Coun­cil gets into deep wa­ter over pool plan

Au­thor­ity ac­cused mis­lead­ing pub­lic with ‘land swap’ scheme for site

Buckinghamshire Advertiser - - NEWS -

CHILTERN Dis­trict Coun­cil (CDC) has been ac­cused of ‘mis­lead­ing’ the pub­lic over its plans to re­build the age­ing Chiltern Pools in Amer­sham.

But the coun­cil has hit back at the crit­i­cism and re­futes ‘in the strong­est pos­si­ble terms’ any sug­ges­tion its re­de­vel­op­ment pro­pos­als are ‘se­ri­ously flawed’.

CDC launched a pub­lic con­sul­ta­tion last year out­lin­ing its plans to re­place the Chiltern Pools and com­mu­nity build­ings with a new, pur­pose-built hub.

The plans in­cluded an eight-lane, 25-me­tre swim­ming pool, a div­ing/ teach­ing pool, a sports hall in­clud­ing four bad­minton courts, and an events and the­atre space.

There were 2,386 re­sponses to the pro­pos­als which were over­whelm­ingly sup­ported by more than 80% of peo­ple.

CDC then put for­ward a re­vised ver­sion to ad­dress con­cerns raised.

Th­ese in­cluded build­ing the con­cept on the li­brary and car park ar­eas op­po­site the coun­cil of­fices and de­vel­op­ing a por­tion of the King Ge­orge Play­ing field.

In re­turn CDC have promised to pro­tect ‘in per­pe­tu­ity’ the green area in the mid­dle of Wood­side Close and de­velop more green space near the barn build­ings.

The green in Wood­side Close would be trans­ferred to Amer­sham Town Coun­cil through Fields in Trust, a char­ity which pro­tects open spa­ces by hav­ing a veto over fu­ture de­vel­op­ment on that land.

But Pa­trick Car­roll, of Chiltern Av­enue said: “[CDC] is at­tempt­ing to mis­lead the pub­lic, this time with the ridicu­lous idea of a ‘land swap’ to make the new plans work, whereas in fact, there is no ‘swap’ in­volved at all, just a com­plete loss of ex- ist­ing open green space and chil­dren’s play fa­cil­i­ties.”

CDC said: “We re­fute in the strong­est terms any sug­ges­tion our plans are ‘se­ri­ously flawed’ and ‘mis­lead­ing the pub­lic’.

“CDC is cur­rently un­der­tak­ing a con­sul­ta­tion on the po­ten­tial land swap in Amer­sham which is needed be­fore we can progress the pro­pos­als to re­de­velop the Chiltern Pools site.

“This is a for­mal, le­gal process and no de­ci­sion has or will be made un­til the con­sul­ta­tion re­sponses have been re­ceived and then shared with the Fields in Trust (FIT), a pub­lic body whose key aim is to pro­tect pub­lic open space.

“Only once the FIT’s ap­proval has been re­ceived can CDC sub­mit a for­mal age­ing plan­ning ap­pli­ca­tion.”

De­tails of the con­sul­ta­tion have been sent to res­i­dents and there is an ex­hi­bi­tion in the CDC coun­cil of­fices, King Ge­orge V Road on Tues­day and Wed­nes­day, Septem­ber 19 and 20 from 5pm to 9pm.

Visit www.chiltern.gov. uk/landswap. The con­sul­ta­tion runs from un­til Oc­to­ber 2.

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