GREEN BELT FEARS AT 900-HOMES PROPOSAL
Council hits back saying ‘nothing is set in stone’
RADICAL plans have been put forward to build 900 new homes and remove nearly 60 hectares from the Bucks green belt.
Residents are up in arms over the proposals, which come as part of the 20-year mass housebuilding scheme known as the Local Plan.
Chiltern District Council (CDC) and South Bucks District Council (SBDC), which are preparing the joint plan, have stressed that ‘nothing is set in stone’ and this is merely a consultation stage.
Both councils have been carry- ing out what is known as the ‘Green Belt Preferred Options Consultation’, a public consultation earmarking possible places for future development to tackle the housing crisis.
The proposals will see 57.26 hectares removed from the green belt, an area which includes Chesham to the south, Nashleigh Hill to the west, Lycrome Road to the north and Lye Green Road to the east.
The developable area is estimated at 26.1 hectares and the proposed average residential density is 35 dwellings per hectare, which gives a proposed capacity of approximately 900 houses.
Continued from front page
Campaigners in the town have blasted the proposals and also criticised the council for not advertising the plans adequately.
A spokesperson for the Lye Green Association said: “Many residents, including a significant number who live elsewhere in the town, are angry they were not previously notified of these plans and that they missed the chance to attend an exhibition put on by CDC, in Chesham Town Hall, on Saturday November 5.
“Many only heard about the proposals by chance from a friend or neighbour and they want more public notification of the plans.”
He adds the community fears the plans, if adopted, would result in ‘significant damage’ to Chesham, harm the appearance of the area, the ‘loss of identity of Lye Green’ and the loss of quality agricultural land.
There are also concerns over what would happen to the other half of the site ‘when the whole site has lost green belt protection’.
The spokesperson added: “Residents also question how Chesham can cope with such an expansion, when the road and drainage infrastructure is at capacity.
“There are also concerns how sustainable these development proposals are in terms of being too far from local shops and the underground station.
“The community feels that any expansion of the town must follow the government’s advice by looking to brownfield sites first.
“We question the need and ability of Chesham to cope with a disproportionate share of the new homes being planned in the combined areas of South Bucks and Chiltern and urge that the proposal is scrapped.”
A statement on the Chesham Society’s website says: “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.”
It adds: “Rather than locate additional required housing on peripheral, unsustainable sites on the edge of the town, the society firmly believes that demand can be met in and around the town centre, by reusing old industrial sites and the mixed use of sites currently only used for parking, while increasing available car park numbers.
“There will thus be no exceptional circumstances for loss of green belt.”
A Chiltern District Council spokesman said: “From more than 450 green belt sites which were examined, just 15 have been included.
“Our work continues around infrastructure.
“We’re looking at transport modelling and are also in talks with service and infrastructure providers including, for example, the county about schools provision and with the clinical commissioning group regarding healthcare facilities.
“We have been extremely proactive in seeking the public’s views. To date, more than 1,300 people have attended one of our 13 public exhibitions, with three still to come.
“So far, the Chesham public exhibition held on November 5 logged the highest attendance with 266 people coming along, and we’ve had the biggest response from Chesham in the consultation thus far.
“In addition we held two stakeholder meet- ings, which 140 town and parish councillors and residents’ groups representatives attended, where they were encouraged to spread the word in their local communities and we wrote to over 3,200 people/ groups registered on our database.
“The consultation has been covered in the local press, there are static exhibitions in both the councils’ offices, we have information in local libraries and we are regularly putting messages out on social media.
“We feel we are doing everything possible to tell people about the consultation and welcome the opportunity to once more encourage people to get informed and respond to this very important consultation.” Visit www.chiltern. gov.uk/ planning/ localplan2014 -2036 for more information.
Radical plan: Green belt areas around Chesham could be threatened by the proposal