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Boulters Lock car park could be extended if council plans are approved

Extra spaces for cars and cyclists will be added to Boulters Lock car park if council plans are approved.

The car park, in Lower Cookham Road, became the centre of a planning dispute in 2017 after residents sought to stop a Hindu community centre being built on a piece of vacant land adjoining it.

Councillors gave the Hindu Society of Maidenhead a 125-year lease for the vacant land, subject to planning approval.

But the group failed to get approval after a residents campaign and it lost its subsequent appeal to the Planning Inspectorate.

Now the council is seeking to install 38 parking spaces, two Blue Badge places and 16 cycle spaces on the vacant land beside the car park, which itself has 87 bays and two Blue Badge spaces.

A cover letter sent to the borough’s planning department by Indigo Planning, on behalf of the council, said the plans would ‘decrease the pressure of future on-street parking’, ‘make use of a site that would otherwise remain vacant and untidy’ and ‘meet future parking demand’.

The scheme ‘will provide additional car parking and cycle parking spaces to meet existing demand from visitors to the riverside and nearby houses, and to better manage and landscape the site’.

Shrubs and trees will be planted to ensure the privacy of nearby residents, the document added.

The proposed Hindu centre, which would have been used by adherents of the faith and non-Hindus, was blocked after the Hindu Society of Maidenhead failed to show to the planning inspector that there were no great crested newts, a protected species, at the site, and it could not demonstrate that it had sufficiently assessed other sites at a lower flood risk.

Residents, who formed the Boulters Riverside Community Interest Company to oppose the centre, had argued that it would not have enough parking and would exacerbate existing issues in the area.

At the appeal, the planning inspector said parking would not have been made worse by the centre.

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