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Planning - April 2023
from the members Spring newsletter published April 2023
Marlow Film Studios
The proposed Marlow Studio Project is still with the planners. There are significant challenges for the developers to overcome as National Highways and the Environment Agency have not approved or supported the application citing significant issues. The developers are still in negotiation with the planners and Agencies. The developers are using social media to encourage support for the application. Of the positive responses less than a quarter come from Marlow residents.
The Highways agency separately has decided not to proceed with the improvements at Westhorpe roundabout. Even with these improvements the impact on traffic flows would be exceptionally significant.
The Environment Agency feels that more exploration of the contents of the earlier dumping pits is needed because studio construction could release contamination into the stratum of mobile ground water and so into the river.
In addition, Bucks Council commissioned a report from property financial consultants, Lambert Smith Hampton, who concluded that the economic case was weak and did not support the Very Special circumstances requirements to override Green Belt planning rules.
The Society has agreed to work with other interested groups in preparing objections and comments on the application which will now be considered by Buckinghamshire Council Strategic Planning Committee.
Five Football pitches in Little Marlow
An application has been made for 5 football pitches next to the athletics track. The Marlow Society objects to this application on various grounds. There is no clarity as to who will use the pitches. The application states that 'the applicant is currently in discussion with a number of local football teams / clubs who have identified a need for both training and match pitches'. Whilst not included in the application, having floodlights will be an essential requirement for most, if not all, football clubs. The installation of floodlighting will have an extremely detrimental impact on local residents and wildlife.
Battery storage in Coldmoor Lane
The developers have again submitted their application having had it turned down several times. Again, the developers have to demonstrate very special circumstances if the project is to proceed.
Applications for 5G masts are in the planning process for Henley Road, Bobmore lane and Seymour Court Road. The locations chosen by the Mobile Operator all detract from the street scenes being on the entrance to Marlow. Also, some masts are too close to residential properties. The Society’s view is that there are more suitable locations.
Carpark for 271 cars in the Greenbelt
The Society is pleased to see that the applicants included the proposed shared cycle/foot path first included in the 2002 SPG and requested by the Community Partnership as there is a significant potential to make those areas adjacent to the shared path an extremely attractive asset for country park visitors with carefully planned lakeside access. The Society does have some concerns:
• The existing Carpark is/was on a five-year lease. Making this a permanent feature is a concern for the future of the Country Park and the Green Belt.
• If approved, there should be a condition that requires the new public shared path to be completed and open to the public by a specified date.
• Also, the car park should be made available to the public, say at weekends, to encourage usage of the Country Park.
Christmas in the Park
This event has caused significant controversy. Some residents in favour and some strongly against. A petition with over 400 signatures from local residents calls for more accountability from Bucks Council and involvement of local residents in decision making. As you may have seen The Society wrote to Bucks Free Press voicing such concerns and we have made our feelings known to local councillors.
The Town Council has proposed an upgrade of the Causeway which has attracted a lot comment, mainly negative. The proposals include moving the flag pole, repositioning the benches and levelling the grass. A public consultation up to 31st March was undertaken. The Society took no view as it awaited the public’s views.
The Society continued to urge the local council authorities to bring the condition of Liston Court, a part public-owned commercial and garden, up to an acceptable standard. The immediate Health and Safety issues were addressed this February, 18 months after they were first raised. The Gardens look unkempt as there has been no fresh planting even though local community Groups have offered to help. Proposals from Sorbon Estates to redevelop part of the Gardens and divert the public footpath are still ongoing.
The Society also continues to urge the local council authorities to rectify the state of the pavements in Spittal St, High St and West Street. These are in dangerous condition in places.
The proposals to improve drainage from Dedmere Road and through Newt ditch have been scaled back due to cost pressures. The footpath improvements will no longer be undertaken and the water flow improvements will not be undertaken until 2025.