What was proposed?
Chiltern District Council jointly with South Bucks District Council have plans to extend the town and build on Green Belt agricultural land at Lye Green to the North-East of Chesham which will result in:
This will adversely affect EVERYONE in Chesham.
Click on maps to see area affected.
Click here to see an extract of the emerging Local Plan proposal for allocating Green Belt Land in Lye Green for 900 homes
Brown not Green
If you want to help protect the Green Belt and have your say on the future of Chesham you can;
We contend the Council’s evidence so far is inconsistent, confused and that it does not demonstrate exceptional circumstances for redefining Green Belt boundaries around Chesham.
What has happened so far?
The Brown Not Green (BNG) Campaign has amassed support from all parts of the Town. At the beginning of 2017 we had circa 1,800 names on our Petition.
- BNG sought to have the Land at Lye Green designated as an Asset of Community Value (ACV) in 2019 and briefly secured this designation for about 7 month giving BNG the Right to Buy under the Localism Act 2011. This was based on community evidence of public using the land for informal outdoor recreation for decades. The ACV status sadly was revoked following a controversial Review Decision by the Council at the end of 2019.
- The draft Local Plan moved forward for Examination in Public before two Inspectors early in 2020. Due to the Covid pandemic, Hearing Sessions were delayed and later cancelled though the Inspectors sought additional submissions from certain parties including BNG.
- BNG made comprehensive submission on numerous aspects of the Plan including concerns about the non-legal compliance of the Plan and in particular the absence of co-operation with neighbouring Local Authorities.
- The Inspectors acknowledged these eriticisms and expressed concern to the former Council on all these issues. Based on the Inspectors recommendations, the draft Local Plan was later formally withdrawn in late October 2020. Within days of this “terminating event” BNG submitted applications for the Land at Lye Green to be designated as a Village Green under s.15 of the Commons Act 2006.
- We took a number of adverts in the local papers, (2016)
- We have distributed thousands of leaflets around the Town, (2016)
- We have taken a stall in Chesham Market a couple of times to enable those without internet access to sign the physical petition, (2016)
- We have displayed numerous signs & banners in and around the Town, (2016)
- We have lobbied Councillors in the Town, District & County Councils and before Christmas 2016 both Chesham Town Council & Bucks County Council resolved to reject the preferred Green Belt site option 1 in Chesham, (2016 and 2017)
- Updated results from our Petition were formally handed to the Head of The Council in the Council Chamber on Tuesday, 10 January 2017.
- Most importantly we offered guidance to people about this matter and were able to ensure as many people as possible submitted a response to the Green Belt Consultation by the December 12th 2016 deadline.
- BNG have spoken to the principle landowner who wishes it to be known that he does NOT support the Council's proposals other than for a much smaller area of housing development on roughly 25% of the site. He has confirmed he will not sell the rest of the site. Ref: Principle Landowner Reluctant to Sell - Brown Not Green (2017)
- Aylesbury Vale District Council have agreed to take 5,750 homes from the unmet housing needs from neighbouring Chiltern District, reducing the need to develop Green Belt options in the area. (2017)
- Chiltern District Council delayed making any public response on the matter until November 2017 but launched a Strategic Review of the Green Belt proposals. (2017)
- BNG were invited to a meeting with Chiltern District Planning officers in December 2017. Council Officers rejected the BNG notion that brownfield land could meet all the unmet housing needs of the area. BNG were not impressed and have since agreed to appoint a barrister from the famous Landmark Chambers to advise on final submissions to the Council and to appear at the future Local Plan Inquiry (Examination in Public) probably in 2019.
- BNG are fundraising to pay for this legal representation against the emerging Draft Local Plan Find out more about our fundraising efforts here.
- BNG reached their initial fundraising target of £20,000. We are still leaving all the fundraising channels open and will continue to request funds so that we can exceed the original target as surplus legal funds will be required for this lengthy campaign.
- The Local Development Scheme was further delayed again. Suggestions were that the next Consultation Stage would occur towards the end of 2018. BNG have in the interim had an initial consultation with our retain barrister from Landmark Chambers and have also sought additional third party expert consultants as well.
- Between March & November 2018, nothing appeared to change on the Council’s website which merely proclaimed that:
- “The published Local Development Scheme will not now be able to be met. Following local transport modelling and duty to co-operate engagement with Highways England, the Councils are required to undertake additional specific strategic highway (motorway) junction modelling. This modelling will be published on the Emerging Local Plan Evidence Base of the website in due course.”
- However, during that period Central Government published a revised updated version of the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) which introduced much welcomed additional requirements to protect the Green Belt. Specifically, local authorities should now alter green belt boundaries only where exceptional circumstances are 'fully evidenced and justified', the new NPPF says. [To see the new NPPF click here]
- In December 2018, the Council announced another “Call for Sites” exercise notionally to update and refresh their database but BNG hope this also indicates the Council are finally starting to realise they have not identified all the Brownfield sites and opportunities for housing provision which BNG have been advocating for over 2 years. The Call for Sites consultation is open until 14 January 2019.