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Local Planning News around the Wycombe District Council Area.

Some interesting Planning News items.

Town centre developments:  Update


Construction work has recently commenced on two important town centre development projects.

The development of a new transport interchange at the railway station is now underway with the recent demolition of parts of the good shed to restore the original I.K. Brunel railway station building.  This is the first part of a development that will see a new multi storey car park constructed at the eastern end of the railway station site and a new interchange for buses and taxis provided in front of the railway station (this element did not require planning permission). The project is the result of extensive discussions between Chiltern Railways and the County and District Councils.  The works are required as part of Chiltern Railways franchise agreement with the Department for Transport.

Work is also scheduled to start this week on the demolition of part of the Octagon Parade building adjacent to Abbey Way where planning permission has been granted for a new 120 bedroom hotel with shops at the ground floor.  The hotel operator will be Travelodge and once completed the supply of town centre hotel bed spaces will significantly increase.  


Both developments will require some working within the adjacent roads and footpaths.  This process is being overseen by the County Highway Authority who are seeking to minimise the effect on motorists and pedestrians and who will be making announcements about traffic management.  



Government agenda for Planning reform


Details of the coalition plans for a ‘radical’ reform of the planning system have been set out in the manifesto agreement between the Conservative and Liberal Democratic parties.

The 30-page paper says that the administration will “rapidly abolish Regional Spatial Strategies and return decision-making powers on housing and planning to local councils including giving councils new powers to stop ‘garden grabbing’”.

It adds: “In the longer term, we will radically reform the planning system to give neighbourhoods far more ability to determine the shape of the places in which their inhabitants live, based on the principles set out in the Conservative Party publication Open Source Planning.

The new Government also promises to “publish and present to Parliament a simple and consolidated national planning framework covering all forms of development and setting out national economic, environmental and social priorities”.

In addition the administration has committed to creating a new designation - similar to SSSIs - to protect green areas of particular importance to local communities.

Also set out in the agreement are pledges to provide incentives for local authorities to deliver sustainable development and consider the abolition of the Government Offices in the Regions (it has already been decided to abolish the Government Office for London).

Until any new government policies are put in place, planning decisions will continue to be guided by the existing national and regional framework.

Greg Clark has been named as minister in charge of planning policy in a share out of responsibilities at the DCLG by new Secretary of State, Eric Pickles.

Clark will also lead on decentralisation and the government’s ‘Big Society’ programme.  Bob Neill, who shadowed the planning role in opposition, will work with Clark as the junior minister on planning.  Grant Shapps has been named Minister for Housing and Local Government and will also head work on regeneration and climate change.  Liberal Democrat junior minister Andrew Stunell will work on housing, regeneration, community cohesion and building regulation.  Baroness Hanham, will represent the DCLG in the House of Lords.

At the Department for Transport, new secretary of state Philip Hammond has given Theresa Villiers responsibilities including for rail.  Liberal Democrat Norman Baker will oversee regional and local transport, buses, taxis, walking, cycling, accessibility and alternatives to travel.  Junior minister Mike Penning has a portfolio of strategic roads, road safety, freight and maritime.


New Government Appointments announced

The new housing minister is Grant Shapps MP who was the Conservative spokesman on the issue in Opposition.  At this stage however it has not been clarified whether he will be responsible for planning matters.

Eric Pickles MP is the new Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government; he was shadow Communities and Local Government secretary in Opposition.

Greg Clark MP, who was shadow energy and climate change secretary in Opposition, has also been named as a minister of state in CLG.  Other key appointments in departments with responsibilities for land use and the built environment include Caroline Spelman MP, Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs; Jeremy Hunt, Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport and Philip Hammond MP, Secretary of State for Transport.



Wycombe Partnership Actions for Sustainability - Marlow 100 Solar Project

The Transition Town movement is made up of a number of groups nationally who are concerned about the environment and the impact of the peak oil crisis. Marlow 100 Solar Project has been developed by Transition Town Marlow, a member of the Wycombe Partnership Environment Sub – Group. They have set up a Solar Panel Buying Group and have negotiated discounts with Freesource, installers of solar thermal panels and photovoltaic panels (PV’s). These discounts are dependant on the number that is installed. With the recently introduced Feed - in Tariff for PV’s, the payback period on this technology could therefore be potentially,significantly reduced.

This scheme is open to households in the surrounding area as well as Marlow.


Consultation launched on Town Centre Local Development Order

Consultation starts this week (8 January) on a draft Local Development Order (LDO) for a key historic part of High Wycombe town centre.

Wycombe District Council is seeking views on the draft, which would apply to the White Hart Street area of the town ? including the western and southern sides of Church Street, Bull Lane and a small stretch of Oxford Street.

 The LDO would grant planning permission for changes of use of ground floor premises within the area to the following uses:


  • A1 (shops)
  • A2 (financial and professional services)
  • A3 (restaurants and cafes)
  • A4 (drinking establishments)
  • A5 (hot food takeaways)
  • C1 (hotels)
  • D1 (non-residential institutions)
  • D2 (assembly and leisure)

    Alongside the Draft LDO, a Statement of Reasons has also been published by the Council for consultation, which outlines the justification for the LDO and sets out its objectives.

    Copies of the documents are available in the Council's offices, and on the website. Please email any views you have on the draft LDO to by 19 February 2010.


Consultation on Gypsy and Traveller sites study opens

Wycombe District Council is giving local residents and stakeholders the chance to have their say on new sites for Gypsies and Travellers, during a public consultation that started this week.

Working with planning consultants Baker Associates, the Council has identified a number of possible locations across Wycombe District for Gypsy and Traveller sites and has developed an interim policy statement (IPS) to provide a framework to meet shorter-term needs. During the consultation, which closes at noon on Friday
29 January 2010, we want to hear your views on this shortlist of sites.

This study needs to be done to comply with government policy which requires local authorities to allocate sites for Gypsies and Travellers.
The consultation includes an online questionnaire which can be completed by all residents and stakeholders – and is available to view and complete on our Gypsy and Traveller services web page.  The IPS and copies of the questionnaire are also available from the Council’s offices in High Wycombe, Marlow and Princes Risborough.


Cabinet Decisions - 7 December 2009

This week Cabinet agreed to conduct two consultations:

Provision for Gypsies, Travellers and Travelling Showpeople
A study has recently been undertaken into how the District can meet its defined need for pitches for Gypsies, Travellers and Travelling Showpeople. The findings of this study/draft Interim Policy Statement will shortly be made available for public consultation, after which it will be finalised by Cabinet.  Details of the consultation will be published shortly and will appear on the Gypsy and Traveller services page on our website in due course.

Local Development Order
The other consultation relates to a proposed ‘Local Development Order’: an initiative to relax planning controls on changes of use within the White Hart Street part of
High Wycombe town centre - an area where it is particularly important to reduce the vacancy level.  Details of the consultation will be published shortly in Weekly Bulletin and on our website.

WDF Delivery and Site Allocations (DSA) - Final Deadline for submission of sites

The final deadline for the submission or identification of any sites to be considered for allocation in the DSA document is 31 December 2009: anyone wishing to make a submission to the Council in relation to a new site will need to do so before this date. This relates to sites not already identified by the Council, stakeholders or the public in previous consultations on site allocations. If a site has been identified as a result of consultations on the Strategic Housing Land Availability Assessment (SHLAA), or in response to a consultation, no further submission is required.

Any submission or queries should be posted or emailed to the Planning Policy Team, and be accompanied by a plan identifying the site.

Planning Policy Team
Wycombe District Council
Freepost HY120
Planning and Sustainability WDC 63
Queen Victoria Road
High Wycombe
HP11 1BB


For more information please contact Chris Schmidt-Reid on 01494 421551.


Flooding and historic buildings advice note

English Heritage has reissued an advice note in response to recent episodes of flooding. This technical advice note is designed to aid all those concerned with flood damaged buildings and their contents but particularly those that are of historic interest, whether statutorily listed or lying within conservation areas. It is particularly useful on flood protection, mitigation, and cleaning up.  A copy of the document can be downloaded from the HELM website by opening this link.

Alternatively contact Jo Tiddy, Heritage Officer, for further advice on 014954 421527 or

Zero Carbon for New Non–Domestic Buildings: Consultation on Policy Options

This consultation sets out proposals for all new non–domestic buildings to be zero carbon by 2019 with the public sector leading the way from 2018.

Responses to the consultation on Zero Carbon Homes and Non–Domestic Buildings in 2008 recognised the need for regulation. However, in the current economic conditions it is also recognised that the costs of regulation need to be balanced with certainty achieved by setting out a route–map for future regulatory steps.

This consultation therefore sets out policy principles and further modelling work and seeks views on their implications for viability of individual developments and sectors.

Please open link to view the consultation.

VAT returns to 17.5% in January

Please note that from 1 January 2010 the fees for certain services will revert to their pre national VAT reduction amount.

The service affected                         Charge as of 1 January 2010
                                                Meetings                Written Advice
Pre-application advice at Level 1                 £775.50                £329.00
Pre-application advice at Level 2                £775.50                £329.00        
Pre-application advice at Level 3                £775.50                £141.00
Pre-application advice at Level 4                £775.50                £  70.50

For a pre-application advice request to be charged at the current rate of 15%VAT both the completed request form and the full fee must be received by the Council BEFORE 1 January 2010. Please note that the Council offices close at 4.00pm on 31 December.

For further Information regarding Pre application advice please open link to view the WDC web site.




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