Planning Application for site of Field Grove Nursery on Hammersley Lane
23 March 2017
Residents are invited to comment on the Wycombe District Council, planning application for five 4-bedroom houses on the land where Field Grove nursery ( more recently Alb Plants) was located. (17/05531/FUL), please note the consultation closes on 30th March 2017.
Miles Green, Chairman of the P&TGRS has commented on this application as follows:
Alb Plants have moved to Henley and a planning application (17/05531/FUL) has been submitted for the 2 acre site for five 4-bedroom houses to line the side of the road. The problem is that it is Green Belt land and a precedent could well be set for further development in that part of the GB.
30 years ago WDC decided not to remove the designation of the land as Green Belt and so prevented any housing. The difference now is that the planning rules have changed with the introduction of the National Planning Policy Framework which aims to encourage more house-building. However it remains a question of interpretation of the new regulations and the application, goes into very considerable detail, probably because they know that they are arguing a case which is by no means certain.
The key point is the impact on the openness of the GB and we need to look critically at the contrast between a row of five very solid houses with their domestic gardens and cars on the roadside, and the temporary structures which are there now, which although dilapidated and ad hoc, are a part of the rural scene, whereas the proposed row of very similar houses is not. They describe it as previously developed brownfield land occupied by the permanent structure of a garden centre, but it was always a nursery rather than a garden centre, with very little public footfall, and can the dilapidated greenhouses really be described as permanent structures? It is the case that the nursery has never been successful but there seems no reason why the land should not revert to its original agricultural use.
I cut my planning teeth 30 years ago on successfully preserving the GB south of Sandpits Lane and so have to admit to continuing to be against housing on this site, but our P&TGRS planning team will have their own views and be weighing up the pros and cons. The closing date for comments is 30 March.
District Councils approve bid for two new unitary authorities
Aylesbury Vale, Chiltern, South Bucks and Wycombe District Council members have voted overwhelmingly in favour of a proposal for two new unitary authorities in Bucks, at each of their recent respective council meetings. The Districts’ proposal is to abolish the County Council and all four existing District Councils in Buckinghamshire, and replace them with two new unitary councils, one in the north alongside the existing unitary of Milton Keynes, and one in the south to cover the area of the three southern district councils, saving tax payers almost £58million over a five year period. Under the new proposal each unitary council would be responsible for the delivery of all council services for the two distinct areas.
The four District Leaders met the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, Sajid Javid, on Thursday 19 January to discuss their proposal. He listened carefully and asked questions. He has already received a separate proposal from the County Council for a single county-based unitary and will decide what to do next in March before the County Council elections. He could make a clear decision, or perhaps ask for an agreed county decision, or he might ask for further representations. It does not look as though there will be any public consultation. This flurry of urgent applications has been driven by an acute shortage of funding, particularly for the County Council’s responsibilities.
The District Councils say that late last year, they engaged with 146 key stakeholder organisations across Bucks. 73% favoured a multiple unitary model, whilst only 27% said they would prefer a single unitary authority (as proposed by Bucks County Council). This information, as well as showing a good deal of local consensus, has been used to help form their proposal for innovative change which they maintain will not only improve the outcomes for the people of Bucks, but will also provide a solid foundation for service provision and future challenges.
Cllr Katrina Wood, Leader of Wycombe District Council said: “The difference between the north and south of Buckinghamshire, in terms of the economy, jobs and housing market, demographic and even the topographical geography, is significant. We strongly believe that these differences will be best served by the creation of two new, more locally accountable, unitary councils in the north and south of the county.”
Cllr Isobel Darby, Leader of Chiltern District Council said: “While we’ve maintained high-quality service provision and demonstrated a strong track record of innovation in the face of financial challenges – reshaping our business models, sharing services and staff, regenerating our towns and attracting inward investment – communities are still suffering the consequences of failing county-wide services.”
Cllr Ralph Bagge, Leader of South Bucks District Council said: “The north and south face different opportunities and challenges. Aylesbury Vale sits within the Oxford to Cambridge arc, identified for significant growth by Government. The three southern districts have a strong economic relationship with London with the forthcoming Heathrow expansion and high demand for new homes.”