What is this all about?
Since 2015 the Coordination Group of the Parish Council and the Little Chalfont Community Association (LCCA) has campaigned, with massive support from Little Chalfont residents, to prevent a large development in the Green Belt between Lodge Lane and Burtons Lane.
A draft Local Plan published in 2019 by the former Chiltern and South Bucks District Councils proposed releasing the site from the Green Belt for construction of up to 700 dwellings and other facilities. Over the years when the Plan was in preparation the Coordination Group kept the community informed by leaflets and emails, and held nine public meetings to discuss how to respond to the Councils’ consultation process. The result was that out of about 2800 households in Little Chalfont, 1369 residents sent objections in response to the first public consultation, and 964 to a second. The Coordination Group’s own final objection to the Plan, based on legal advice and accompanied by professional studies, can be found on this website under Archive (see Archive from 2018, then Draft Local Plan – Consultation Response – August 2019).
The draft Chiltern and South Bucks Local Plan was taken over by the new unitary Buckinghamshire Council in April 2020, but was withdrawn and abandoned later that year for reasons not connected with our site. Therefore no up-to-date Local Plan will exist for this area until Buckinghamshire Council produces its new county-wide plan, expected in about 2024.
What is the new proposal we need to fight?
In the absence of a Local Plan allocating areas for development, would-be developers try their luck by making planning applications. In July 2021 Biddulph (Buckinghamshire) Ltd and their associates used a leaflet drop and other publicity to announce their intention to apply in the autumn of 2021 to Buckinghamshire Council for permission to build a large development on the former golf course and Homestead Farm – an area of about 29 hectares within the larger site of 46 hectares proposed for development in the defunct Chiltern and South Bucks Local Plan (see above).
According to a preliminary document submitted to Buckinghamshire Council by the developers, they envisage that:
“the redevelopment would comprise the demolition of existing buildings on Site and construction of up to 380 homes (including 40% Affordable Units), 100 unit Retirement Village (Use Class C2/C3 – ‘Housing for Older People’), 60 bed Care Home (Use Class C2 – ‘Care Home’), safeguarded land for a 1FE Primary School/ Primary School Expansion with nursery, Community Centre (possibly including retail use, flexible office space, satellite GP surgery) and new public parkland.”
(In our view, since the site is almost virgin Green Belt and contains less than 1% built form, it is strange to describe this as a redevelopment.)
What are we doing about it?
UNTIL A PLANNING APPLICATION HAS BEEN MADE, THERE IS NO NEED FOR RESIDENTS TO WRITE TO BUCKINGHAMSHIRE COUNCIL.
The Coordination Group will lead the Parish Council and LCCA opposition to this project, drawing on our long experience of working to protect the site, but we are seeking more volunteers to help. Leaflets, email and social media will be used to brief residents, a public meeting may be held when the time is right, and the maximum possible number of residents will be encouraged to send objections to the application if and when it appears. A full objection by the Parish Council and LCCA is already in preparation for use, with professional supporting material, when the time comes. The following is an outline of our case so far.
- There is no justification for release of this Green Belt land. No local plan exists providing for changes to Green Belt boundaries. No ‘very special circumstances’ exist to justify development in the existing Green Belt, as would be required by the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) of July 2021.
- The development would harm the setting of the AONB. The land on the east side of Lodge Lane is in the AONB.
- No viable road access has been shown to exist for the development proposed. Both Lodge Lane and Burtons Lane are very unsuitable.
- Increased traffic from the proposed new housing would cause unacceptable congestion on the A 404 which dominates Little Chalfont village centre, and worsen chronic parking problems there.
- Protection of biodiversity and the need to conserve landscape, including ancient woodland and the dry valley, would severely limit possibilities for sustainable development on the site.
- The proposed development is disproportionate to the present population size and infrastructure of Little Chalfont, so would damage amenity for all residents.
Should we find other reasons to add to this list, for example information about alternative brownfield sites, an updated list will appear elsewhere on this website, and will be made available through all our communication channels when needed for responding to the anticipated planning application.
The six Buckinghamshire Councillors elected to represent parts of Little Chalfont have made a statement opposing the development proposal (see on this website under News – posted 9 August 2021) and are likely to support a campaign against it. That is good news. However, Buckinghamshire Council may still finally approve the application if they conclude that it is justified on technical planning grounds. Our job is to show that it is not.
The Planning Application Process
- A developer makes a planning application to the Local Planning Authority (LPA), Buckinghamshire Council.
- The LPA invites comments from local residents and relevant organisations while it considers the application.
- The LPA decides whether to permit or refuse the application.
- If refused, the developer can appeal to the Appeals Inspectorate, a government body.
- If an appeal is made an Inspector considers the application, all the comments submitted previously, and any new evidence presented.
- The appeal is either allowed or dismissed. If allowed, the project is permitted to go ahead.
The Parish Council / LCCA Coordination Group, August 2021