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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.

How To Help

Become a full Cookham Society member from just £5.00 per year. Your support will strengthen the Society’s position and enable it to represent and be more effective on behalf of as many local residents as possible.

Latest News
24th May 2022

ACCESS ACROSS WEIR STILL BLOCKED:

UPDATE

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Recent works by the EA has resulted in the building of obtrusive fencing on the lock island banks and removal of the pedestrian access gate leaving a single high security double gate. It remains closed.

 

The Cookham Society and Parish Council are urging the Ramblers, the Borough Councillors and the Open Space Society to join the opposition to these measures and meet the Environment Agency to resist the continuous closure and possible further ugly fencing. 

 

Previously the response from the EA was very disappointing:- 

 

"The decision to close pedestrian access over the Odney Weir to Cookham Lock Island ....is intended to reduce the risk of overcrowding and also to reduce water safety risks, and is based on our public safety risk assessments.

........Until the fencing work is completed, we do not have any plans to open up the lock island to pedestrian or vehicular access".

We question the EA’s public safety risk assessment and believe that it may be overcautious. In the light of the relatively remote location, we believe the suggested risk of “overcrowding” is particularly bizarre.

This is publicly owned land to which the public has had access for many years. We do not accept that entry should be denied without a compelling case to continue with its closure. The Society will continue to press for day-time reopening and are currently liaising with other interested organisations for support. 

8th March 2022

DESIGN AWARD 2022

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

15TH October 2021

UPDATE - BATTLEMEAD COMMON

 

The Society continues to be involved in the Battlemead Steering Committee. It is good news that Cabinet recently approved the fenced Causeway footpath across the East Field. We are however very disappointed that this will not provide an all-year circular path on Battlemead. We still consider that an all-year circular path is a minimum facility that should be available to residents. We are also concerned that the proposed screen of dense vegetation may seriously impede flood flows in this low gradient area.

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28th August 2021
APPLICATION 21/01078
STATION COURT UPDATE:
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The old platform and yard on the north side of Cookham railway station is a key site in Cookham Rise as it is so highly visible from both the road and from the railway sides.

 

The current owners have already used their Permitted Development rights to confirm plans to convert the existing buildings into four dwellings. However, earlier this year, when they also applied for planning permission to build a massive three-storey block of 12 flats on the site, it was refused.

 

This was despite the Planning Officer’s recommendation for approval, and it was a great example of what can be achieved when the Society, the Parish Council, RBWM Ward Councillors and local residents all work together to resist overdevelopment.

 

A further planning application has since been submitted to build eight, three-storey, terraced houses.  We also consider this to be overdevelopment and we will be submitting a fierce objection.


23rd November 2021

A CLASSIC CASE OF GREEN BELT EROSION

Some applications affect more than just a few neighbours and this month we have highlighted 21/02989 ‘Whyteladyes Rose Garden’ for wider attention. On the corner of Whyteladyes Lane and Dean Lane is an acre or so of Green Belt land. The application is for a large, five bedroom mock Tudor house to be built on the plot.

 

 

The application downplays the visual effects. Going westward from Cookham Rise Lower Road becomes Dean Lane at the junction with Whyteladyes Lane and presently there is the welcome view of open fields either side of the road. If this application goes ahead it will block the immediate view to the left. In fact whichever way you look at it, whether from the roads or footpaths the house will stand out like a sore thumb.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In any case we believe that Green Belt is sacrosanct and any attempt like this to nibble away at its margins should be firmly resisted. This land is agricultural and should remain so. 

 

The Society is strongly objecting to this classic case of Green Belt erosion and are urging our members to do likewise.

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25th May 2022

ALL CHANGE FOR PLANNING?

Michael Gove’s Leveling Up and Planning Bill has just started its journey through parliament. Originally trailed as the biggest shake-up of the planning system for years, the present version includes the following changes:-

 

  1. A new National Development Management Policies document, which will rank alongside local plans;

  2. There will be national policies for issues such as flood risk, Green Belt and heritage;

  3. Local plan enquiries are to be by written representations only;

  4. Supplementary Planning Documents, such as the Cookham VDS, are likely to be replaced;

  5. Rules will be introduced to prevent Neighbourhood Plans from compromising local plans;

  6. The long-established 4-year rule for buildings erected without planning permission will be scrapped.  10 years will be norm, as is currently the case for changes of use;

  7. Councils will have to include compulsory design codes in their local plans;

  8. Environmental Impact Assessments will be replaced by Environmental Outcomes Reports;

  9. “Street Votes” on neighbouring development proposals will be introduced;

  10. The Community Infrastructure Levy will be replaced by a tax on the value of completed developments.

 

Does the Bill say anything about housing provision?  No. Will it speed up the planning process? Probably not. Two thirds of the people who attended a recent webinar hosted by Landmark Chambers and lawyers Pinsent Masons said they expected the changes would make things worse.

5th March 2022

UPDATE - BOROUGH LOCAL PLAN

What does the now adopted Borough Local Plan mean to Cookham? See our Chairman Bill Perry's notes on the BLP inspector's final report on the Planning - Borough Local Plan page.

28th August 2021

BOROUGH LOCAL PLAN

The Society attended most of the virtual sessions of last year’s Examination in Public, having made representations on many of the issues affecting the Cookhams, including housing land supply, a proposed tall buildings policy and development in the Green Belt.  In July, the Royal Borough published its Main Modifications to the plan.  Some of our concerns have been met, but there continue to be areas of concern and we are making further objections.

POUNDFIELD

 

 

 

The Society has long fought to protect Poundfield, so we are delighted that the Main Modifications confirm the Borough’s intention to proceed with the designation of this area as a Local Green Space.  Poundfield already has some protection from being in a Conservation Area and, if adopted, its new status should maintain it as an important area of open land for the foreseeable future.

HOUSING

Sadly, it seems we may have to resign ourselves to a substantial amount of new housing in Cookham as the Borough is determined to press ahead with the designation of land for some 270 new dwellings, at the Whyteladyes Lane Gas Holder site, Lower Mount Farm and off Strande Lane. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The process precludes us from making any further objections in principle.  This will increase the size of Cookham Rise by more than 10% and place greater pressure on community infrastructure.  The growth in traffic caused by these sites, along with development in Maidenhead and Bourne End, will exacerbate queuing in the Pound and at Cookham Bridge, will increase pollution and will worsen road safety. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Discussions are already in progress between potential developers and the Borough.  A so-called Stakeholder Master Plan will need to be prepared for the Lower Mount Farm site and we shall be expecting to scrutinize it carefully to see how it proposes to mitigate its adverse impacts.

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