SPAE was established in 1971 and represents over 600 members. Its core purposes are to protect and preserve the Green Belt and to ensure that proposals for development in the Ascot postcode area conform with national, local and neighbourhood planning policies. Some 60% of our area is Green Belt which has been fundamental in maintaining the separation of the settlements of Sunningdale, Sunninghill, Ascot, North Ascot, South Ascot and Cheapside.
The character of our area is mainly of Victorian Villages in a mixture of rural and suburban leafy settings. It is an attractive place in which to live, work and visit and our residents and businesses wish that it remains so. However, these characteristics make it an attractive place for development, and this creates challenges in preserving the character of the area whilst facilitating sensitive development.
SPAE considers every planning application submitted in our area. During 2019/20, of the applications for development to which SPAE responded, around 70% were refused or withdrawn. We are particularly concerned to protect the Green Belt, where its main purposes are to check unrestricted sprawl, to prevent settlements merging into one another and to safeguard the countryside from encroachment.
SPAE understands that development is necessary and supports proposals for new homes, offices, commercial and retail businesses. This is provided they conform with local development plans, are sited in the right place, are built in character, and are supported by the necessary infrastructure, such as highways, schools, medical, energy and utilities.
Our officers are available to attend parish planning committee meetings. When necessary, we are represented at public hearings and inquiries and, if developers go to appeal, we can make representations to the Planning Inspectorate and the Department for Housing, Communities and Local Government where appropriate.