At Monday evening’s Extraordinary Council meeting, and in front of around 300 local residents (who weren’t allowed to speak or ask questions), RBWM Councillors considered the motion of whether to proceed with the latest Borough Local Plan. After more than 2 hours, a vote was taken and 33 Councillors voted to proceed with the Plan and 10 voted against. So the motion was carried.
This was despite over 1,600 local residents having signed a petition asking Cllrs to delay proceeding with this Plan so that proper consultation and engagement can take place. It was also despite a proposal from the Dept for Communities and Local Government to pay for professional mediation between Neighbourhood Plan Groups and the Borough to help us resolve our differences. And it was despite many Parish Councils and Neighbourhood Plan Groups having submitted their concerns over this Plan at some length during the previous consultation. But our Cllrs (or most of them) aren’t listening.
Among the Cllrs who voted for the Plan were all the Cllrs representing Ascot and the Sunnings with the sole exception of Julian Sharpe, who voted against.
So what happens next?
This Plan will now be published by RBWM as the “Regulation 19 Publication version” and a consultation period will commence on 30 June for 8 weeks to 25 August 2017. But representations to this consultation can only be about the legal and procedural soundness of the Plan, and not about the content – i.e. there is no real opportunity to influence any changes.
We are now considering our options for further action and will update you once any decisions have been made.