Mass protest planned ahead of key decision on Blue Mountain

Published: 21 Jan 2014 09:301 comment

HUNDREDS of residents are expected to take part in a demonstration before a key decision on whether to build schools and 400 homes on Blue Mountain golf course.

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Plans to remove a legal covenant protecting the land will be voted on at a full meeting of Bracknell Forest Council tonight (Wednesday).

The site is part of the council’s long-term housing blueprint. Homes, along with new primary, secondary and special needs schools are set to be built there, along with a new ground for Bracknell Town FC.

Members of Binfield Village Protection Society (BVPS) have been ampaigning to save the land – which is subject to a legal agreement made in 1990 that it should only be used for sports or open space for 125 years.

Laura Hogevold, from BVPS, said: “We are asking that the councillors at least defer the decision because there are a lot of questions that are unanswered.”

The council says that it needs to build a new secondary school on the Blue Mountain site to cope with an increase in the number of pupils in the area.

However, Mrs Hogevold believes there are alternative sites that could be suitable, such as Amen Corner, Farley Wood, Winkfield or the Maxis building in Western Road, Bracknell. She urged councillors to be more “innovative” in their planning.

BVPS handed out 3,000 letters to residents over the weekend, outlining their key concerns, which will be put forward during a deputation of residents at the meeting.

These include the loss of the golf course, which is open to the public and members believe that the 400 new homes will not solve the wider housing problem.

It also fears Binfield FC will lose members if Bracknell Town moves in.

The group says the council will have “betrayed residents trust” if it votes through the proposal.

The group’s letter states: “Feedback includes about 150 completed resident survey responses, 500- plus Facebook followers, a Facebook poll currently running at 96% of respondents not believing it is in the public interest to build on Blue Mountain, 321 objections sent to Bracknell Forest Borough Council, 120 letters sent to our local MP and more than 1,300 signatures received (and growing by the hour) in an online petition asking councillors to refuse the release.”

Mrs Hogevold, who launched the petition, said: “I’m astounded at the support.

“When I set it up I thought we might get a couple of hundred but we are heading towards 1,500.

“It is not just people from

Binfield, there are people from Bracknell, Wokingham and Crowthorne who use the golf course.”

Cllr Chris Turrell, executive member for Bracknell Forest Council, admitted the development of Blue Mountain golf course is an emotive topic.

“It is important to hear the debate in the right form and there’s clearly some concern among some residents who have strong feelings,” he said.

“Normally the decision would be taken by the executive but it has been referred to full council and that is the time when a decision will be made.”

The meeting takes place in the Council Chamber at Easthampstead House, Town Square, Bracknell, from 7.30pm.

l For live updates during

the meeting, follow us on

Twitter @bracknellnews

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