It has been almost a full four months since you last heard from Brown Not Green and although the BNG Campaign team have been busy it appears that Chiltern & South Bucks District Councils have made no progress with the Draft Local Plan, as there have been no further changes to the Council Local Plan website since March.
BNG have not been able to receive a definitive answer from any Council representatives as to the reasons for or the length of the delay but we will keep on asking as the uncertainty and blight that is being forced on those that live in the vicinity of Lye Green is still causing much distress.
It had been thought that with the threat of Chiltern and District Councils being absorbed into one new unitary authority for the whole of Bucks from April 2020 that the district Planning Departments had just given up. Following the formal announcement by the Secretary of State that a unitary authority would be the way forward for Bucks, it is now even more important that Chiltern & South Bucks expedite a Local Plan as this together with the already agreed Plans in Aylesbury & Wycombe will collectively form the Plan for the new Unitary Authority for Buckinghamshire.
From the Bucks County Council website there is a link to a separate site called Future Bucks which has been set up to outline what to expect within the new unitary authority. There is an FAQ page. There are two pertinent questions and answers on this page:
1. Would a single unitary invalidate the districts’ area plans?
No, although it may be preferable to join them together over time.
2. What will happen to our Local Plan; will this be a wasted effort with a new unitary council? Will we have to engage in the process again unnecessarily?
The three local plans will be newly adopted at the launch of a new council and will therefore not change for the immediate future. Once the plans come up for review in 2022/2023 the new council could choose to develop a single local development and infrastructure plan for Buckinghamshire
We have sought confirmation of all this from our MP which is awaited. It should be business as usual but it isn’t as we still await our new Local Plan. It is very important to realise that the new Unitary Proposal does not mean the threat to our Green Belt and the wider town has now gone away. It is even more important that we work with the Chiltern Planning Department to put the right solutions forward to protect Chesham’s Green Belt and Environment as we move into the new regime.
In the meantime the BNG team has had a Consultation with our Barrister having presented her with a comprehensive legal brief a couple of months ago. The Barrister feels we have a strong case and has given us good advice on where we need to add solid evidence of important material planning considerations we have already raised with the Council. BNG will shortly be retaining Expert Consultants with a view to putting together professional opinions that will provide supporting evidence rebuttable to the Council’s flawed plans to take the fields around Lye Green out of the Green Belt.
Before BNG embarks on paying for any Consultants we are first reaching out to all our supporters to see if we have any professional experts locally in any of the following areas:
If you, or anyone you know, is a qualified expert or professional in any of these fields above and have the time to help the BNG Campaign, we would very much like to hear from you. Any help you can offer will be very much appreciated. Please contact us through the BNG website.
As stated earlier, this delay from the Council is helping no-one and just brings unnecessary uncertainty into local residents’ lives. Before we all lose heart it is worth repeating a point made in our last newsletter, the new National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF2) published earlier this year affords greater protection to our Green Belt than when all of this started a few years ago. The Council is no nearer demonstrating any exceptional circumstances required to modify our Green Belt boundaries and so as far as the BNG Campaign goes, we are in good shape.
Thanks again for your continued support.
The BNG Team.
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Members of the Brown Not Green Campaign