Press Release Archive:

Proposed Policy for Mill Lane, Taplow (February 2010)

South Bucks District Council has been consulting stakeholders about a draft policy for Mill Lane, Taplow. This would see the land formerly owned by Taplow Paper Mill, including Skindles, designated as an Opportunity Site in the council’s emerging Core Strategy.
The policy envisages the redevelopment of Skindles as a hotel/restaurant along with offices and residential accommodation, leisure uses, a café/restaurant, a marina/boatyard and open space in “a high-quality mix of development, watercourses and parkland.”
It also states there should be no increase in traffic levels or the overall footprint of development and that the visual impact, i.e. height and mass, should be reduced, although the height of the mill building could be replicated in a quality design.
The draft policy is very welcome and ticks many of the right boxes in terms of protecting the environment while improving the site and extending public access to the river. We are especially pleased by the commitment to a riverside walk and the support for a footbridge link to Boulters Lock. We also welcome the longer-term proposal to remove the gasholder and the sheds on the Severnside site and to restore parkland in that area. Particularly encouraging too is the stipulation for retaining the three character villas, described as “gentlemen’s residences”.
However, in spite of the stated strategic objectives, we would continue to be concerned about:
- The size of a replacement hotel, esp. height and number of rooms
- The height and mass of any apartment blocks
- Any potential increase in footprint
- Any potential loss of Green Belt
- Traffic levels and the impact on the A4
We hope that the SBDC and RBWM will work together where necessary to recognise the River, not merely as a boundary, but as an important and cherished area of mutual amenity. Whilst we are keen to see this problem area (esp. Skindles) addressed, we are conscious that the upcoming planning decisions will make their mark on this beautiful location for generations.
Since the Mill closed in 2006, the Civic Society has been liaising with residents representatives and interest groups on both sides of the river to try and ensure the site is dealt with sensitively.
We have always believed that the Mill’s closure offered an opportunity to establish planning principles for the restoration of the land. The financial uncertainty surrounding the site has made that more imperative. This policy establishes ground rules that any potential developer must take on board in future proposals for the site and although it may be many months before it is formally adopted, it should carry weight in planning terms in the meantime.
For further information: Martin McNamee – 01628 623203