Sustainable, intergenerational living wins approval at appeal

Biddulph (Buckinghamshire) Limited will finally realise its dream of redeveloping a former golf course to the south east of Little Chalfont, near Amersham. Despite a series of setbacks due to the creation of a new unitary authority, delays to the Local Plan, the first COVID lockdown and initial refusal, the developer is now moving forward with plans to build much-needed new homes in what will be one of the most sustainable mixed-use developments in Buckinghamshire.

Future residents of Little Chalfont Park will benefit from access to more than 15 hectares of open space, as well as a range of sustainable and active travel options including rail.  Biddulph Director, David Cox, explains, “When developing plans for the site, we tried to mirror the existing community profile to provide all its needs – now and in the future.  The result will be very desirable housing in a highly attractive location, providing local choices for the elderly, and family homes with access to playgrounds and open spaces for the younger generations to enjoy.”

The development of 215 market homes and 15 self-build plots will connect Little Chalfont village centre with the wider countryside and AONB.  152 affordable homes will provide housing for essential workers in one of the most expensive parts of the country.  One hundred retirement flats will enable local people to downsize while remaining in the area.  The scheme will also deliver a 60-bed care home, and land and funding for a primary school, nursery and community hub.  The site is less than 10 minutes’ walk from the local railway station.

Transport and infrastructure upgrades

Biddulph acquired the site in 2008 and began promoting it through the Local Plan almost a decade ago.  However, the cancellation of the Examination in Public due to COVID-19 and the transition from a two-tier to a unitary authority, meant that the Local Plan was never adopted.  Still keen to press ahead with its vision for the area, Biddulph submitted an application to build on the site.  The scheme was initially refused, with 11 reasons given by the planning authority.

Motion Managing Director Phil BellMotion Managing Director, Phil Bell, reports, “Our evidence led to a Statement of Common Ground which resolved outstanding areas of disagreement on highway and transport matters.  Following a public inquiry, the inspector was satisfied that the scheme offered genuine active travel options to access local services, and that the proposed development accorded with the NPPF’s presumption in favour of sustainable development.”

Cycle lanes will feature prominently in the new scheme and plans were also approved for traffic calming and improved junctions around the train station.  A bus stop will be relocated as part of the package of traffic and travel measures.

Throughout the twists and turns of Little Chalfont Park’s fortunes, Biddulph has benefitted from the combination of sound judgement and pragmatic advice for which Motion is renowned.  According to David Cox, “Motion has been a constant source of guidance and support as part of our core team.  It is that clarity of advice and steadfastness that kept us going through the entire process.  The company has been heavily invested in our future and through persistence and patience we ended up with the outcome we had been working towards for several years.”

Little Chalfont Park at a glance

Sustainability impact:

  • Provision of new local amenities
  • New bridge over railway line for cyclists and pedestrians
  • Connection between village centre and wider countryside and woodlands
  • Real choice for residents to downsize and remain in the area as they age
  • Car club scheme

Motion’s contribution:

  • Transport Assessment
  • Framework Travel Plan
  • Highways and Transport Evidence
  • Various Technical Notes responding to points raised by Buckinghamshire Council

Image credit: © JTP/Atelier78

An abridged version of this article first appeared in Issue 24 of Insight

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