The Examination in Public (EiP) hearings, which were to last for 2 weeks from 17 March, have been cancelled as a coronavirus precaution.
No new date has been set. This will mean delay to the Local Plan process.
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The draft Local Plan was submitted to the Secretary of State in September 2019. He appointed two independent planning inspectors, Matthew Birkinshaw and David Troy, to carry out an examination of the Plan to determine if it is ‘sound’.
It was hoped to begin public hearings - the ‘Examination in Public’ (EiP) - in December 2019, but there was some delay and the following programme was finally announced on 28 January. Stage 1 of the EiP will be held at the Crowne Plaza Hotel, Gerrards Cross beginning on 17 March. Stage 1 will consider legal, procedural and strategic issues including the spatial strategy, distribution of growth, housing and employment needs and the principle of changes to green belt boundaries. It will not cover individual site allocations.
In stage 1 the inspectors will be dealing with Chiltern and South Bucks District Councils, the authors of the Plan. However, those councils will be abolished on 31 March. Stage 2 will not begin before May, after formation of the new, unitary, Buckinghamshire Council. The examination of the Plan will then continue with the new unitary council. Stage 2 of the EiP will deal with outstanding matters, including the site allocations, probably in May and June.
For those who wish to follow the process or find more detail about the hearings, the main documents about the EiP can be read on our Key Documents page. They are:
- ‘The Inspectors’ Initial Questions for Examination’ sent to Chiltern and South Bucks District Councils on 12 November 2019;
- ‘The Councils’ Responses to the Inspectors’ Initial Questions’, dated 20 December 2019;
- the ‘Examination Guidance Note Stage 1’ (produced by the inspectors to explain the process, how to take part, deadlines etc) dated January 2020;
- ‘The Inspectors’ Matters, Issues and Questions Stage 1’ dated January 2020;
- the ‘Hearing Programme Stage 1’ dated January 2020.
The Coordination Group, which manages the Parish Council/LCCA campaign against the development at Little Chalfont proposed in the Plan, is considering with its professional advisers what, if any, representation we need at the Stage 1 hearing beginning on 17 March. It has been confirmed that the inspectors have received the written representations and attachments submitted by the PC/LCCA in response to the public consultation on the draft Plan held last summer. They will also have access to all the individual replies sent by residents. The inspectors will be in no doubt about the strength of feeling in our community.
The joint response to the Consultation on the Chiltern and South Bucks Draft Local Plan has today (19 August 2019) been submitted to the councils for presentation to the Planning Inspector at the Examination in Public – the date of which has yet to be announced.
A copy of the Joint Representation, together with copies of the accompanying reports from independent consultants are available to read from the Key Documents page.
Now available - latest draft response from our Parish Council and Community Association Coordination Group
The Coordination Group is preparing a detailed response to the Examination in Public.
The latest draft of the joint response is available now on this website - please click here.
New leaflet to be distributed this weekend, detailing how to respond
The Coordination Group is publishing a leaflet to be distributed around the village on the weekend of 6th July, to help people prepare responses to the Examination in Public.
The leaflet and the slides used in the recent Village Hall presentations are available now on this website - please click here.
Meetings held at Little Chalfont Village Hall on the 22nd, 24th and 25th of June 2019
The Community Association and the Parish Council arranged a series of five public meetings at the Village Hall towards the end of June. These were attended by 250 residents, who were updated by the Coordination Group on the current Examination in Public and advised of the need to respond before 19 July.
A leaflet is now being prepared to help people prepare their responses: this will be distributed around the village on the weekend of 6th July.
The leaflet will also be posted on this website. The slides used in the presentation will also be available here in case you were unable to attend the meetings.
Receive updates through email networks (e.g. Little Chalfont Community Association, Residents’ Associations) or, better still, become a member of the Community Association where updates are automatically sent.
What Are the Government Plans, how will this affect our Village Community?
Government planning policy requires proof of ‘exceptional circumstances’ to justify removal of the land from the Green Belt. No convincing case for such circumstances has been produced. Our site performs well against the official purposes of the Green Belt, it is not clear how the plan’s authors selected their ‘preferred options’ (including our site) from the much larger range of Green Belt across the Chiltern and South Bucks which they originally assessed.
In their current ‘Core Strategy’ Chiltern District Council announce their ‘strategic spatial issues’. One is ‘How to Maintain and Improve the high quality environment of our towns, villages and countryside’. How can a small village like Little Chalfont (about 2,800 homes) survive a 25% increase and retain that high quality? In the last few years we have already undergone disproportionate development by comparison with Amersham, Chesham and Chalfont St Peter, with almost 300 homes built at the top of Bell Lane and on the 'donkey field'.
There is no suitable vehicle access to the site.
Present plans are ‘Principal vehicular access to be off Burtons Lane with scope to provide an alternative or improved access to the existing employment uses. Limited access and alteration to Lodge Lane as to retain its country lane character and incorporated into the landscape buffer with the Chilterns AONB’.
Neither road is suitable for the traffic load it would have to take, or as an access for that traffic to the village and main road. The Burtons Lane/A404 junction in the village would become impossibly congested. In our view any access from the development to Lodge Lane would cause Lodge Lane to be heavily trafficked.
IT’S NOT TOO LATE TO STOP THE COUNCIL, BUT YOU NEED TO GET INVOLVED NOW THERE IS STILL TIME TO INFLUENCE THEM
Get involved on Facebook or sign up to the Little Chalfont Community Association
The Planning Inspectors who will undertake the Examination in Public have been appointed and have begun to assess the Chiltern & South Bucks Draft Local Plan to 2036. The public hearing sessions will commence in March 2020.