April 2017 – 17/01107
Boulters Lock Car Park. Construction of a new Community Centre for the Hindu Society of Maidenhead and the wider community, to include associated parking, bin storage and cycle store.
We have commented on 22nd November 2016 on the earlier application (16/03176) for the development of this site. Our objections remain as previously stated, although it is acknowledged that there have been some changes in the details relating to the proposed development. We object in principle to any development of this site - so the details are of no consequence. The site is a disused area in the north west corner of Boulters Lock Car Park. It is "landlocked" with the rear gardens of surrounding residential properties on three sides. On the south side lies Boulters Lock Car Park (owned by RBWM) through which the only access to the site is available. The value of the site for development purposes is driven by the willingness of the RBWM to grant a right of way over the Car Park to allow access to the site. These are unique circumstances, and such a site would never normally be considered for development. Any planning decision in favour of this application is prejudiced by the Borough's ownership of the Car Park and the ability to grant access. This delivers potential development value - which would never apply under normal circumstances. It is understood that the Borough is committed to finding a site for a place of worship/community centre for the Hindu Society of Maidenhead. This location is unsuitable for any such or similar development. It is located 1.5 miles from the town centre, on an irregular bus route (which is threatened with closure), within 50 metres of a Conservation Area and in a highly residential area. Although parking provision on the actual site has been increased, it is clear that the majority of visitors to the site will arrive by car and that it will be necessary for some vehicles to use the public car park spaces. Any such scheme will have an un-neighbourly impact on local residents and be detrimental to the visual amenity of Maidenhead Riverside. With the number of development opportunities in the pipeline for Maidenhead Town Centre it is inconceivable that the Borough cannot identify a more central site for the Hindu Society - as is the case for organisations such as the Heritage Centre. There should be no structural development on this site at Boulters Lock Car Park. Historically this plot of land has been used for public car parking, and it should be returned to this use. Parking at Maidenhead Riverside is coming under increasing pressure, especially on summer weekends and during school holidays. Already, on street parking causes inconvenience for residents and the Borough has introduced permit parking in several roads in the vicinity of Boulters Lock. More roads - such as Lock Avenue are expected to follow. A Riverside Strategy working group is about to consider all aspects of the visitor experience and potential opportunities for the area. Surely, the inadequacy of parking provision will be one of the key conclusions. There is to be a new footbridge linking Ray Mill Island with Taplow Riverside. At the eastern end of this footbridge will be located a riverbank public picnic and leisure area. There is no parking provision on the Taplow side - so there will be additional pressure on Boulters Lock Car Park. The continuing popularity of Ray Mill Island and the potential loss of the already inadequate parking at Boulters Lock Inn will continue to generate demand for more spaces in Boulters Lock Car Park. In anticipation if this ongoing and increasing demand, the right and proper use for this site is for additional car parking. At the same time improved security should be introduced to reduce the risk of anti-social behaviour, and as a focal point for visitors to the Riverside the amenities should include public toilets.