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Neighbourhood Plan News

by Haddenham Webteam – 4th September 2015
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There have been serious concerns raised recently by local parish and town councils in Bucks, anxious that AVDC appears to have seriously questioned the degree to which Neighbourhood Plans should steer its planning decisions.

Clearly, such an attitude undermines all the effort that local communities, including Haddenham, have put into creating their Neighbourhood Plan.

The lastest "scuffle" in this local planning battle has been played out in Buckingham, where a developer applied to AVDC for planning permission for a project that was contrary to that town's draft Neighbourhood Plan – does this scenario sound familiar?

On Friday 4th September an encouraging announcement was made by planning consultants, Planning Resource:

Communities secretary Greg Clark has intervened to freeze a decision on plans for 130 homes in Buckinghamshire, which planning officers had recommended for approval despite a conflict with an emerging neighbourhood plan.

Greg Clark has intervened to halt a decision on an application that Aylesbury Vale District Council's strategic development management committee was due to rule on this week in respect of an outline planning application by Bellway Homes for the Buckingham housing scheme.

A planning officer's report had recommended that permission be granted, subject to a section 106 agreement and certain conditions.

The report said that the benefit and harm of the proposed development were finely balanced – but the officer added that this left him to recommend approval on the national policy of presumption in favour of sustainable development.

However, a council spokesman said: "The committee could not make a decision on this application as the secretary of state has instructed the council to not grant permission without specific authorisation.

"This direction has been issued to enable him to consider whether the application should be referred to him for determination. We must await the secretary of state's decision."

The officer said in his planning report that the scheme would lead to loss of open countryside with local adverse impact. He added that it was in conflict with the Buckingham Neighbourhood Development Plan, which did not allocate the site for development.

The Buckingham Neighbourhood Plan goes to referendum later this month.

But the report said the houses were much needed in the district, and the construction work would boost the local economy.

It concluded: "This is very much a balanced judgement."

"In view of the fact that this is balanced, the adverse impacts would not significantly and demonstrably outweigh the benefits in that balance and there is therefore a presumption in favour of this as a sustainable development."

Source: Greg Pitcher, Planning Resource, Friday 4th September 2015

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