Councils clash over green belt housing

By William Eichler | 06 October 2017

South Bucks DC has criticised its southern neighbours Slough Council for publishing proposals to build on green belt land within its boundary.

Slough published a draft report outlining plans to build a garden suburb in rural South Bucks, which the district council did not want published.

Paul Simpson, from Slough’s planning department, said: ‘What we’ve done now is purely publish for information a draft report by our consultants - not endorsed by us - just showing how this development could take place so that we can have a proper grown-up discussion about it and begin to engage the landowners, as well as other interested parties.

‘We know it’s in the green belt. We know we shall have to show very special circumstances. We’ll do that at a later stage.’

Mr Simpson stressed that there was no room within Slough’s urban area for more housing, particularly in light of the projected third Heathrow runway and other town centre developments.

But South Bucks’ disappointed deputy leader, Cllr Nick Naylor, said: ‘This report has been published against our better advice.

‘It could totally mislead readers and give them an entirely incorrect impression that Slough Council has found a solution to its housing need shortfall in South Bucks. It has not.

‘There is no evidence to support Slough Council or Atkins’ position while South Bucks DC has appropriately considered a northern extension option and has rejected it based on our own sound evidence and national planning policy.

‘We will, under the duty to co-operate, continue to work with Slough to help them find a solution to their housing needs where we can, but all evidence, to date, points to the fact a northern extension of Slough cannot be the answer.

‘That being the case, South Bucks members will continue to vigorously defend this strategic part of our green belt and protect this area from inappropriate development.’

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