Case Study: 47 houses & apartments, Chiltern District Council

Background

A national housebuilder was seeking to build 47 homes on a 2-acre site in a leafy Buckinghamshire village in the London commuter belt.

Challenge

The scheme proposed 23.5 houses per hectare in an area where average housing density is 11 houses per hectare, with a mixture of houses and apartment buildings. Both of the ward members were members of the planning committee, and one of them was chairman.

Solution

  • We worked with the village community association to organise a drop-in exhibition where residents could view the proposals, speak to the project team and have their say via a feedback form.
  • We then organised meetings with the appropriate ward members on the district council, to discuss the exhibition results. The members accepted that 47 homes was a reasonable number, and a win for the community given that the site had previously been earmarked for 100 homes.
  • Using this feedback, our client decided to revise its design, reducing the height of one of the apartment buildings and hence the number of dwellings from 47 to 45. In the run-up to the planning committee’s decision, we sent members a detailed briefing letter outlining the changes made to the scheme and the reasons why it deserved their support.

Result

Having secured the planning officer’s recommendation for approval, the scheme was consented in October 2013 by 10 votes to 1.

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