BRACKNELL Forest Council’s (BFC) planning boss has responded to Sandhurst residents’ concerns over the development of Horseshoe Lake.

The site is set to become a country park, meaning a new pavilion with an integrated cafe, an expanded car park, a natural play area, water sports and changing areas are set to be added to it as part of £2.6 million conversion plans.

But since BFC’s top team approved the plans in February, residents have told the News of their concerns about a lack of consultation with residents, traffic access to the site, entry and parking fees and more.

In July, a council planning officer attended Sandhurst Residents Association’s annual general meeting to make a presentation about the project to concerned residents.

According to a letter written by David Vousden, Sandhurst Resident Association Vice-Chair, to BFC planning boss Cllr Chris Turrell, the meeting was “very vociferous and charged” and the officer was left to “hang out to dry” as he was not joined by Conservative councillors.

His letter, sent in August, outlined concerns about the process for country park planning, the fees associated with running the leisure space and worries about traffic access to the new site.

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It continued: “Furthermore, no consultation with the main stakeholders – the local community – has not been considered.

“Any professional project manager would be aghast at the way this has been handled and inevitably it is understandable that there is a general feeling that the council is being less than open with its intentions.”

In response, Cllr Turrell told Mr Vousden plans are currently being formulated for the country park and officers are “working through" residents' "various concerns" as BFC prepares its planning application for the site, which is expected by November.

The response continued: “As part of the planning process, you will, of course, be welcome to make a representation on the application put forward, as are other residents.”

Last month BFC confirmed to the News visitors to Horseshoe Lake will not be charged entrance fees, after a straw poll of the SRA indicated more than half were unaware the council did not plan to implement entry charges.

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The authority also said parking charges are being reviewed and are anticipated to be set between £2 and £6, depending on the length of stay.