Saturday, 22 March 2014

Holy Cross School plans go to appeal court

Chalfont St Peter Parish Council has been granted permission to appeal a judicial review.

Persimmon Homes was given permission to build 198 homes and a 75-bedroom care home at the former Holy Cross School site site on appeal to the planning inspectorate. That decision was confirmed in the high court after the parish council challenged the planning permission. 

Chalfont St Peter CoE Academy wants to relocate to the Holy Cross site to give the children more space and facilities.

Parish councillor Richard Allen told the Bucks Free Press that in the high court hearing: “The key questions we raised in court at the very beginning were never addressed”.

Should traveller sites be in the green belt?

South Bucks council has launched a consultation looking at options for sites for gypsies and travelling communities up to 2023.

The consultation is asking whether existing sites should be safeguarded to prevent them being converted to alternative uses in the future. It also wants to know whether there is support for expanding existing sites, though is it suggesting not above the recommended size of 15 units. There are three sites with temporary permission. Should these be given permanent permission? Should new sites be allocated?

The council says that gypsy and traveller sites should not be in the green belt, except in exceptional circumstances.

The consultation closes on 16 April.

Thursday, 20 March 2014

Daws Hill Neighbourhood Forum ends legal action

Daws Hill Neighbourhood Forum has ended its legal action after its case was thrown out by the appeal court. The judge’s ruling has important implications for neighbourhood planning.

The DHNF had argued that Wycombe council was wrong to exclude the former RAF site at Daws Hill and the Handy Cross Sports Centre site from the neighbourhood area designated for the neighbourhood plan.

In his appeal court judgement, Mr Justice Supperstone said: “The discretion given to the authority is a broad one.” He concluded the council had dealt with the designation of the neighbourhood area correctly.
Many communities will begin neighbourhood plans at a point where plans for development in the plan area are well advanced. This was the case for Daws Hill. Judge Supperstone ruled:
“The council was entitled to consider if any useful purpose would be served by the proposed neighbourhood area when the sites would be under development before the process was concluded.”

The judgement will be studied by councils around the country. It allows them to exclude areas from neighbourhood planning where development plans are underway. That will limit the ambitions of communities who want to shape – even prevent – major developments in their area through neighbourhood planning.

Local Government Lawyer reports that DHNF will not be continuing its legal action. It quotes Wycombe council saying: “At a local level it means we can all move on and work with Daws Hill Neighbourhood Forum to help our district flourish.”

Bucks Free Press reports DNHF members saying the judgement: “Makes a nonsense of the legislation, which is supposed to be there to encourage participation."

Should Slate Meadow be returned to the green belt?

Wycombe council is proposing a review of green belt boundaries to accommodate housing.

As part  of the plans, Housing is proposed on Slate Meadow, a space previously removed from the green belt between Bourne End and Wooburn, substantially narrowing the gap between the villages. Now, Bourne End Residents Association is suggesting that Slate Meadow should be returned to the green belt.

Speaking to the Bucks Free Press, chairman of Bourne End Residents Association, Jim Penfold, said: “They took the site out of green belt land so it could become a potential development… If they are doing a review into green belt land they should review the possibility of putting Slate Meadow back into green belt.”

Bourne End Councillor Brian Pollock, backed Penfold: “There are serious concerns for me if they were to develop on Slate Meadow the whole nature of the area would change.”

Sunday, 2 March 2014

HS2 - Plan B Blueprint

"Plan B" – A Blueprint for HS2 in Bucks

Bucks CPRE was among those that contributed towards a “plan B” to come into play if permission for the high speed line is given. 

A group of councils, rural, environmental and business organisations led by Bucks county council is calling for a station near Aylesbury, liners parks to buffer settlements and a country park area in Bernwood area to “actually off-set some of the economic damage that'll happened around areas like Steeple Claydon, and some tunnelling around the Chilterns Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.” The report also calls for a station for HS2 workers on the East West Rail line at Calvert; a Waddesdon relief road; a longer rail tunnel through the AONB; and no spoil placement within the AONB. 

Chalk grasslands should be created on embankments and cuttings, and the diversion of the River Colne completed early in the scheme to allow riparian habitats to become established. Overhead power lines must be undergrounded and light pollution at vent shafts minimised. The National Trust is asking for a cut and cover tunnel to reduce the impact on Hartwell House. Aylesbury Vale council says “HS2 should treat the Bernwood Forest as Special Area of Conservation status” until a review is completed into whether more of forest should be classified as SSSI. Biodiversity offsetting is proposed to compensation for ecological damage in the Calvert area. 

The contributers call for an independent design review by CABE/Design Council to ensure the highest design standards are utilised, particularly for principle features and infrastructure. They also want local jobs and a community compensation fund for small projects.