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Councillors approve emission strategy but clash over planning policy

Councillors rowed over housing but showed ‘brief unanimity’ over saving the planet at a meeting at The Curve last night (Thursday).

Slough Borough Council’s newly proposed Low Emission Strategy (LES) strategy was approved by full council at the meeting in William Street.

The strategy includes measures to improve air quality up to 2025 including the possible introduction of clean air zones, which would require commercial vehicles such as busses, lorries and taxis to need certain emission standards.

Other aims include better cycling infrastructure, more electric car charging points, and setting up a ‘zero tailpipe emissions day’ as a target to get rid of petrol and diesel cars in the town.

Visit www.slough.gov.uk/pests-pollution-and-food-hygiene/low-emission-strategy-2018-2025.aspx for more details on the strategy, which was approved at the meeting in William Street.

Overall, Conservative councillors were supportive of the strategy, and SBC leader Councillor James Swindlehurst (Lab, Cippenham Green) said he was pleased about the ‘brief unanimity that appears to have broken out’.

But it did not last long, as councillors battled over a motion by Cllr Strutton calling for SBC to update its planning policies to ‘reflect local needs and deliver quality homes within the borough’.

Cllr Strutton said there is a ‘glut’ of one bedroom homes in the town partly due to the upcoming Crossrail project.

“The fact is if we keep building the majority of one or two bedroom flats, we are only building up a problem for ourselves in the future,” he said.

“We will not be getting people staying in this town, bringing up families and giving this town a long term future.”

An amended proposal was submitted by Cabinet member for housing Cllr Mohammed Nazir (Lab, Baylis and Stoke) resolving to ‘continue updating’ planning policies to ‘deliver a full mix of housing’.

Cabinet member for planning Cllr Martin Carter (Lab, Britwell and Northborough) said it’s a ‘complex issue compounded by the number of brownfield sites’ in Slough.

He said national legislation allowing office to residential conversions to go ahead without planning permission is one reason why there are so many one and two bedroom flats in the town.

“You only have to look at Nova House to see how badly these things can go wrong,” he added.

Nova House, an office to residential tower block in Buckingham Gardens, failed a cladding safety test following the Grenfell Tower fire in June 2017 and has been found to have a number of other safety faults.

SBC deputy leader Cllr Sabia Hussain (Lab, Central) said there have been several family housing projects in Slough including Wexham Green, but said demand for high density accommodation is higher in the centre of town.

Councillors voted in favour of the Labour amendment.

 

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