A disproportionate growth in Cookham
The effect of including the proposed sites would be to increase Cookham’s housing stock by over 10%. The new plan specifically stated that major new developments should take place in the three designated sites of maidenhead, Windsor and Ascot, and it therefore contrary to all principles and policies of the Borough Local Plan to load proportionately so much onto a community in the Green belt.
540% Increase in
Even with the buildings already built in the Borough since 2016 and committed, the travel time figures from the Council at peak, from Cookham High Street to Cookham Bridge increases 320% from a base line.
With the additional sites proposed in the BLP, this increases to 540% of baseline. This is taking the assumption of just 10 extra cars per hour stated by the document. It is not realistic that from 600 new dwellings in our local area (Cookham and Spencer’s Farm) that there will not be more than 10 cars using this route and therefore the effect would be much worse than 540% increase.
No cross-county liaising
The transport infrastructure plan affecting these sites is unlawful and unsound due to no reference to consultation with Wycombe District Council (WDC) relating to development and new highways proposals north of the Thames, failing to to check traffic forecasts and share both volumes and outcomes during the consultation period. There is currently approved by WDC 650 houses in Bourne End the other side of Cookham Bridge, when original RBWM Plan was submitted they were just a proposal
Cookham has single pass and one way streets
Due to existing narrow streets and the bottle neck nature of Cookham, the traffic levels during high volume periods (such as rush hour) are already high in areas and further development would only escalate this to an epidemic level.
The transport infrastructure plan affecting these sites does not provide for extra road and public transport infrastructure especially at known traffic problem areas, Cookham Bridge, Cookham Pound, and Cannondown Bridge, as well as proposing extra traffic and buses along the congested Lower road. As we know The Pound and The High Street in Cookham are essentially gridlocked now. We need to emphasise that The railway Bridge, The Pound, The High Street and the river bridge are essentially one way traffic points with no alternative solutions.
Historical listed Bridge
Cookham Bridge dates from 1867 and is listed. There is no alternative crossing of the thames in this corner of Berkshire apart from Marlow Bridge (Bisham Rd), which is also listed and single passing.
The relevant road in Cookham, the A4094, leads from the Bridge into the Cookham Conservation Area. The conservation, traffic infrastructure, noise, safety, pollution and biodiversity requirements as set out in the new Plan all combine to show that the new Plan should contain specific measures aimed at protecting Cookham from such a heavy increase in traffic and changes.
Danger to residents and Child safety
The Pound (within Cookham Village conservation area) is a thoroughfare for both Cookham Rise and Holy Trinity school children, and where Lorries/and buses are required to mount the pavement to pass (which at its narrowest is 19 Inches). The proposed transport plan for Cookham is to increase bus transport which is not viable in the Village and creates an increased danger to children, pedestrians and cyclists.
Over the limit of legal pollutants
The air pollution policy states ‘Development proposals should aim to contribute to conserving and enhancing the natural and local environment, by avoiding putting new or existing occupiers at risk of harm from unacceptable levels of air quality.’ (EP2.3)
There has been no proposal or plan on how to mitigate traffic pollution levels within Cookham, and a further 270 houses would wield an extra 400+ vehicles that cannot be guaranteed to use green renewable sources and will add to already high levels of dangerous pollutants within the village.
No air quality assessment has been made for Cookham within the plans relevant document. Due to the narrow streets of the High Street (B4447) and The Pound this increased volume of traffic would create a dense fume zone.
It is likely that the pollutants already existing are many times over the legal limit in these areas of Cookham and more static vehicles through congestion would make this worse.
No access to emergency medical
In the 2018 plan it stated that 99% of residents cannot get to A&E IN LESS THAN 30 MINS. (Paragraph 3.4.7) Yet the fact only 1% can access Wexham Park Hospital in this time has been removed in the changes. You cannot make A&E from Cookham in under 30 minutes, and in rush hour it is more like 45-50 Mins, this needs to be highlighted.
With more homes comes more traffic which means this time increasing for residents and the emergency services. Sites such as the Datchet (HA42) were removed in the revised plan, due to flood risk, as is Cookham, yet it is nearer the hospital and amenities. Why is this?
With a long waiting list at Cookham Medical centre and a large population of elderly residents already, the demand placed upon Cookham medical centre which is the only primary care facility in Cookham will be stretched and will potentially not be sufficient to support a 10% growth in Cookham’s resident numbers
Borough already on target for delivery
The BLP proposes 14,240 new dwellings’ for the plan period March 2013 to March 2033. The actual and estimated completions from March 2013 to March 2020 are 3,286, which means that by next March, only 6 years into the period, RBWM will already have delivered 23% of its requirements.
RBWM are now projecting a yield of 16,435 dwellings, i.e. a surplus against requirement of 2,195 homes. The allocations in the table (Paragraph 7.2) on housing should read 7,671 and the total should read: 16,215.
For this reason, and the over delivery of target dwellings there seems little reason for land in Cookham’s Green Belt to be taken to meet a need which does not appear to exist.