First look at 2,000 homes plan at Maidenhead golf course

HUGE 2,000 homes plans at the controversial Maidenhead golf course that will take 15 years to complete will be submitted next spring.

Developer CALA Homes (Chiltern) revealed to the Local Democracy Reporting Service (LDRS) that they plan to submit an outline scheme next year, which asks the Royal Borough Council if it agrees with the development in principle before reserved matter applications for access, scale, etc. are submitted.

The controversial 132-acre site in Shoppenhangers Road, which the proposed estate has been named the Elizabeth Quarter, is earmarked in the borough local plan (BLP) for 2,000 homes – 30 percent of which are affordable – two schools, a local centre, cycle paths, and public open spaces.

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However, the allocation has been met with heavy resistance from campaign group Maidenhead Great Park, who believe the loss of trees and wildlife as a result of the development is “environmental vandalism” and should become a great park for residents to enjoy and help battle climate change.

The council bought the lease of the golf course from the club for nearly £16m. However, golf club members can choose to stay at the site until the very end of 2025.

Andrew Aldridge, land director at CALA Homes, told the LDRS if they get the planning permissions approved by the council, development could start in January 2026, meaning it could take until 2040/41 for the construction to be fully completed.

So, what’s included in the scheme?

The golf course is earmarked for up to 2,000 homes, 600 of which (30 percent) are affordable homes. More than fifty percent of the dwellings are proposed to be family homes to the south of the site, known as the Harvest Hill neighbourhood, whereas the other half are flats to the north, called the town centre neighbourhood.

The mix of affordability includes 45 percent social rent, 35 percent affordable rent, and 20 percent shared ownership.

 

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A large space in the middle of the site is where a primary school and a secondary school could be placed. Fronting Harvest Hill Road, the local centre could be placed there so it’s visible to residents and “encourage its use”.

The ancient woodland Rushington Copse near the north end of the site will be retained with a huge buffer zone from the proposed homes to provide a central park.

With a large-scale development such as this, some trees at the golf course will be lost. Mr Aldridge explained they will retain as many trees as possible and will replace some of the trees lost across the site but could not say how many trees will be removed.

He said: “The talk at the moment is that it feels like [the site] will be completely napalmed and that’s not the case at all.”

Slough Observer: Indicative drawing of the homes in the Harvest Hill neighbourhood Indicative drawing of the homes in the Harvest Hill neighbourhood (Image: .)

Mr Aldridge continued: “Rushington Copse is an important element of the site, and we want to make sure we enhance the area around it because nobody is enjoying it at the moment apart from the golfers and we want to make sure that can be enjoyed by the public at large.”

A north-south route known as a “green spine” could run from the development to provide access to nature and the central park. Mr Aldridge said they are considering making that route for buses and pedestrians only.

The vehicular access to the golf course from Shoppenhangers Road will be retained and two vehicular access points could be installed from Harvest Hill Road.

READ MORE: Maidenhead Great Park’s legal fight blocked by High Court

A pedestrian/cycle pathway could also be installed fronting Harvest Hill Road and the existing pathway that connects Shoppenhangers Road and Braywick Road will be retained and enhanced.

The golf course has been considered for development for a few years now but because the council adopted the BLP and is working on a South West Maidenhead supplementary planning document (SPD), which helps guide CALA Homes in making the site as sustainable as possible, they were working on a “clean sheet of paper” with previous proposals being “binned”.

Will residents have their say in the scheme?

Yes, CALA Homes have launched its first public survey, which will run until December 7, to help inform the master plan for the site. 

CALA’s senior planning manager Charles Raikes said these consultations will be their chance to engage with the community and explain their proposals and how they got to this point.

READ MORE: Maidenhead golf course details ‘confirms protesters fears’

He said: “The problem we had is that we never had the chance to explain what’s happening.”

The proposal can be found here: www.calaplanning.co.uk/elizabethquarter. A public consultation is happening at the Maidenhead Library on Saturday, November 26, from 10:30am until 2:30pm.

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