Homes at scout camp will be ‘dan­ger­ous’

Vol­un­teer warns of im­pact houses will have on site

Buckinghamshire Advertiser - - NEWS - by Tom Her­bert tom.her­bert@trin­i­tymir­ror.com Twit­ter: @TRHer­bert

FRESH con­cerns have been raised over pro­pos­als to build hun­dreds of houses next to an 80-year-old scout camp.

An area of nearly 14 hectares next to the Pac­car Scout Camp, in Chal­font Heights, Chal­font St Peter, has been ear­marked for pos­si­ble fu­ture devel­op­ment in the lat­est stage of the Lo­cal Plan.

Cliff Brooke, a vol­un­teer at the camp, fears the neg­a­tive im­pact that build­ing 420 houses next to it could have and warned of its ‘dan­ger’ at a parish coun­cil meet­ing on Thurs­day Jan­uary 26.

The Lo­cal Plan is a cen­tral gov­ern­ment housebuilding drive which will de­ter­mine where and how many homes can be de­vel­oped over the next 20 years.

A con­sul­ta­tion stage car­ried out by Chiltern Dis­trict Coun­cil and South Bucks Dis­trict Coun­cil, which are jointly pre­par­ing the plan, fin­ished in De­cem­ber and the options are cur­rently be­ing con­sid­ered.

Mr Brooke said: “We don’t re­ally want to take the pres­sure off just be­cause the con­sul­ta­tion pe­riod is over.

“We want to keep the pres­sure up while there’s still some­thing there.”

Call­ing the camp a ‘young peo­ple’s ac­tiv­ity cen­tre’, Mr Brooke said there will be a ‘se­ri­ous dan­ger’ if there are a lot of homes built next to the camp, with ‘in­quis­i­tive chil­dren’ pos­si­bly climb­ing on build­ing site equip­ment.

Warn­ing that the site ‘will not be­come vi­able’, he said: “Par­ents are say­ing if we have a hous­ing es­tate on our bor­der they will not bring their chil­dren any more.

“At the mo­ment it’s con­sid­ered a very safe area be­cause of it’s re­mote­ness.”

Around 50,000 young peo­ple vis­ited the site last year.

“It’s just im­mense,” Mr Brooke said.

“[Chil­dren] don’t have the fa­cil­i­ties any­where else.

“This is the only chance they have got.”

As the camp is run by vol­un­teers and open all the time, Mr Brooke dis­missed the idea of putting a gate on the camp and keep­ing the grounds pa­trolled.

He said: “We’re not a busi­ness.

“We’re run by vol­un­teers and we can’t keep on top of that.”

He said that neigh­bours would not ap­pre­ci­ate the noise and smoke [from camp fires] that the chil­dren make through­out the year.

Cit­ing a scout camp in Essex that has had to close re­cently, he said: “They’ve had an es­tate build up over the last few years and they have just given up.

“It’s an in­evitable con­se­quence. Vol­un­teers have said ‘I’m not up for a bat­tle’.”

Build­ing blocks: Tens of thou­sand of homes are due to be built in and around the Chilterns.

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