Little Chalfont
Local News

New Community Centre for Little Chalfont rejected by Chiltern District Council

The Parish Council, supported by the Community Association, submitted a planning application to build a new community centre in the village. It would replace the Village Hall. The present hall is over 60 years old and badly in need of updating. There is insufficient letting space to satisfy demand and little storage space. The Parish Office, situated in a small room at the rear of the hall, is cramped and staff are often disturbed by noise coming from users of the hall.

It therefore seemed sensible to look at the possibility of creating a new building which would fit the current needs and the expected requirements for years to come.

In 2014, following a series of presentations, local people were asked to vote on whether, in principle, they supported the idea of this new centre.

Over 650 votes were received with only 21 against the proposal.

JBKS Architects, based in Aston Rowant, were appointed to take us to a planning application stage.

Users of the present hall and potential users of the new building were consulted on requirements.

Discussions were held with the local planning authority.

Another consultation took place in May - July 2017 allowing people to comment on the design of the new building.
Again, there was an over-whelming support from the local community and the planning application was submitted in July 2018

The proposed community centre incorporated three different size rooms which could be let separately or together.
A large room on the upper floor could accommodate up to 180 people. The smaller rooms, on the ground floor, would be suitable for about 40 and 70 people; these two rooms can be made in to one.

The Parish Council office would be on the ground floor with a separate entrance.

Parking was provided between the new building and the library with further spaces at the rear.

However, at a meeting of CDC’s planning committee on 1 November, the application was refused.
Nine members of the committee voted against with two in favour and two abstentions.

Reasons for refusal were:

1.       Inappropriate development within the open Green Belt.

2.      Too big and out of character with that part of Cokes Lane.

3.      Loss of ancient woodland.

4.      Parking and manoeuvring standards not met.

The application had included detailed counter-arguments to all these but these were ignored.

The parish council must now decide the way forward  One option is to appeal.
It is obvious that just reducing the size by a small amount will be very unlikely to make a difference to the success of a new application.

Single Unitary Authority for Buckinghamshire.

On 1 November 2018, James Brokenshire, the Secretary of State for Housing, Local Government and Communities issued a statement setting out his decision that there will be one Unitary Authority (UA) for Buckinghamshire (excluding Milton Keynes). The formal date for the creation of the UA is proposed as 1 April 2020, subject to parliamentary approval.

The immediate implication concerns the likelihood that District Council elections, due May 2019 will now be delayed 12 months, pending elections for the new Unitary Authority councillors on 7 May 2020.

Parliamentary approval is expected to be a formality but, even when approved, there will a great deal of work to undertake on the precise structure and exactly how services will be delivered throughout the county. It is hoped that there will be consultation with local communities, so that the Community Association and Parish Council can influence the final model.

For those of you who have not been following the progress of this major change, the new Unitary Authority will replace not only Bucks County Council but all the District Councils too. The Parish Councils will remain.