There has been a great deal of talk in the village about the Local Plan over the past week or so. Sadly not all of the information being passed around is correct. I would like to try to put that right here.
The Local Plan is being updated as a requirement from central government. Government statistics forecast and increase in the number of households across Chiltern and South Bucks districts that will create a demand for around 7,800 new homes between now and 2036. We are in a consultation period which ends 14 March at 5pm.
In line with several other parishes Stoke Poges Parish Council (PC) organised a public meeting held on Monday 29 February. There was a presentation from South Bucks District Council (SBDC) on the proposed new Local Plan. After this the PC explained their understanding of the situation and presented a possible way forward. A handout had been prepared with details of where to look for all the information and how to make your views heard before the end of the consultation period.
I have been part of the PC Planning Committee Working Party that has been looking at the proposed Local Plan in great detail. We are all villagers and I can assure you that none of us on the Committee want to see hundreds of houses being built in the Village.
In conjunction with the Local Plan we looked at a report prepared by ARUP (consultants appointed by all the councils in Bucks) used to identify sites which would be looked at (tested) to see if they could be taken out of the Green Belt and used for housing in the future.
It was our view that ARUP had been extremely thorough in their report. In their findings the only area that did not perform strongly against the policy was the small triangle of land shown at the public meeting – this area encompasses part of Grays Park Road, part of Church Road down to Duffield Park. We looked at this in detail and their argument for choosing this site seemed appropriate.
We then turned our attention to the area identified by SBDC which was a much larger area across green fields encompassing part of each of the following – Grays Park Road, Rogers Lane, Elizabeth Way, West End Lane and Park Road. We agreed with ARUP that it performed strongly against the Green Belt policy criteria (these were listed on the handout). So we will be challenging SBDC on the use of this area for testing.
We had been told that if we, as a Parish, that if we object to some parcels of land being developed it would be helpful to put forward alternative areas for testing so we reluctantly came up with two further areas.
The first area is the already developed parts of Bayer Court which consists of the main house and the car park. It does not include the fields behind Duffield Lane which extend to Rickmans Lane. This was identified by ARUP as an area that performs strongly against the Green Belt policy and prevents the sprawl between Stoke Poges and Farnham Common.
Secondly, the recreation ground in Plough Lane which is owned by the Parish Council. I would like to make it clear at this point that the Parish Council is not considering selling off this or any other piece of Parish land. Also, we will not, under any circumstances be removing the playground and its equipment. Should this piece of land go forward for release from the Green Belt then, as owners , we, the Parish, will decide what happens to it. We could decide to do nothing.
One thing is for sure it will not be a Parish Council decision it will be in consultation with villagers.
We encourage everyone to make their views heard. There is a form on the SBDC website. Here is the link:
Remember you must respond by 5pm on Monday 14th March 2016.
Cllr Mary Crocker