Case Study: 309 houses & apartments, Chiltern District Council

Background

A luxury housebuilder sought planning consent to redevelop a former university campus north of Chalfont St Peter – including a listed 18th century manor house and landscaped grounds – providing 309 new homes and associated facilities.

Challenge

Though previously-developed land and allocated in the Chiltern Core Strategy, the site was in the Green Belt and an AONB, and accessble only via narrow country lanes. We had to make clear the local benefits of the development and re-assure stakeholders that the new homes would not generate unacceptable levels of traffic.

Solution

  • SP Broadway organised meetings with the ward member for the site, the county council division member and the parish council, empasising the proposed use of a courtesy minibus system to mitigate traffic impact as well as new facilities for the Chiltern Open Air Museum and Amersham & Chalfont Hockey Club, both located on-site.
  • Given the site’s location close to parish, ward and division boundaries we expanded our briefing programme to include the neighbouring parish council and division member. We also met with Cheryl Gillan MP and a local community group.
  • Having worked on another project in Chiltern District we knew it was essential to meet with the Chairman of the Planning Committee to explain the proposals and answer his questions before the committee met.
  • In the week before determination we sent a crisp, concise briefing letter to every member of the planning committee, outlining the key features of the proposals and explaining the community benefits. We followed this up with calls to committee members to answer any last-minute questions.

Result

At the committee meeting, members raised concerns about a number of issues, including traffic, sewage and affordable housing. However, the Chairman reassured members on these issues and stressed the point that the site was already allocated for development in the Chiltern Core Strategy. After a lengthy debate, the application was approved by 6 votes to 4.

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