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Lib Dems oppose Jealotts Hill development.

November 15, 2021 10:06 PM
By Windsor Liberal Democrats in www.windsorlibdems.org.uk
Save Jealotts Hill Julian Tisi

Julian Tisi meeting with members of "Save Jealotts Hill"

Royal Borough Liberal Democrats have joined the campaign against 2,000 homes on Green Belt at Jealotts Hill. The development, which is on the border of Bracknell Forest and The Royal Borough in the Windsor constituency, appears to residents to have the support of Windsor's Conservative MP.

Local Lib Dem Julian Tisi said,
"If we are serious about tackling climate change and protecting our Green Belt then this sort of development shouldn't be happening: Thousands of houses on a greenfield site with poor public transport can only mean thousands of extra car journeys every day. This is not sustainable development."

The proposed development is included in the Bracknell Forest Local Plan, but sits on the border of Windsor and Maidenhead, which will feel the effects of the extra traffic.

The site is currently used by Chinese-government owned agricultural science company, Syngenta, which is looking to turn the site into a new Science and Innovation Park and what it calls a "garden village"; together with Taylor Wimpey and building investors CEG they have formed the Jealotts Hill consortium to develop the site.

Save Jealotts Hill CAMPAIGN

The Save Jealotts Hill campaign has been formed to fight the development plans. They point to a range of problems with the development:

  • Loss of Green Belt - 116 acres of Green Belt adjoining the Royal Borough would be lost. The National Planning Policy Framework states that green belt can be altered only when there are "exceptional circumstances". We do not believe that the proposal to upgrade the existing Syngenta site qualifies as exceptional circumstances.
  • The proposed site is huge - At 2.6 square kms, the site is similar in size to all the existing northern suburbs of Bracknell put together and almost half the footprint of the whole of Windsor.
  • Air pollution - from both the construction traffic (it is estimated to take years to build) and from the additional cars added to local roads once developed.
  • Lack of transport links - once built, even if bus routes are improved, it will likely add an extra 5,000 car journeys a day onto already overstretched local roads bordering on the Royal Borough - in particular, the A3095, the A330 and the A308 Windsor/Maidenhead Road.
  • The economic case for the development appears inconsistent - Syngenta suggesting that they need the housing development to stay at the site, whilst claiming huge economic benefits from creating their science and innovation park.
  • No jobs guarantee - There is no guarantee that Syngenta will stay should the housing be approved.
  • Environmental damage - The site is close to several Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSIs) and there is a risk to wildlife in the area.
  • Light pollution and spoilt landscape - The site's location on a hill means the development will be highly visible and contribute to higher levels of light pollution in the area.
  • Housing not required - The housing is not needed to meet Bracknell's housing needs.

The developers are trying to overcome the detrimental environmental effects of their development by "greenwashing" their proposals, for example by calling the 2,000 additional houses a "garden village" or by claiming a "biodiversity gain" from the development, when it is more likely to result in the opposite.

Charlie Griffiths from the Save Jealotts Hill campaign welcomed the support of the Liberal Democrats to the campaign:
"If implemented this will have major negative impact on the environment locally; will create additional air pollution and traffic congestion on the Bracknell, Holyport, Maidenhead route; will create an isolated community poorly served by public transport; and will threaten indigenous local wildlife. We need to demonstrate strong local public support for this petition if this development is to be stopped. Sadly our local MP Adam Afriyie appears to support this development."