We must ex­plore all hous­ing op­tions

Buckinghamshire Advertiser - - OPINION -

Re Let­ter of Jan. 8: Halt the loss of the green belt HAV­ING noted the plan­ning in­spec­tor’s con­struc­tive re­marks, the coun­cil with­drew the DDPD, mov­ing straight to the prepa­ra­tion of a new, com­pre­hen­sive Lo­cal Plan to take the dis­trict to 2036.

The in­spec­tor queried the ad­e­quacy of our as­sess­ment of hous­ing de­mand and whether iden­ti­fied sites would de­liver pre­dicted hous­ing num­bers. Chiltern was not alone in re­ceiv­ing such com­ment.

Our in­ten­tion to build be­tween 2,650 and 2,900 homes in our towns and vil­lages by 2026 was mod­est, given the South’s des­per­ate need of hous­ing.

A hous­ing need as­sess­ment to 2036, part of the new plan process, will almost cer­tainly pro­duce a higher fig­ure than our conur­ba­tions can ac­com­mo­date, and it’s doubt­ful whether our neigh­bours will be able to meet our short­fall.

To demon­strate our preparedness to meet hous­ing need, we must ex­plore ev­ery av­enue. We have to con­sider higher den­si­ties and even high-rise de­vel­op­ment as well as ap­prais­ing the 88% of our dis­trict that is green belt. The prin­ci­pal pur­pose of the green belt is to main­tain in­ter-com­mu­nity sep­a­ra­tion, de­ter coun­try­side encroachment, pro­tect her­itage prop­er­ties, and pre­vent ur­ban sprawl. There may be parts which are less vi­tal, where the need for hous­ing out­weighs pos­si­ble harm.

Fail­ure to do this could re­sult in loss of plan­ning con­trol and a de­vel­op­ment free-for-all. Plan­ning Chiltern’s fu­ture is vi­tally im­por­tant in the face of un­yield­ing pres­sures. Res­i­dents will, I hope, con­trib­ute to the con­sul­ta­tion, de­tails of which can be found on our web­site and in li­braries.

CLLR ISO­BEL DARBY Leader, Chiltern Dis­trict Coun­cil

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