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Village Society Comment

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Professor Sir Roderick Floud

Haddenham Village Society has been active in the public consultation process that helped to create the village's Neighbourhood Plan, as submitted to AVDC on Tuesday 27th January. It did not, however, have a spokesperson at the meeting of the Strategic Planning Management Committee which approved the Aston Road planning application. Here is an explanation from the HVS Chairman, Sir Roderick Floud

Members of the Haddenham Village Society, and others, may be asking why the Society did not give evidence to the AVDC committee which yesterday granted the application for 280 houses on the Glebelands site.

The answer is that I, as Chair of the Society, was refused permission to speak. I was told on Tuesday that, because the Society had not objected to the revised application for 280 houses, having put in a full comment on the original application for 350 houses, I could not give evidence. Luckily, Robyn Thorogood, a previous Chair, was allowed to speak and incorporated the views of the Society in his remarks. But no explanation was given to the Committee as to why the Village Society, with 350 family members, was debarred.

I have written to AVDC, to a number of Councillors and to the Bucks Herald to complain. No information was given to objectors that they needed to repeat their comments; moreover, one resident who had also not commented on the revised application was allowed to speak. In my view, the decision to exclude the Village Society was typical of the contempt for the democratic process which AVDC has demonstrated in dealing with this application.

The Village Society has taken a full part in the Neighbourhood Plan from the outset; both John Brandis, the Chairman until this month, and myself, have been part of the team, as have many other members of the Society and its committee. We have arranged several discussions of it and may do so again. While members, like other residents, may have reservations about individual points in the Plan, I am sure that we all applaud the work that has gone into it, the involvement of so many in the village — young and old, and the prospect that it holds out of projects which will greatly benefit our community.

It will be tragic if all the work, all the hopes and all the plans come to nothing. AVDC must not be allowed to ride rough-shod over the views of our community. It should not need the Secretary of State, Eric Pickles, to tell our Council how to behave.

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