Although news updates have been thin in recent months, Brown Not Green (BNG) has been working very hard throughout this year.
We have all been awaiting the Council’s decision to the Green Belt Consultation that was undertaken last year and various dates were rumoured for an announcement, each one superseded by a further delayed announcement date.
We were very optimistic that a decision on the Lye Green Chesham site would be announced in November but just recently a statement has appeared on the Chiltern District Council website suggesting further delays and that the final Draft Local Plan (presumably incorporating the outcome of the Green Belt Consultation last December, would not now be forthcoming until March / April 2018! See http://www.chiltern.gov.uk/planning/localplan2014-2036
As there has been a lot of other work going on behind the scenes BNG felt it was now appropriate to host an Open Meeting in Chesham Town Hall on Sat 14 October at 12.00 noon to update everyone on the machinations behind this long running issue and to raise awareness that the Green Belt around Chesham is still under threat. The meeting will be chaired by the Rt Hon Cheryl Gillan MP but there will be a detailed presentation made by our local Chartered Planning Surveyor, Phillip Plato before a Q&A session afterwards.
We remain very concerned about the potential for the Chesham site to lose its Green Belt protection and be developed for 900 houses. Whilst the main landowner has now publically asserted he will not release the larger area of land necessary for the scale of housing being proposed, it will be explained at the Public Meeting why the site to the North-East of Chesham remains under threat.
In summary, we are hoping for the best but must be prepared for the worst.
As such BNG feel they must prepare for a legal challenge to these proposals and at least have funds in place for hiring a specialist planning barrister to provide legal representation to our 1,800 supporters when the Local Plan Inquiry is held possibly sometime in 2018. We will explain how we plan to do this and if not needed, how funds would be returned to donors. However, BNG feel we must use this time to be prepared to challenge any decision given the continuing uncertainty surrounding the Council’s proposals that have the potential to adversely affect anyone living or working in Chesham
This is because, once the final Draft Local Plan is announced, there is a very strict timetable for making formal submissions and we must be ready. Accordingly, at the forthcoming Open Meeting on Sat 14 October, we hope to inform the wider community what we have been doing these recent months and we also intend to announce the start of our fundraising campaign for hiring the appropriate professional legal representation when the final Draft Local Plan is released.
Anyone interested in attending is welcome. Admission is free. We also hope to provide a summary of the meeting on this website in due course if you cannot make that date but please tell all your friends & neighbors to come if you cannot make the date. If you can help distribute leaflets about this meeting before the 14th Oct please contact BNG via this website and be sure to check back here afterwards for further updates.
The Brown Not Green (BNG) team 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. This is confirmed in a recent addition to the Emerging Local Plan Evidence Base on Page 45-46 of the Housing Delivery Study for Buckinghamshire - Wessex Economics (August 2017).
Aylesbury Vale District Council have agreed to take most of the unmet housing needs from neighbouring Chiltern, raising the question why has this Green Belt proposal not been dropped already. There is always the threat of a compulsory purchase order (CPO). This would be a costly and timely exercise for the Council so would not be a preferred route for them to take, however, the threat of a CPO should not be under-estimated.
Chiltern have delayed making any public response on the matter but have launched a Strategic Review of the Green Belt proposals. BNG are not impressed and are preparing to fund legal representation against the emerging Draft Local Plan and at the Planning Inquiry. Fund raising details to be announced shortly.