This time, Green Belt & AONB to the North-West of Chesham is under threat of development
BNG have just heard that another new strip of Green Belt and Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty is under threat of development. This is in addition to the ongoing threat of 900 homes on the Green Belt to the North-East of Chesham in Lye Green.
The new application site is located to the North-West of Chesham. More precisely, to the South-West of Chess Vale Bowling Club on Asheridge Road, bordering on Darvell Drive.
Worryingly, the Developer's Planning Statement uses as justification for building on this Green Belt site the fact that the Council is considering removing Green Belt status from the Lye Green Site to build 900 homes.
(Ref: Pg 29 Para 8.34). Without wishing to sound alarmist regarding this justification, the proposal for the 900 homes on the Lye Green site may become the thin edge of the wedge for the rest of the Green Belt and AONB around Chesham which is already one of the largest settlements within Chiltern District. Certainly the impression given is that it can do little harm to cram more houses into the already overburdened Chesham area.
Despite being a narrow road, over the previous two decades, Asheridge Road has had more than its fair share of new houses causing traffic and parking challenges for the local residents. This development will just add to this pressure build-up despite the Developer's naive claims of sustainable transport into Chesham.
The Planning Application and associated Documents can be found here on the Chiltern District Council Planning Portal. The Application Reference No is
The Consultation closes on Tuesday 5th June (probably 5pm).
We need to send a strong message to the Council that it is not open season on the Green Belt around Chesham. It is no more right to build 99 homes on this Asheridge plot as it is to build 900 homes up at Lye Green. If you have the time over the next ten days to put in a quick objection, this will help get this message across. In your objection, only refer to the Asheridge site so as not to muddy the water.
A brief objection is better than no objection at all. The most painless way to object is to register on the Planning Portal and fill in the online Comments form. It really is quick & easy and it will even remember your details for next time you wish to object to any planning applications! My objection took only fifteen minutes to complete.
As Chesham residents, we all have a duty to protect the Green Belt all the way around Chesham not just our immediate neighbourhoods. Developers and other organisations are beginning to swarm around this precious land to meet their own aims with scant regard to the protection of the Green Belt.
We hope you can find the time to submit your objection. Please also share this with your friends, family and colleagues.
Thanks again for all your support.
The BNG Team
Congratulations to all our supporters as we surpassed our fundraising target of £20,000 in April. 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 as matters continue to be delayed and fresh issues are likely to arise..
And lengthy this campaign will be as recently the Council has announced again that the publication date for the Local Plan has once more been pushed back and will not be issued this Summer as they had previously indicated. This time, they have not given a new date for publication but it is anticipated to be in the Autumn now.
As frustrating as this delay is for all of us, cloaking Chesham in a cloud of uncertainty, BNG are still working away behind the scenes. We are putting together our evidence base to present to the barrister to formulate a solid legal case.
The next stage that the BNG community will face arises when the Local Plan does eventually get published. We will all have six weeks to put in our personal submissions/objections. The consultation will ask quite technical points and for many people, guidance will be required. BNG are preparing to help our followers on this. BNG together with our retained barrister from Landmark Chambers will be putting together a guide on to how to respond to the Local Plan within the time frame. To receive this guide, you need to be on our mailing list. Sign up here.
In the meantime, there are still ways to keep our campaign alive. We have a new Secretary of State the Rt Hon James Brokenshire MP, replacing the Rt Hon Sajid Javid MP who many of you will have already written to. Nothing will help Mr Brokenshire settle into the nature and demands of his new role than receiving a number of handwritten (or typed) letters (rather than emails) asking him if he will continue with policies to protect the Green Belt outlined in the new draft National Planning Policy Framework. Read Phillip Plato's summary of the key points of the new draft National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF). The new NPPF bodes well for our cause adding further protections for the Green Belt.
Certainly, our local Councillors also need reminding that this threat of building on the Green Belt and overloading Chesham’s infrastructure has not gone away. More written letters to them will let them know where you, the voters, stand on this topic. Even if you have already written to them in the past, please write again and ask them what they are doing to protect the Green Belt and to improve Chesham's infrastructure. Postal addresses and advice on writing letters can be found on our How to Lobby page.
Thanks again to all the BNG community. Your financial contributions and messages of support have been much appreciated. Finally, a few words of wisdom oft repeated by the BNG team:
Do NOT assume the lack of news means we have been successful! We were always advised this campaign will be a marathon, not a sprint.