Windsor Neighbourhood Plan founders thank public for backing

The Windsor Neighbourhood Plan (WNP) has been adopted by the council after it received the backing of a public referendum last week.

Founders of the WNP have paid tribute to ‘people’s sheer tenacity and stubbornness’ after more than 4,900 people voted in favour of it.

A neighbourhood plan is a document that sets out planning policies for an area and helps guide where and how developments are built.

The WNP will cover the suburban sections of Windsor, excluding the town centre, up to the year 2034.

It has undergone more than six years of research and consultation and went for public approval on May 6, the day of the local elections.

A total of 4,984 people backed the plan at Thursday’s elections, with 617 opposing it. The turn-out was 26.7 per cent.

Co-chair of the WNP committee, Claire Milne, said she was ‘delighted’ with the amount of people who voted in the referendum and added her thanks to those who supported her team’s proposals.

The plan is now an official planning ‘counter-weight’, she said, and will be used by developers when they seek to build developments.

“In a town it is hard sometimes to get a good-turn out for neighbourhood plans because of the sheer number of people you have to reach,” Claire said.

“So we were very pleased with the way it worked out.

“We are delighted.

“I do not know whether it was because of COVID or the PCC [police and crime commissioner] elections, or because of our campaigning.”

Claire said that she is looking forward to the plan being used to help shape future works in the Windsor areas it covers, adding that it has even more significance due to the Borough Local Plan not yet being adopted and national planning policies being relaxed.

“The results tell us we pretty much got it right,” she said. “People do want a say in what happens locally.

“It is the only real counter-weight we have to tell developers: ‘this is what people think is important’.”

Claire and her team said that the plan would help the ‘re-greening of Windsor’ and preserve the town’s heritage and character.

“Windsor is very diverse, it has got different areas with different characters, and we hope that these will not be damaged going forward,” Claire said.

“A plan can’t stop development, but it can shape it.”

The committee will now be forming a group to monitor how the Windsor and Maidenhead council uses the WNP when making planning decisions.

“We would like to thank everybody that supported us over the years,” Claire said.

“It has been a long period of time since we were designated by the borough.

“People’s sheer tenacity and stubbornness - at last it has been rewarded.”

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