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Planning - April 2017
New Local Plan
By far away the most important planning issue to hand is the New Local Plan 2013-2033, currently in draft form and due for publication sometime soon. The best efforts of Penelope Tollitt and her team at WDC have been frustrated by yet another potential change in government policy due to the issue of its Housing white paper Fixing our Broken Housing Market. My summary of WDC's briefing appeared in the Spring edition of Newsletter.
The New Plan is unlikely to go to Cabinet before mid-summer. A consultation period follows and then the plan goes to an Inspectors' Inquiry at which the public and developers have an opportunity to press their comments raised during the prior consultation.
WDC remains vulnerable to applications taken to appeal and developers are currently going to appeal while it is difficult for WDC to refuse without the 5 year land supply identified.
The Housing and Economic Development Needs Assessment (HEDNA) for Wycombe District has been reduced from 15,100 to 12,900. This is a relatively late change which resulted on a need for a further revision of the draft plan. The proposal to include Oak Tree Road in the plan received one of the largest numbers of the 3094 responses from the public during the first consultation last year. This option has been removed from the draft plan. We can expect developers to press the Inspector for its reintroduction.
Aylesbury Vale District Council has agreed in principle to accept 1700 of the unmet WDC housing need. A piece of land known as 'Heavens Above' lying to the North West corner of Marlow Bottom has been included in the Plan.
When the New Plan is issued I intend to place a briefing note on our website and will hope that you will provide me with your views. If we are to defend Marlow against development that has the potential to harm our town we must ensure that the Town remains a good place to live for all its citizens and that some so-called affordable housing is built for the next generation.
The Botanist, West St.
An application by the operators of the Botanist has been made for the replacement of ground floor front windows with bi-fold doors and new glazing and erection of awning to front. I objected to this on the grounds that such a change was in direct conflict with WDC's Marlow Area Conservation Survey which notes that listed buildings play a key role in the character of the town. New development must not harm their quality or visual integrity.
The Society continues to work with the Marlow Chamber of Trade and Commerce and local councillors to find ways of providing a more equitable way of sharing the available parking assets of Marlow and of increasing the capacity of its car parks. Those of you who responded to our survey last year gave us valuable ammunition. Please continue to provide feedback on how we might get a quart into a pint pot without adversely impacting on the prosperity of the town centre.
Spittal Street and Dean Street
The promised uplift to the street co-ordinated with the Anglers Court and Windsor House redevelopment mooted in September 2013 remains unfulfilled. Sorbon Estates has completed Anglers Court and is now developing Windsor House. Their developer managed to redevelop the Dean St Belisha beacons. Thanks go to Cllr Scott for insisting that they be replaced at the developer's cost in spite of a lack of interest by Transport for Bucks.
Work is in hand to separate physically the splendid New Court Building that was formerly the home of Nesta Liston, whose picture in on the front page. This work is as originally discussed by Red Kite. We still await details of the conversion of New Court to its new role.
Marlow Sports Club
Several members have expressed concern over the application to build a new clubhouse for Marlow Sports Club, noting that there will inevitably be an increase in the demand for parking on local roads and that noise in the evenings will increase when the folding doors are open. Some do not like the overall appearance and size of the proposed building. After talking with members and trustees of the Club, I cannot find any grounds on which to make an observation on behalf of the Society. Residents nearby have covered the above points fully on WDC's planning portal. Inevitably, as has occurred in all recent major developments, the parking provision specified will fall far short of that which local experience shown to be necessary - but that is our inadequate planning process for you. If you are an unhappy nearby resident please talk with the Club's trustees. Common sense, which all Marlow Society members possess in quantity, should prevail.
Executive Committee proposals will be published on the website shortly.
MB - chair TMS Planning Group