The Green Belt Preferred Options Consultation on the Chiltern and South Bucks Local Plan commences TODAY, and runs for six weeks, until 12 December.
This consultation is part of the proposed Chiltern and South Bucks Local Plan (2014-2036). We had been hoping that following submissions from the public earlier in the year, there would be more evidence of integrated thinking for the area, its housing and business needs, infrastructure and so on. However this second consultation is limited to development options in the Green Belt, with fifteen sites nominated across the area.
Chiltern District Council (CDC) will be holding a series of exhibitions. It urges “Residents, businesses, community groups, landowners, developers and organisations… to participate and give their views on the options for removing land from the green belt to help meet the districts’ development needs until 2036.”
It also insists that “no decisions have yet been made and their views are extremely important in helping the Councils proceed with developing the Joint Local Plan, as requested by central government”.
Chiltern Chamber believes it essential that residents, businesses and other stakeholders should attend, express views and submit written response to the Consultation before it closes in mid-December. This will be the last chance to make your voice heard before the draft Plan is released for consultation in spring 2017.
Below we have listed the meetings most relevant to our area:
Details may be seen at: http://www.chiltern.gov.uk/planning/localplan2014-2036.
Evidence base on CDC web site.
Online response form on CDC web site.
Is this a Green Belt Land Grab?
The Chesham Society, in commenting on the possible implications for Chesham, is clearly disappointed by the apparent change of emphasis, and we should imagine that this will be reflected in other communities, too.
In Chesham’s case, a 57.25 ha area to the North East of the town is potentially earmarked for 900 new houses. The Chesham Society’s press release comments that “It appears to be moving towards reducing the Local Plan to a Housing Plan with a presumption that demand can only be met from within the Green Belt. There is little mention yet of the infrastructure that Chesham urgently requires and no mention of employment sites. Despite claiming to have been working on infrastructure issues and population numbers for many years our local authorities have given no indication of what they are planning for Chesham as a whole.”
As a Chamber of Commerce, keen to see business thrive in our area, we would strongly endorse the Society’s stance that there is an urgent need for integrated planning, including infrastructure and opportunities for business. Housing is undoubtedly an essential part of the equation, but we really need to be satisfied that all viable options have been considered, before irreversible changes are made to the Green Belt.
The public meeting in Chesham will be held on Saturday 5 November from 2.00pm to 5.00pm. At the same time in an adjacent room, the Chesham Society will be mounting an exhibition showing progress with their Vision of Chesham, first unveiled in March. This proposal has been further developed and addresses the long term development of all Chesham, especially the Town Centre, accommodating far more than 900 new houses, with associated upgrading of facilities and infrastructure, and aiming to have minimal impact on Green Belt.