Chiltern District Council and South Bucks District Council have recently been consulting on their joint Local Plan. The Plan aims to develop over 11,000 homes in the period up to 2036. Of these, 5,200 are proposed on 7.83km2 of land to be taken out of the Green Belt and 2 sites are proposed within the Chilterns Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB).
The Chiltern Society has submitted its objections to the Plan, which can be summarised as follows:
- It is essential that planning policies are considered across local authority boundaries to co-ordinate protection of this special area. The Plan does not give the Chilterns sufficient protection and, therefore the Society objects to the overall plan.
- There are no exceptional circumstances under the NPPF to justify any significant incursion into recognised GB and AONB areas given that housing need alone is not an exceptional circumstance.
- The plan needs to be revised to consider whether there are less damaging sites that were not brought forward through the ‘call for sites’ and whether there is scope for higher density developments on brownfield sites and in town centres.
- We urge the Councils to review the overall development approach in the plan to avoid unacceptable damage to a nationally important landscape and a significant part of the Green Belt.
- We objected to the overall number of dwellings proposed in the Green Belt and to 2 site allocations in the Green Belt and AONB at Amersham, and to significant sites in the Green Belt at Chesham, Beaconsfield, Little Chalfont and Chalfont St Peter.
Following the consultations, the Council will submit the Local Plan to the Planning Inspectorate for an independent examination.