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 ‘Weston Turville’ 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.
The local NHS consultation closes on 16 April.
To see a short and jargon-free summary and to comment online you can look HERE.
The proposals include changes to hospital services at Stoke Mandeville and Wycombe. There’s been a fair bit of coverage in the local media already but if you haven’t yet what is being suggested and want to have your say, do follow the link.
Arla has now sent in its formal planning applications to AVDC. On Friday, the company briefed me on what they were proposing and how they had amended their plan in the light of comments by local residents. I also went to the site, next to the waste transfer station alongside the College Road North industrial estate, to have a look at the land that would be built on if this scheme goes ahead.
You can see details of the Arla proposal at this site . If you want to make representations to the Council either against or in support of the proposal, you have until three weeks after the site notices are first posted to make your views known. I do not know exactly when the site notices will be posted, but am told by AVDC that it will be within the next two weeks. I will update this blog post as soon as I hear of the actual date.
The documents associated with Arla’s planning applications (of which there are four) can be found on the AVDC web-site here. You will need to search for planning applications 11/00962, 11/00963, 11/00964, and 11/00965.
A team from Arla came to see me in Aylesbury on Friday to brief me on their plans for a new mega-dairy beside the A41 Aston Clinton bypass. I was pleased to hear that they have already had a meeting with Buckland Parish Council and are sending out a leaflet to every home in both Buckland and Aston Clinton. Public exhibitions are to be held in both Aston Clinton and Weston Turville. My own first reaction to Arla’s plans is to welcome a development that will bring 500 jobs to the Aylesbury area. Our local economy has far too few big private sector employers and the largest, Lloyds/HBOS, is cutting jobs sharply. But it’s also right that any development should go through a proper planning process and that local people have the right to have their say. I hope that Arla’s decision to take the initiative in publicising their plans will mean that the debate can take place on the basis of a shared understanding by of the facts.
One or two constituents have told me that they thought the new dairy would actually involve keeping large numbers of cows in sheds. This isn’t the case. This will be a dairy to process and pack milk brought in aboard tankers. There is a completely different controversial proposal by other people for a massive indoor dairy unit, housing hundreds of cows in sheds, but that is in Lincolnshire not Bucks.
Another welcome bit of news is that access to the dairy will be directly from the A41 and not from country lanes.
I look forward to learning more as the planning process gets under way.