Home plan for empty of­fices

Pro­posal to at­tract com­muters to vil­lage

Buckinghamshire Advertiser - - OPINION - By Jo-Anne Rowney jo-anne.rowney@trin­i­tymir­ror.com

EMPTY of­fices are to be turned into hous­ing to at­tract more com­muters to a vil­lage.

Sev­eral of­fice blocks in Mar­sham Lane, Ger­rards Cross, have stood empty for years.

A plan­ning ap­pli­ca­tion was heard by South Bucks Dis­trict Coun­cil for a re­de­vel­op­ment of one of the of­fice blocks at 49 Sta­tion Road, to build 15 flats and a base­ment car park, by In­land Homes.

Deirdre Hol­loway, coun­cil­lor for Ger­rards Cross, ar­gued there was a need to make use of the empty of­fice space and it would im­prove the area.

She made her com­ments speak­ing at the plan­ning com­mit­tee meet­ing on Wed­nes­day, Oc­to­ber 1.

She said: “Th­ese of­fices have been empty for years. There’s been an of­fice empty for 15 years and another of­fice empty for some time.

“I think that area was over­done and there was too much em­pha­sis given to of­fice space.

“If there was a de­vel­op­ment and move to­wards res­i­den­tial, then I think it would be lovely to see flats there.

“It could work for first time buy­ers with the help the gov­ern­ment is now giv­ing, though this area is ex­pen­sive, but they can com­mute to London.

“It would at­tract more peo­ple to the vil­lage and make it bet­ter than the empty of­fices we have now.”

How­ever, con­cerns were raised as the plot was deemed not vi­able for af­ford­able hous­ing.

Coun­cil­lor Jen­nifer Woolveridge said the lack of af­ford­able flats ‘sad­dened’ her.

The Earl of Stock­ton, who also sits on the com­mit­tee, raised is­sues with the nar­row road lead­ing away from the site.

He said: “I know I drive a Chelsea trac­tor, but I have to go up on the grass if a Tesco de­liv­ery van is com­ing the other way.

“I worry about in­crease of traf­fic.”

The plans also did not meet re­quire­ment in the core strat­egy, which states that a de­vel­op­ment of 10 units or more needs to have at least 10 per cent re­new­able en­ergy.

How­ever, the com­mit­tee de­cided the ben­e­fit of filling the empty of­fices with homes over­ruled this and voted in favour of the ap­pli­ca­tion.

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