Five key petition points: Summerleaze and FPSS response

 

INSURANCE AND FLOOD PLAIN – A small part of the Spencers Farm site, parallel to the White Brook, has a 1 in 100 year chance of flooding with an extra 20% allowable for the possible effect of climate change. However, both the school and the housing will meet all planning and regulatory requirements in relation to flooding and will not be built in areas that may be affected. The Environment Agency’s website shows the limit to the flood plain and clearly shows that the vast majority of Spencers Farm is outside of it and therefore not liable to flood.

http://www.environment-agency.gov.uk/homeandleisure/floods

 

In light of the above, no specific challenges are anticipated in securing insurance for the development.

 

IMPACT ON INFRASTRUCTURE - A multi-disciplinary team including planning experts, architects and civil engineers is involved in putting this proposal together. Full consideration is being given to ensuring both sites are complete communities, supported by appropriate infrastructure and with a full range of additional facilities, including healthcare provision, as required. Summerleaze’s ongoing financial investment in developing this proposal is based on the team’s view that both the Spencers Farm and Furze Platt sites will be able to provide the infrastructure needed to support the developments and to gain planning permission.

 

IMPACT ON FEEDER SCHOOLS – Furze Platt Senior School has discussed pupil places in detail with the Council. The Council is confident that if the school is expanded from 6.5 Form Entry to 7 Form Entry on the new site (an increase of 17 places per year group) it will be sufficient to meet predicted local demand. It is also likely that FPSS will introduce transition protection for its linked schools to ensure that the traditional links between Furze Platt Senior Schools and its feeder schools are maintained.

 

  • Primary School Places

 

The development proposed for Spencers Farm includes a new primary school, with sufficient places for the predicted extra pupils of primary age from both the Spencers Farm and the Furze Platt sites.

The new primary school will also meet the growth in demand that the Council’s pupil planners predict will come from the existing population.

 

URBAN SPRAWL


  • Green Belt review

The proposal makes clear that the land at Spencers Farm is in the Green Belt and that a decision on whether to allow parts of the Green Belt to be used will be part of the overall Borough Local Plan considerations. The Plan requires the Council to show how it will meet demand for housing, recreational, education and other community facilities.

The Council’s Planning Inspector has already stated in relation to previous local plans, that RBWM needs to look at all options, including undertaking a Green Belt review, otherwise the Plan will be found ‘unsound’. Summerleaze are aware that RBWM has established that there is a limited amount of land which is currently not Green Belt, but could be re-allocated as such, thereby enabling development of current Green Belt by way of a "no loss of Green Belt" policy. The land that RBWM has identified for re-allocation would be sufficient to cover all of Spencers Farm and more.


  • Covenanting land to preserve new Green Belt line

 

The area of land required for the development at Spencers Farm is restricted by the Parish border to the north, meaning it will not go beyond the development boundary to the west of the railway. It is possible to view this as a natural rounding off of development in the north of Maidenhead.

To the east the site is bounded by the White Brook and it shares a border with the urban development to the south and west.

Summerleaze own the majority of farm land between Summerleaze Road and Cookham and are willing to covenant the land to ensure no inappropriate building takes place and that the land remains open land, thereby preserving the Green Belt on its new line forever.

 

  • Developments will include views and open green space

 

The development at Spencers Farm will incorporate open space and will include views and access to the wider estate of Sheephouse Farm and Cliveden. This will ensure that the development is not seen as an urban sprawl, but rather a well-planned semi-urban fringe.

The development at Furze Platt will also incorporate significant open space provision and will be sympathetically designed to ensure it is in keeping with the housing which surrounds it. In particular, significant open space will be provided close to the Junior school ensuring that there is no sense of it feeling closed in or restricted.

 

ECOLOGY - Both sites have been subject to a Phase 1 Habitat Survey.

 

  • Spencers Farm

 

The majority of the Spencers Farm site comprises arable farmland, which offers little in ecological terms. There are small areas of grass and woodland, together with the watercourse, which were subject to a greater degree of investigation. The investigation found no protected species along the watercourse and a medium population of slow worms and lizards, and a small population of grass snakes. It is common practice for this low level ecology to be mitigated by the provision of suitable alternative sites, either on the development itself or on adjacent land. It is Summerleaze’s intention to relocate the species where necessary to areas of the Estate adjacent to the development, for which there is plenty of scope. Should there be any reason to realign the White Brook as part of this development there would be a significant opportunity to enhance the structural diversity and with new planting increase the overall diversity/ecological benefit of the Brook.


  • Furze Platt site

 

On the Furze Platt site there is limited ecological value due to the nature of its use. However, the new development will bring benefits to the local ecology through design of open space and the retention and planting of hedgerows and significant trees.

The issue of ecological loss or impact will be fully covered as part of the planning process and Summerleaze anticipates that there will be no net loss of ecological habitat and no detrimental impact on currently inhabiting species.