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COUNCIL LOSES GREEN BELT LAND TO DEVELOPERS, BUT RIGOROUS PLANNING CONTROLS STILL APPLY

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A last ditch bid by Windsor and Maidenhead RBC to carry on a legal battle over a proposed development site at Cookh...
A last ditch bid by Windsor and Maidenhead RBC to carry on a legal battle over a proposed development site at Cookham which the council wants to remain in the green belt has failed.

The site forms part of a well-known view of Poundfield, Cookham, which was painted by Stanley Spencer 66 years ago and which now hangs in Southampton City Art Gallery.

In February this year the court of appeal ruled that the land in question should be part of the metropolitan green belt. It over-turned a high court ruling backing the council's decision to include it in the green belt.

Now the law lords have refused permission for council to challenge the court of appeal ruling in respect of the six hectare site at Poundfield lane which is owned by developers, Copas Brothers. The law lords considered the application for permission to appeal in private and gave no reasons publicly for their decision refusing the council permission to continue the legal battle.

However, there seems little likelihood that the decision will pave the way for any early development of the site. In the appeal court lord justice Simon Brown said that even though the site would remain outside the green belt, the developers had 'small cause only to rejoice'.

He said other rigorous planning controls would still apply to the land and there could be little expectation of any extensive planning permission.

In his decision he said: 'The Cookham Society and others interested in this area need not be too concerned. It will I suspect, be many years yet before Stanley Spencer's view of Poundfield becomes available only in the Southampton Art Gallery'.

But he said that under the Government Planning Policy Guidance criteria inclusion of the land in the green belt could not be sustained.

The council's decision to include the land in the green belt followed a recommendation by a local planning inspector that the land should be designated as green belt despite objections from the developers.

STRAND NEWS SERVICE

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