical guidance to help them. It is designed to be used by anyone who wants to understand more about the detailed rules on permitted development and the terms used in those rules.
Society objects to RBWM Tall Buildings proposals
The Society has strongly objected to the Borough’s proposals in its latest Tall Buildings supplementary planning document. These have suggested not only that a new, taller building would be appropriate for the area in the vicinity of Cookham’s railway station, but also that in future the overall height of new buildings in this area might be raised by a floor. Since there are virtually no 3-storey buildings in this area, this would mean a complete change in its ambiance in a manner quite unsuited to our village. We have argued that the document should either be withdrawn or all references to this bad idea removed.