I recently received the below letter from Eric Pickles, the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, concerning the revocation of the regional strategy for the South East of England Plan. I warmly welcome this announcement which means that the top down Central Government targets for house building will be scrapped. It will give more responsibility to elected local councillors to decide how much development we need and where it should take place.
Archive for the ‘Bedgrove’ Category
A letter from Eric Pickles concerning the revocation of the regional strategy for the South East of England PlanFebruary 14, 2013
Residents in Weston Turville and Bedgrove will know that the consortium hoping to build 3000+ homes on the Hampden Fields site recently submitted a revised planning application. This included some significant changes to the original plan. They then applied to the Communities and Local Government Secretary, Eric Pickles, to decide the case. There was a lot of local surprise at this since neither Aylesbury Vale Council nor local residents had had time to consider the new plans. From what the consortium has said, it would seem likely that what has driven them is a fear that the Planning Inspectorate would decide the appeal against AVDC’s refusal of the Fleet Marston development proposal (North of Berryfields) ahead of any decision on Hampden Fields. Presumably they fear that if the Inspector allows development at Fleet Marston, it would weaken the case for yet more housing at Hampden Fields.
Anyhow, I’ve signed off a letter to Mr Pickles to make clear my view that it would be wrong for his Department or the Planning Inspectorate to accept the Hampden Fields case for decision at this stage, when there has not been anything approaching a reasonable time for the revised proposals to be considered locally. My understanding is that the Inspectors are still considering whether or not to accept the case onto their list. I’ll post the text of the letter here as soon as possible.
I’ve also lobbied the Planning Minister Nick Boles about the need for the Government to deliver on its policy of scrapping the previous administration’s Regional Spatial Strategies (RSS) which include Labour’s housing targets. He told me that they would do so but that since the courts had struck down their first attempt to do this, they needed to be absolutely certain of their legal ground. The good news is that just before Christmas Ministers announced the scrapping of the RSS for Eastern England. I shall continue to press hard for early action to do the same for the South East targets.
Last month, the Planning Inspectorate and the Secretary of State upheld AVDC’s refusal of planning permission for about 1400 homes, a primary school and other facilities in the so-called Quarrendon Fields area which lies between the approved development areas at Berryfields and Weedon Hill/Buckingham Park.
The documents, including the full text of the Inspector’s report can be seen HERE. The Inspector sets out her reasons for upholding the Council’s decision in paragraphs 121 onwards.
The arguments set out here strike me as very relevant to the current planning application in respect of the so-called Hampden Fields area between Bedgrove and Weston Turville. I suspect that both AVDC and the development consortium will be looking carefully at the Inspector’s reasoning.