Local people in Cookham have consistently resisted the development of Poundfield. Indeed the possibility this land might be lost to housing was one of the reasons for establishing the Society over 50 years ago. Poundfield comprises four fields to the north of The Pound, with Englefield, the beautiful listed house and garden made famous by Sir Stanley Spencer paintings at its centre.
Poundfield circa 1990
The Society has successfully advised and supported aggrieved residents through two major campaigns. In 1989 a proposal for 140 houses was fiercely rejected by the villagers in a campaign which included over 600 people linking hands around the entire Poundfield area. This was all captured in this film 'Poundfield Protest'. The application was finally dismissed by the Home Secretary following an appeal by the developers.
Unfortunately in 1991 parts of Poundfield were excluded from the Green Belt following a court case pursued by some of the landowners. This was followed by the planting of high hedges and positioning of unsightly farm buildings, all of which somewhat diminished the open nature of the area. However the Society believes that hedges can always be trimmed but housing developments are permanent!
In 2002 the Society successfully campaigned to extend the Cookham Village Conservation Area to include all of Poundfield.
In 2016 further applications to build houses on Poundfield were proposed. Again residents campaigned and this film 'Save Poundfield' records the rally that started start the campaign. Attendees included our MP and then Home Secretary Theresa May, who you can see endorsing Poundfield as an "important green space for Cookham". The applicants withdrew their applications in the face of strong opposition.
It is clear from the two videos that Poundfield has been changed dramatically. However it is still essential to the character of Cookham and is a valuable green link between the commercial heart of Cookham Rise and the river area. The Society has since been pressing RBWM to designate Poundfield as a Local Green Space.