Flawed think­ing, a flawed process and badly put to­gether

Bea­cons­field So­ci­ety hits out at green belt devel­op­ment

Buckinghamshire Advertiser - - NEWS - by JAS­MINE RAPSON jas­mine.rapson@trinitymirror.com Lo­cal Democ­racy Re­porter HUN­DREDS

of con­cerned Bea­cons­field res­i­dents vis­ited a pub­lic meet­ing to learn about plans to fight the devel­op­ment of the town’s green belt.

Coun­cil­lors were slammed dur­ing the Bea­cons­field So­ci­ety meet­ing, on Wed­nes­day Septem­ber 12, as pro­pos­als to build up to 1,700 homes in the area, as part of the coun­cil’s draft Lo­cal Plan, were dis­cussed.

The Bea­cons­field So­ci­ety’s Peter Foster ad­dressed a crowd of around 250 at St Mary’s Church, in Wy­combe End, crit­i­cis­ing South Bucks District Coun­cil (SBDC) and Bea­cons­field Town Coun­cil for fail­ing to work with res­i­dents to shed light on the green belt plans.

He also in­sisted the so­ci­ety’s com­mu­nity news­let­ter con­tain­ing de­tails of the draft Lo­cal Plan is ac­cu­rate, af­ter SBDC this week said it con­tained er­rors re­gard­ing the scale of the devel­op­ment, the size of green belt ear­marked for hous­ing and po­ten­tial traf­fic growth.

Mr Foster said: “The coun­cils have a con­sid­ered po­si­tion on this, that is the town and district, but they have never met with any­body to dis­cuss it. We are the big­gest com­mu­nity group, we even asked ‘can we work with you?’ No.

“This isn’t a cam­paign to have a pop at coun­cils or the in­di­vid­u­als.

“Some of this is flawed think­ing, flawed process, and badly put to­gether. It needs a proper chal­lenge to it.”

The so­ci­ety’s Ali­son Wheel­house said if the land is even­tu­ally re­leased from the green belt for devel­op­ment it would re­sult in a mas­sive “ur­ban ex­ten­sion” and would see the town’s pop­u­la­tion in­crease by thou­sands.

She added that no af­ford­able hous­ing has been in­cluded in In­land Homes’ Wilton Park devel­op­ment, af­ter this week it was re­vealed the devel­op­ers are locked in a row with SBDC re­gard­ing the num­ber of cheaper houses re­quired on the site.

Mrs Wheel­house said: “[Bea­cons­field’s green belt] is the big­gest by far of all the ar­eas con­sid­ered by the district coun­cil.

“Un­less this is stopped, Bea­cons­field will have a ma­jor ur­ban ex­ten­sion and will see a pop­u­la­tion growth of 4,000 peo­ple. The town would grow by about one third.”

One frus­trated res­i­dent said he “can­not un­der­stand” the plans to build hun­dreds of homes, as Bea­cons­field is al­ready “sat­u­rated”.

Ac­cord­ing to the coun­cil’s web­site, be­tween 1,500 to 1,700 homes could be built on the land, as well as of­fices, ware­houses and a trav­ellers’ site.

The so­ci­ety has now called on the help of the pub­lic to donate to its fund to help fight the devel­op­ment of the green belt, which will cover le­gal help, as well as plan­ning and trans­port con­sul­tants.

South Bucks District Coun­cil said it would not have been “ap­pro­pri­ate” for of­fi­cers to at­tend the so­ci­ety’s meet­ing at this stage of the Lo­cal Plan process, how­ever it added there have been at­tempts to ar­range a sep­a­rate meet­ing.

Spokesman Rachel Prance added: “Having an up-to-date Lo­cal Plan is crit­i­cal to en­able lo­cal con­trol over fu­ture de­vel­op­ments in the area and the coun­cil is fo­cused now on com­plet­ing the plan as soon as pos­si­ble.

“A de­tailed timetable will be pub­lished later this year but we ex­pect a pub­lic con­sul­ta­tion to take place early in 2019.”

Some of Bea­cons­field’s green belt is un­der threat from devel­op­ment

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.