CONTROVERSIAL plans to build 80-homes on open space prone to flooding will now be decided by Ministers after it was called in the Secretary of State.

Developer CALA Homes will have its plans to build new houses on land south of Ray Mill Road East in Maidenhead, also known as Deerswood Meadow, examined at a public inquiry.

The application was deferred and delegated to the head of planning by the ruling Conservatives sitting on the Maidenhead development management panel against officer recommendations in November but was subject to referral to the Secretary of State over flooding concerns.

The Environment Agency objected over flooding safety fears prompting planning officers to recommend refusal.

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An independent planning inspector will examine the 80-homes plan and will prepare a report and recommendation for Ministers to consider, who will make the final decision on whether to grant or refuse planning permission.

Despite concerns raised over flooding and its impact on open space, which the land is earmarked within the borough local plan (AL27) to be a pocket park, the Tories liked the offer of nearly 50 per cent affordable homes that would reduce the council’s “full” housing waiting list.

Royal Borough Observer: Layout of the 80-homes schemeLayout of the 80-homes scheme

The plans, involve building a mix of detached, semi-detached, and terrace houses, as well as 32 flats comprising 16 two-beds and 16 one-bedrooms.

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A spokesperson for CALA Homes said: “A public inquiry is an established part of the planning process and until a decision is reached, we have no further comment.”

This application has had a rocky journey. Initial plans were rejected in February 2020 and a revised scheme was withdrawn last minute at a Maidenhead planning meeting in August as CALA Homes believed its plans would not be determined in a “fair” manner.