Monday, 27 October 2014

New 'Public Consultation' - Please fill in form or write BEFORE FRIDAY 31 OCTOBER

Braywick Court School held an Exhibition of their plans for the site on Wednesday. The plans still involve a massive overdevelopment of the former Winbury School site, use of Public Open Space from Braywick Park, taking over the Nature Centre & building a replacement one ON BRAYWICK PARK. 

Braywick Park is a beautiful park, and is Green Belt. This level of development is required because Bellevue Place Education Trust wants this 'Free' School to accommodate 210 pupils, whereas before, when the site was Winbury School it only ever had at most, 90.

There is a consultation form about these plans (CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD FORM) which MUST BE EMAILED TO BY FRIDAY 31 OCTOBER.

The plans can be seen on here: The location of the Nature Centre is right on the last page of the 'Traffic Assessment' - [also at the bottom of this post to save you the trouble of digging it out!]

The form is a pdf which you can’t fill in on a computer easily so you will need to use adobe reader or another programme that allows you to fill in forms - or just copy the questions in and send as a letter/email.

Once you fill it in, please email to Rebecca Skinner by FRIDAY 31 October at
(If you can’t open the file so that you can fill in the form, just write your own email, stating your name and address, and answering all or some of the questions which are listed below.)
In answering the questions, at this stage - short answers are enough. Types of comments you could make for the questions are as follows: BUT PLEASE USE YOUR OWN WORDING, AND NOT WHAT YOU SEE BELOW. Write what you think, and about the issues that matter most to you.

1. Do you support the design of the school’s infill extension?
NO – overdevelopment of the site; cramming a quart into a pint size plot; far too big; far too high; whatever you want to say about it.  

2. Do you agree with the proposed location of the Nature Centre?
There should be no need for a replacement Nature Centre which means loss of open space and green belt land. They want to take over the existing Nature Centre for classrooms for the school, so are having to build a replacement on the park. As mentioned above, the plans for the new Nature Centre are hidden away on the final page of the 'Traffic Assessment' (wonder why?) - we've dug it out and posted below.

3. Do you agree with the design of the proposed new Nature Centre?
Same as above

4. Do you agree with the proposal to close vehicular access to the school site from Hibbert Road?
They are referring to the entrance on the corner of Hibbert Road opposite Malvern House. It's pretty obvious this entrance should be closed on highway safety grounds anyway.

5. Do you agree with the proposal for school drop off and collection to be located in the existing car park to the north of the site?
No. Is this realistic? Are parents happy with it? Are all parents currently using the drop off and collection? Can’t see it being used in the winter when it is dark and raining etc. THE SCHOOL CAN'T MAKE PARENTS USE THIS FACILITY. Watch our video for the realities of how they say it is supposed to work... Write whatever you think.

Do you have any other comments on the draft proposals for the school or nature centre?  If so, please outline these in the box below.

Braywick Park shouldn’t be ruined by this proposed development which is on open space land and in the green belt. This is not an appropriate site for a school for 210 pupils as it is far too small. There are highway safety issues which have not been addressed. One could go on and on. Just have a look through all the posts on this site for whatever resonates with you - but most importantly PLEASE EMAIL THEM BY FRIDAY OCTOBER 31st.


If you can’t fill in the form, then you can copy the questions below and answer as you see fit, and then send your email to

1. Do you support the design of the school’s infill extension?  

2. Do you agree with the proposed location of the Nature Centre?    

3. Do you agree with the design of the proposed new Nature Centre?   

4. Do you agree with the proposal to close vehicular access to the school site from Hibbert Road?  

5. Do you agree with the proposal for school drop off and collection to be located in the existing car park to the north of the site?

Do you have any other comments on the draft proposals for the school or nature centre?  If so, please outline these in the box below.


Here is the image of the proposed new location for the new Nature Centre they want to build on Braywick Park (they only want to do this because they want to take over the existing Nature Centre building for the School - because they want the school to accommodate more than twice the number of pupils it previously did when it was Winbury School - if they stuck to the original numbers, none of this would be necessary).

We understand this to be a prefabricated log cabin. Hardly a match for an early 19th century building with a heritage link to the town from a local benefactor as well. 

Tuesday, 14 October 2014

"Public Exhibition" on Weds 22nd October

There will be a 'Public Exhibition' on Weds 22 October at Braywick Court School / Braywick Nature Centre - presumably to show the latest plans - which they say will be up at on Monday 20th Oct. 

Please go and have a look on the day - and voice your concerns if you have any. Although doing that in writing afterwards so it is properly recorded would be the best way...

OH, and read this beforehand perhaps - which we posted in July:

Will be interested to see on what ground they think it's acceptable to build on this beautiful park, which is Green Belt land. Oh, and to see how they present what they probably originally intended anyway, as a 'concession'.

Interesting also that this is an 'exhibition' and not a 'consultation'. 

As we've seen from the recent 'disposal of public open space' debacle - RBWM already signed the lease over to Bellevue Place Education Trust before the public were even notified or given the opportunity to write with objections. If we "share our views" will anyone actually listen? We shall see...


Thursday, 9 October 2014

"Councils Must Protect our precious Green Belt Land" - RBWM are you listening?

On the 4th October the Department for Communities & Local Government, Brandon Lewis MP & The Rt Hon Eric Pickles MP published a press release and new guidance to encourage Councils to protect their Green Belt Land.

Click here to read the press release. Click here to read the 'new guidance'.

The Maidenhead Advertiser also covered the story below (although it's not strictly correct - the National Planning Policy Framework IS POLICY - what they amended on 4 Oct was the 'guidance').

Here's a few quotes from this government press release:
"Councils must protect our precious Green Belt Land" 
RBWM are you paying close attention?
"Councils should consider how they will protect and preserve important sites in their area, especially green belt sites." 
- Brandon Lewis (Minister of State for Housing and planning)
RBWM have already gone ahead with the new Oldfield School development on Green Belt land nearby, despite strong opposition, and Councillors are promoting the plans to build on Braywick Park (which is Green Belt) in the local press.
"This government has been very clear that when planning for new buildings, protecting our precious green belt must be paramount. Local people don’t want to lose their countryside to urban sprawl, or see the vital green lungs around their towns and cities to unnecessary development." 
- Eric Pickles (Secretary of State for Communities & Local Government) - Oct 6 2014
Will the Council please listen to this guidance FROM THE GOVERNMENT and protect our Green Belt? AND NOT BUILD ON GREEN BELT LAND IN BRAYWICK PARK!? 

They've already gone ahead & granted the lease & disposed of public open space in July, behind closed doors, before advertising the disposal to the public - encouraging a 'consultation' which was irrelevant as the lease had already been signed! 

They didn't even advertise the disposal properly, and failed to mention until afterwards, when questioned, that they had already signed the lease. 


A consultation that comes after the decision has already been made isn't really a consultation is it? 

The Maidenhead advertiser are doing a poll on the general subject of protecting the green belt this week - might be worth a click:

Wednesday, 8 October 2014

Shame on the RBWM Council


Four weeks ago we noticed that the Council had made a mistake in not advertising the notice to dispose of open space at Braywick Park for two consecutive weeks and therefore the Council had to start the process a second time. 

Local residents & users of Braywick Park again took pen to paper to object to the loss of the open space, in particular the apple orchard which is the only grassed, dog free area in the whole of Braywick Park. The improvements to the apple orchard as well as the area immediately outside the Nature Centre were carried out only 2 to 3 years ago when the Council received funding through Groundwork South and Britvic. 

Now we find the advertising of the notice was all a sham as the Council had already signed the lease on the 3rd July! (The lease which covers the former Winbury School buildings, the buildings formerly leased to Winbury School and the open space).

(Confirmation received from Emma-Jane Brewerton of Shared Legal Solutions - who we wrote to with objections, and also reported here in an article in the Maidenhead Advertiser.)

According to the March Cabinet Report (click here to read)
" 2.8 The area of land between the two buildings (C) is currently designated Public Open Space. This will become enclosed and will be for the sole use of the school. The public will be consulted on the loss of the Public Open Space. Consultation will occur through the local media. Any objections to the proposed disposal must be considered in accordance with s123(2A) of the Local Government Act 1972. If this part of the site is used for the purposes of school playing field in the future it may fall under the protection afforded to school playing fields and restrict future use.(The DfE definition of playing fields currently includes hardplay spaces)." 
Didn't happen.
"14.1 Braywick Court School has carried out its own consultations with the public. Prior to disposal of the open space RBWM has to advertise notice of intention to dispose of the land in question in accordance with s123 Local Government Act 1972 (as detailed para 5.4 above). "
You already know what we think about the School's 'public consultation'. (Read about it here).


There appears to be a conscious decision on the part of the Council to push through Braywick Court School without any regard to legislative procedures which require the Council to advertise its intention to dispose of the public open space and consider any objections before making its decision.

By not following the correct procedure, the Council has caused an injustice to all those residents who value Braywick Park and its open space.

The residents of Maidenhead deserve better governance from their officers and councillors.

Looks like the Council had forgotten and officers were going through the motions in the hope that residents wouldn't realise the lease had already been signed. Why didn't the council simply put their hands up and say they had made a mistake?

We want an explanation from Councillor Burbage & RBMW's Managing director, Mr. McGaughrin as to why the council granted the lease on 3 July despite the fact that:

- It did not advertise its intention to dispose of the public open space & consider any objections before making its decision 

- It did not consider the need for public open space within the locality when making the decision to dispose of the land.

We still have had no response from any member of the Council on these matters (although Cllr. Dudley HAS been helpful and communicative so far on a few other issues relating to the School, and Ann Pfeiffer has also replied to some of our questions).

However, it continues to look like there's been some pretty underhand, undemocratic stuff going on here... 

The public were not consulted, and the objections were not considered. 

RBWM went ahead and granted the leases without notifying anyone. As they are required to do.

Is this whats going to happen again when the planning application (eventually) gets submitted? 

The one which involves building on the green belt in the middle of Braywick Park? 

Is anyone in the Council going to listen to local residents and users of the park who are against this? Can we believe they will follow the rules when it gets to that point? So far, it would appear that they haven't... 

The same document containing the rules they've already broken contains this section. Maybe they will just grant that lease too? Who cares about planning permission anyway...

"2.7 The Free school will apply for planning permission for any extension to the existing school building and for the new Nature Centre. The latter will be on the basis of drawings and a specification prepared by RBWM. Only if planning permission is granted will the lease for the Braywick Nature Centre be entered into."