The Countryside Charity (formerly the Campaign For Protection of Rural England – CPRE) has sent an open letter to Chiltern & South Bucks District Councils calling on them to scrap the draft Local Plan which is still awaiting public examination despite the fact the Council itself will cease to exist at the end of March this year when a new Unitary Authority for Buckinghamshire takes over.
BNG was invited to be a co-signatory to this letter together with a number of other local community groups and several Councillors who are also fearful of consequences of this Local Plan.
CPRE highlighted that the draft Local Plan is already out of date and that the Council’s own advisors estimate the Plan will increase the carbon footprint of the District by at least 21% yet the Council have only recently themselves declared a “climate emergency” and so to proceed with this Local Plan would be reckless hypocrisy.
BNG urge everyone to write to their District & County Councillor urging them to drop this controversial and highly unpopular Local Plan.
You can view the CPRE Press Release: Click here
You can view the Open Letter: Click here
Chiltern District Council’s outrageous decision to remove land at Lye Green from a list of Assets of Community Value appears self-serving and motivated to retain the land at Lye Green as a housing development site within its draft Local Plan which is currently awaiting independent examination.
The Council’s Review Decision on Lye Green was clearly not independent and it can hardly be in the community’s best interest. It follows a growing list of questionable decisions and shortcomings relating to the Council’s preparation of its draft Local Plan where many Councillors have either raised serious concerns or chosen to remain silent yet they have still voted to adopt this Plan anyway!
Is all this an indication that it is now time for change? Why are our elected Councillors tacitly condoning such behaviour?
BNG have concluded that when the community has to elect Councillors for the new Unitary Authority for Bucks in May 2020, that we need to elect Councillors who are either INDEPENDENT of party politics or prepared to stand up for the community and openly question the “party line” of voting to approve a Local Plan that;
a) Do not support this draft Local Plan
b) Do not support the policy of building on the Green Belt
c) If elected will seek to reverse any policy the Unitary Authority inherits to build on Greenbelt first without first exhausting Brownfield options
d) Will actively work to explore all the other options that BNG and others have highlighted to build more affordable homes at more sustainable locations.
With over 1,800 registered BNG Supporters any candidate flying the BNG Flag will receive a huge boost to their vote tally.
If any such candidates wish to discuss this or are seeking independent election and want support from BNG, please contact us at https://www.brownnotgreen.com/contact.html
The BNG Team
The Council have now realised that in correctly issuing Asset of Community status to the fields around Lye Green that they have in fact scuppered their plans to take the land out of the Green Belt. Shamelessly, they revoked the ACV status a few days ago so that they can push forward with their flawed Local Plan. Read all about it by clicking here.
While we wait for the launch of the Planning Inspection, please sign this petition to highlight the need to protect Greenbelt at a national level.
Click the map to sign the petition
Please share this petition with friends and family
As well as giving ourselves a collective pat on the back here at BNG HQ, especially to Phillip Plato who did the lion's share of the work over the last few weeks on the DMMO and Reg 19 submissions, we wish to thank all our supporters who have helped us in one way or another.
Thanks to everyone involved who helped us:
Once again I am going to shamelessly use this opportunity to say a massive thank you on behalf of all the community to Phillip Plato who for the last few weeks has worked selflessly 24/7 on our campaign. To see just some of Phillip's output on BNGs official Reg 19 Submission response click here.
Thanks again to everyone for the continued support. We now just need to wait to see what the Planning Inspector has to say.
The BNG Team
Do you walk on any of the informal paths marked in bright green? We want to hear from you.
Click picture or here for enlarged map
RE: Public Rights of Way Definitive Map Modification Order (DMMO) – Lye Green
You will be aware that BNG successfully applied to have the fields at Lye Green listed as an Asset of Community Value.
Unfortunately, since that Decision was published, the landowner has now started fencing off some of the access points into the land and stopping people using unadopted footpaths that have been in use for decades. BNG feel it is now necessary to seek a Definitive Map Modification Order to get all the six informal tracks adopted as public footpaths, so these paths stay open for the community’s use. Accordingly, we need your help again in providing the appropriate evidence to the County Council to support the DDMO.
There are two different processes depending on whether you have used the paths for:
These forms will need to be accompanied by a signed map of the route(s) that you use. Again, we have prepared all these for you, all you need to do is tell us which paths you walk on and sign the relevant maps that we will provide or you can print off yourself.
Contact us (click here) with the following information:
This is a bit involved but we have tried to make things as easy as possible by preparing template forms for anyone, to complete, add, delete, expand upon or modify.
Your evidence will help Bucks County Council decide if the informal footpaths will be dedicated as a public right of way which then means the farmer must then take down any recent fences or obstructions. The County Council MUST make a Modification Order (ie: adopt the footpaths) but only if we can demonstrate that the paths are “reasonably alleged to exist” which can only be proved by us getting enough statements to support our application.
Let's repeat the success of our campaign to have the land listed as an Asset of Community Value.
Please help if you can. Recruit your family and friends.
Thank again for your continued support.
The BNG Team
Since the success of Brown Not Green having the land and woodlands at Lye Green listed as an Asset of Community Value there has been a growing number of reports of intimidation from the landowners where previously there has been none. We have now had reports of over 20 people being approached in the last 2 weeks being told to get off the land.
BNG is not qualified to give legal advice however we wish to give a commentary on this issue for our supporters to take on board and share with their friends and family who use the fields for recreational and commuting purposes.
Thanks again for your continued support
The BNG Team
Please take the time to fill in our survey by clicking on the clipboard.
It only takes three minutes. We need all responses by 31st July.
Thanks, the BNG Team
Success in Listing the the Green Belt as an Asset of Community Value (plus Consultation Dates Extended to August 23rd)
June and July has been a VERY busy period for the Brown Not Green (BNG) campaign but we have some important news to share with you that illustrates how your support and pledges of money ARE making a difference.
The land will now be listed as an ACV for 5 years and this gives BNG the “Right to Bid” for the land. Restrictions will be recorded on the landowner’s title at Land Registry. This means that if the landowner(s) wish to sell the land at any time during the next 5 years, they must give a clear prior 6 months’ notice to Brown Not Green to enable us to arrange finance/loans etc in order for BNG to bid for the land. BNG as a not for profit company, have stated that any purchase of the land would be held in Trust for continued community benefit in order to maintain the status quo; namely to maintain the land in agricultural use whilst also ensuring the community still has access for the many informal recreational uses that have been enjoyed by hundreds of people for decades.
However, this designation as an ACV also raises several material planning considerations that we want to put before the Inspector too. Including:
We urge anyone still contemplating making a Regulation 19 Submission under the current (now extended) consultation process to consider this too when drafting their comments to the Inspector!
We are also heartened by the many messages of support and the continuing donations through our CrowdJustice portal to fund the legal & professional fees we are incurring to protect this land and the wider town from the effects of its inappropriate development.
Thanks again for your continued support
The BNG Team
The over-abstracted River Chess at Waterside, Photo courtesy of Wikipedia
What follows is an email communication I had with a local resident, an angler, who was overwhelmed by the complexity of putting in a submission to the Local Plan Consultation. It is fairly self-explanatory and I hope it can help others in putting together a submission. His email first, followed by my response:
Many thanks for sending me the example submission in PDF format that I requested. I have read the thing through and it is all way over my head, I am in no way qualified to add anything to this paper.
Would it be OK to just cut everything in this example, and paste in the relevant areas of the official form, thus effectively sending a carbon copy of this example...or would that be a pointless exercise?
I really have no way of coming up with a comparable or even vaguely useful original, I have neither the expertise nor knowledge of the subject matter, so pointless to even attempt it.
Having said that, as a resident of Chesham for forty five years, and an angler and lover of nature, there is one thing close to my heart that I would love to tag on where applicable, but only if in your opinion, it has an actual bearing on things. If I may, I will rumble on a bit about one aspect of our town that will suffer badly if the proposed housing plans go ahead.
When I came to Chesham, the river Chess was a thing of beauty, it's crystal clear water so typical of England's chalk streams was a joy to behold. It held native brown trout, supplemented by escapee rainbow trout from the trout farm in Chesham, and all the other wildlife associated with such habitats. It gave a great deal of pleasure to the residents of that town, and was a huge asset and much admired amenity.
Sadly, for quite a number of years, the flow of the Chess has slowly reduced year on year, until it is now but a shadow of it's former self. It's original springs in Chesham near Lowndes Park dry up earlier and earlier every year, the sparkling stream that ran through the town, full of gently swaying streamer weed that harboured darting trout right in the very heart of Chesham....becomes a dry mud ditch. The trout and other wildlife it supported are obviously long dead and gone, because the periods of non existent flow (or water of any sort) in the first mile or so through the town extend remorselessly.
The river now exists in a recognisable form only from the far side of the town onwards, on it's way to Rickmansworth, and even that is now silted up for much of it's length, with low to zero flow for much of the summer. Now we all know that global warming exists, that subsequent weather changes and so on are responsible for many things, but the fact that our towns river dries up each year is not directly down to that....it is over abstraction from the underground aquifers above and in Chesham that are to blame, abstraction levels that are required apparently to supply the steadily increasing population of the town.
That being so, what will happen if the proposed extra housing in the area goes ahead? If already we do not have enough water in the area to supply the existing population without destroying a large part of the once beautiful river that gave birth to the town, will it disappear completely and permanently, to meet increased water demands? Will the Chess become but a memory, existing only in the minds of the elderly and in old, fading photographs once the population explodes once more? Has any though gone into this? Or are the powers that be proposing to blindly go ahead with plans that have not been thought through sufficiently, and doing so regardless of consequences?
Sorry Dicky, ran on a bit there, but you get my drift. Is any of that relevant or appropriate to be included in my response, added in somewhere or other on that form?
My very best regards
And my response below:
Hello David and many thanks for you thoughtful email late last night.
I am in full agreement with you that the whole process of putting in a submission especially on using the restrictive form supplied goes way over the head of the average man on the street, including me.
The Council perhaps, have not made this easy for us, so that they can push this plan through without protest.
All the more reason why we have to push back on this.
I will disagree with you on one point in your email "I am in no way qualified to add anything to this paper."
Your email is evidence to me that you write eloquently and knowledgeably about issues that are close to your heart.
My suggestion is to forget the form and write a letter (letters are accepted, but take a copy and send it to us) stating at the start of the letter that the suggested form is restrictive, unhelpful and beyond the understanding of the average local resident.
Now attached to my email is the Draft Local Plan (click here and scroll down to Downloads), all 225 pages of mind-numbing twaddle. Now I am not suggesting you read it all, like I have done. I had a broken foot at the time and my lack of mobility meant I sadly had nothing else sensible to do!
But after receiving your email last last night, I quickly opened up the Local Plan PDF and did a search on the word "chalk" and Bingo it comes up three times in the document, most noticeably Section 9.6 Natural - River Character And Water Environment.(Pg 139) Reading on I establish that the relevant clause is Policy DM NP6..(Pg 140)
You are now able to apply everything you wrote so well in your email last night against the Policy DM NP6, disputing the fact that building 500 homes so close the the Chess does not meet the expectations of this policy. The Planning inspector will be looking for key words and will want to know if you think the Policy is sound or not.
A policy is sound if it is:
A few things to note, try where possible to use the words I have highlighted in bold. It scores points with the Inspector, however, in our case we will be preceding each of those words with "not" (ie not sound, not positively prepared etc)
You can refer to the removing of Greenbelt status to the land to the North-East of Chesham for 500 homes by its policy number SP BP2 (can be found on page 156 of the Plan).
So it's just like putting a jig-saw together, albeit quite a mundane one but worthwhile nonetheless.
Now if you were to do a similar search on using the another word "carbon" for instance both in the Local Plan and the NPPF, you will find some interesting links, not least that the Local Plan will push up our carbon footprint by 21% which goes against the NPPF and many other national policies. Continue along this vein using issues that you are personally concerned about, traffic, schools, healthcare etc and you will slowly build up your own meaningful submission, With this greater understanding of the process, the info and examples that we provide on our web page on How to Respond will become more understandable and helpful to you.
We do ask all our supporters to add the following paragraph to their submission as it will add more weight to the work and more comprehensive submission that BNG put in:
I am supportive of the Brown Not Green organisation’s initiative to have the land listed as an Asset of Community Value and I feel they speak for me in respect of their objections to the draft Local Plan. Accordingly, I request that any representations made by them at any future examination in public regarding the soundness of this Local Plan be considered as an extension of my own comments herein.
As you can see there are no shortcuts to this process, our beloved Council have made sure of that but as we are finding elsewhere that if we can prove to the Inspector that there are holes in the Local Plan, the Inspector will reject it and our Green Belt may be saved. The more noise we make about these holes the better our case.
Whatever you eventually submit, I am sure it will be the best that you can possibly do and that will be good enough. Please encourage as many of your friends and family as possible to submit their objections to the Plan to.
Thanks for reading this far.
Members of the Brown Not Green Campaign