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.
12th October 2021
HALF HOURLY TRAINS FROM COOKHAM
- YOUR OPINION?
At present our branch line has an hourly service throughout the day with additional trains during peak periods to give a half hourly service for the busiest times. For several years, The Cookham Society has been arguing for a half hourly train service throughout the day between Maidenhead and Marlow.
This hoped for improved service would appear to align very well with the objective of the current RBWM Active Travel campaign. We feel it would encourage people to walk to stations and use public transport rather than taking a car door to door. Also with the number of new houses in Cookham and north Maidenhead in the new Borough Local Plan and the large developments coming forward in Bourne End we need to make the maximum possible use of the branch line route across the river to ease the expected traffic flows.
Would you or anyone in your household use the trains more if there was this improved half hourly service throughout the day? We'd love to hear your opinion either by emailing
or commenting in our Facebook survey at https://www.facebook.com/groups/thecookhamsociety.
15th October 2021
ACCESS ACROSS WEIR STILL BLOCKED:
THE EA'S RESPONSE
This response from the EA is 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.
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.
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.
STATION COURT UPDATE:
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.
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.
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.
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.