Flawed thinking, a flawed process and badly put together
Beaconsfield Society hits out at green belt development
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