Mar 222017

Field Grove Nursery, Hammersley Lane

Residents are invited to comment on the Wycombe District Council, planning application for five 4-bedroom houses on the land where Field Grove nursery ( more recently Alb Plants) was located. (17/05531/FUL), please note the consultation closes on 30th March 2017.

Miles Green, Chairman of the P&TGRS has commented on this application as follows:

Alb Plants have moved to Henley and a planning application (17/05531/FUL) has been submitted for the 2 acre site for five 4-bedroom houses to line the side of the road. The problem is that it is Green Belt land and a precedent could well be set for further development in that part of the GB.
30 years ago WDC decided not to remove the designation of the land as Green Belt and so prevented any housing. The difference now is that the planning rules have changed with the introduction of the National Planning Policy Framework which aims to encourage more house-building. However it remains a question of interpretation of the new regulations and the application, goes into very considerable detail, probably because they know that they are arguing a case which is by no means certain.

The key point is the impact on the openness of the GB and we need to look critically at the contrast between a row of five very solid houses with their domestic gardens and cars on the roadside, and the temporary structures which are there now, which although dilapidated and ad hoc, are a part of the rural scene, whereas the proposed row of very similar houses is not. They describe it as previously developed brownfield land occupied by the permanent structure of a garden centre, but it was always a nursery rather than a garden centre, with very little public footfall, and can the dilapidated greenhouses really be described as permanent structures? It is the case that the nursery has never been successful but there seems no reason why the land should not revert to its original agricultural use.

I cut my planning teeth 30 years ago on successfully preserving the GB south of Sandpits Lane and so have to admit to continuing to be against housing on this site, but our P&TGRS planning team will have their own views and be weighing up the pros and cons. The closing date for comments is 30 March.

Miles Green

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