THE borough local plan (BLP) has been formally adopted by the council after over a decade in the making – but it has not been welcomed by everyone.

Many speeches were made at the extraordinary full council meeting on the local plan that earmarks multiple sites for thousands of homes within the Royal Borough until 2033.

The plan was found to be sound and legally compliant by the government-appointed independent planning inspector Louise Phillips after rigorous examinations, public hearings, and public consultations.

At the meeting on Tuesday, February 8, 22 Conservative councillors voted for, and 17 opposition members voted against.

Here are some of the speeches made by the opposing Liberal Democrats and Independents:

Cllr Simon Werner (Pinkneys Green), leader of the Lib Dems

Slough Observer: Cllr Simon WernerCllr Simon Werner (Image: Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead)

“We are representatives of the people. If we do not listen, we are failing in our role. You over there [the Tories] are not listening to your residents. They are the masters.

“We’ve heard from residents and councillors on this side [Lib Dems & Independents] that biodiversity and sustainability is the elephant in the room, barely a mention in this borough local plan.

READ MORE: "Flawed" Windsor & Maidenhead borough local plan adopted

“Instead, we see the destruction of chunks of green belt closest to our towns. Maidenhead golf course, Spencer’s Farm, chunks of Cookham, Woodlands Park. This is the opposite sustainability and biodiversity.

“What was the point of declaring a climate emergency if you then completely ignore it?

“We have heard the mentions of affordable housing, but we all know the housing they call affordable is not actually affordable at all.

“This BLP is not going to provide truly affordable housing. I think it shows how out of touch the people over there [the Tories] are that they think that these so-called affordable housing are actually affordable.

“We have heard even if the so-called affordable housing is built is in the plan the viability argument actually means the developers won’t build them in the end.”

He added: “For years now we’ve been ignored where we have raised all these issues; flooding, biodiversity, sustainability, all of these arguments. If you [the Tories] have listened, we would not have had a flawed plan now, we would have had an excellent plan.”

Cllr Lynne Jones (Old Windsor), leader of the Independents

Slough Observer: Cllr Lynne JonesCllr Lynne Jones

“Just because the BLP is technically sound, does not mean it’s a good plan for the borough.

“The Covid pandemic has changed working patterns with multi-national companies moving towards homeworking and reduction in office space, resulting in the requirement for extra facilities and space in housing.

“Some residents are questioning the housing numbers and, after seeing the multitude of flats built over the last two years and the proposed developments within the BLP, are asking whether we are really building for the future need and whether they will ever be affordable for the average younger person.

“The plan does not seem to echo the vision in our climate strategy. they are worried about pollution, the removal of large areas of trees and wildlife, and the lack of acknowledgment that the borough does not have the public transport infrastructure to support the move from motor vehicles.

“My concern is the BLP is a working document. It is not yet complete.”

Cllr Geoff Hill (Oldfield), deputy leader of the Independents

Slough Observer: Cllr Geoff HillCllr Geoff Hill

“The backdrop is one of hopelessly inflated housing need. The plan allows for 15,940 dwellings. 250 per cent of housing need as detailed by the Office of National Statics in July 2019 that being only 6,382 dwellings. Built or committed to date are 6,955 dwellings.

“Has the need already been mostly fulfilled?

“The Office of National Statistics published data that shows births at their lowest for 40 years and say this position will only become exacerbated.

“On this basis alone, the plan is fatally flawed and shows that a dramatic slow-down in the pace of construction is required.

READ MORE: Tory leader says not adopting Windsor & Maidenhead local plan would be "foolish"

“RBWM has declared a climate emergency. It makes no sense to build on green belt, particularly 2600 homes on Maidenhead Golf Club and Harvest Hill Rd, destroying two stunning natural habitats.  The result will be massive CO2 emissions, chaos on our roads, during and after construction.

“We will lose the last green lung in Maidenhead, the last major carbon sink, a major water retention zone, pollutant adsorption system and major oxygen factory.

“We’ll be replacing this with the persistent release of greenhouse gases and pollutants from 1000s of car journeys and homes each day.”