MP for Windsor
Working Hard For You
Fighting against insensitive overdevelopment
The UK needs new houses to meet the needs of a growing population, but building and planning must be done in coordination with local communities. Berkshire, Windsor and the surrounding areas have beautiful parks and green spaces. We must conserve these for future generations. Once they're gone, they're gone.
I believe
  1. Residents must have a strong voice in local planning decisions
  2. We must protect and improve our beautiful local green space for future generations
  3. Planning must not be a top-down process driven only by the Council in the face of local resistance
Actions undertaken in Parliament
  1. Asked 7 written questions to Ministers
  2. Published over 10 articles in the national and local media
  3. Responded to as many as 1,650 letters from constituents about local development
Recent activities
LOCAL Column: Thursday, 25 April 2013

Insensitive over-development of our area is one of my key concerns for Ascot, Sunninghill, Sunningdale and across the constituency. That’s why I’m delighted that the Ascot and Sunnings Neighbourhood Plan looks set to be adopted after residents voted in its favour at the referendum earlier this month.

Neighbourhood plans are an excellent tool to help ensure any developments are in keeping with local wishes, and I am delighted to have supported the Localism Act as it made it’s way through parliament. Local plans allow local authorities to guide development in the area and, having looked closely at the plan, I’m pleased to see that it is well balanced; calling for development of the high street but against a backdrop that it does not damage or destroy the leafy and picturesque landscape we enjoy. It seems to me it’s a good plan that would allow the building of some additional housing but only in line with increasing and improving local services and infrastructure.

I’m pleased residents best interests are being served through the Plan, which is creative and positive in seeking the best approach to accommodating sustainable development in our area. This is why it has gained so much strong local support for a major redevelopment and rejuvenation of Ascot which will deliver a considerable amount of new housing alongside new economic opportunities for retail and small businesses, infrastructure improvements to the High Street and much desired community benefits in the form of a new primary school, community hall and open space.

The plan will now proceed to formal adoption by the council next month. You have my commitment that I will follow the process carefully to ensure residents wishes are maintained throughout.

LOCAL Column: Sunday, 03 October 2010

I’ve often felt that our beautiful area is under constant threat from insensitive over-development. The volume of letters, emails and phone calls I receive on the subject seems to confirm the suspicion.

So I’m delighted to hear that the Secretary of State has confirmed new planning regulations in the Royal Borough which will help maintain the rural character of two Green Belt sites in Wraysbury.

Last year, the Council agreed to impose measures that meant anyone wanting to erect a fence or wall on a plot in Coppice Field or Thamesfield would have to apply to the council for planning permission. Whilst a step in the right direction, these measures needed confirmation from the Secretary of State for them to be deemed permanent; that confirmation was received by the council last week.

This is fantastic news for all those who work so hard to stop over-development and unlawful behaviour in planning applications. So I want to take this opportunity to say ‘thank you’ to the many active residents, local councillors and, in particular, Su Burrows, of Wraysbury. She’s done a fantastic job on behalf of residents and continues the fight to protect Green Belt land in the borough.

We’re fortunate to live in a lovely part of the country, with such an active community. Let’s continue the fight to keep it that way!

LOCAL Column: Wednesday, 29 September 2010

For many years I have fought insensitive overdevelopment across the Windsor constituency and will continue to do so in Binfield and Warfield. My role is to give a voice to residents’ feelings about out-of-control development in the area and, hopefully, we will meet with the same success as we did with the fight against the 3rd runway at Heathrow.

Recently, I met with Binfield Village Protection Society, who have campaigned tirelessly against the extent of the planning proposals around Binfield, to hear their views and thoughts on the proposed housing developments on the Blue Mountain Golf Course. I was determined to meet the group, despite having to fight my way back from the London Papal Visit with a journey of more than two hours!

I found the meeting really informative and it was great to meet with so many residents, many of whom had already written to me about the proposals. I will be working with the Society and local residents to get some answers from Bracknell Forest Borough Council and will do what I can to support their wishes.

The Coalition Government has recently announced changes to the planning framework. The Labour Government’s national planning targets have been abolished and housing development will now be, rightly, a decision for local Councillors to make, because they are directly democratically accountable to residents. Thankfully the local Councillors are supportive of local wishes and, given the change of national policy, they are now able to respond to local residents and help decide the level of local housing.

We are fortunate to live in such an idyllic area which retains the feeling of a distinct local village. I will continue to fight alongside local residents to keep it that way.

LOCAL Column: Thursday, 21 January 2009

Our beautiful area is under threat.

I have enjoyed the beauty of Windsor, Ascot and the Sunnings for many years, yet these areas are threatened by insensitive over-development. If you take a walk through Eton, Datchet, Horton or Wraysbury you’ll no doubt make the same observation.

There’s no doubt that the Government’s planning policy is to blame. It frequently allows planning applications to be granted on appeal, despite being rejected locally. The wishes of residents are simply ignored on many occasions. In contrast, other areas are crying out for re-development, the Thames Estuary and parts of Liverpool for instance.

There are countless examples of this in the constituency, including the recent applications by Tesco in Sunninghill and the gravel extraction in Colnbrook. I have kept an active watch on these applications, writing directly to the Council, planning inspectorate and Chief Executives of the organisations involved, on the behalf of residents.

Of course there is a need for sensitive local development, which is often welcomed by local residents – the new Ascot Business Park is an example- but the Government’s one size fits all policy is spoiling this exquisite corner of England.

I want to take this opportunity to thank the many constituents who have raised their concerns with me, including Mr Mark Bristow, who has tirelessly fought for local wishes and continues to keep me updated on developments.

It has to stop somewhere and I hope the planning inspectorate considers the wishes of local residents closely when making their final decisions.