Oakley Green, Fifield & District Community Association
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At a meeting last week RBWM voted to adopt the Borough Local Plan. This is not a popular decision with many residents. Below is the speech made by our local Councillor Leo Walters
Mr Mayor, Members of the Council, Officers and members of the Public.

I have represented the Bray Ward on the Royal Borough as its Councillor over many, many years. In fact, since the inception of the Royal Borough itself in 1974 when Kit Aston was Mayor.

As a long-standing Conservative Councillor representing Bray Ward, a member of Bray Parish Council (BPC), the Royal Borough's representative on the Berkshire Executive Committee for the CPRE, as well as being a staunch supporter of Holyport Residents Association and the Holyport community, I believe that the majority of Bray Ward residents after allthese years know of my commitment to protect the Green Belt. These same residents also know that over the last two years I have consistently spoken out in questioning and criticising the draft Borough Local Plan submission that was presented to the Inspector. In short, in my opinion thousands of dwellings have been submitted that were neither required nor needed.

In these circumstances I think most people would consider it incongruous and possibly dishonourable on my part to fully endorse this plan when there remains much ambiguity over housing requirements, the fact that our road networks are already completely congested; pollution is toxic and so on. For example, Kent University recently presented an Air Quality Monitoring Report commissioned by Bray Parish that concluded that all 8 sites tested across the Bray Parish exceeded WHO guidelines.

Whilst I do not support this draft plan without revision, the grave dilemma of this non-negotiable stance given here tonight is that by not adopting this plan we will be left having no plan at all, leaving an open season, free-for-all, for all would be developers throughout the Royal Borough. Worst of all worlds! Therefore, in the circumstances I will support the plan.

However, in being a Conservative I will adhere to the democratic process of this Council. Therefore, should the BLP be adopted tonight, I will do everything to mitigate the potential damage caused by future development in the Royal Borough and in particular the Bray Ward which I feel has been unnecessarily targeted.

From past experience of the nature of Local Government it is clear that one has to compromise if one wishes to be able to continue to influence decisions that affect the people one represents.