The Planning Group is one of the Society’s busiest groups. Our objectives can be seen here. Every week, we circulate to Group members details of planning applications over the past week that affect High Wycombe town and neighbouring areas, and decide which ones we should object to and on what grounds. Then once a month (usually the 4th Monday) we meet up, for about 2½ hours, to consider all major current planning issues. Typically this will include:
- The latest planning policy documents received from Wycombe District Council, whether it is a New Local Plan, a Town Centre Masterplan, specific policy statements on, for example, the rules for housing intensification (“infill”), Green Belt policy, the timing of major new developments;
- recent contacts with developers who are often asked by the District Council to consult us about major new development proposals (such as the Verco site, the Grafton Street site, or RAF Daws Hill, before firm planning applications are finalised and submitted), and who often stage public exhibitions on which comments are invited;
- specific issues which we know concern our members, such as Park & Ride (which can help reduce the number of cars coming into a town, but tends to be more successful in larger places than High Wycombe), or HMOs (Houses in Multiple Occupation) which can help meet an important housing need but can also degrade neighbourhoods.
- forthcoming public inquiries and examinations. An inquiry will often follow a developer’s appeal against refusal of a planning application by the District Council, where the Society will sometimes add its evidence to the Council’s in seeking to have the appeal dismissed. Public examinations take place on all new major planning documents such as a new Site Allocations Document or Local Plan and the Group has to decide what to say on behalf of the Society.
policy statements issued by the Government’s Planning Portal, or received from Civic Voice, the national campaigning body on civic and planning matters. These can give valuable insights into important issues such as the latest government planning proposals or guidance on Green Belt, Permitted Development (i.e. planning development which the Government has decided can proceed without planning permission being needed). Also information received from ANTAS, the Association of North Thames Amenity Societies, to which our Society belongs.
- Matters affecting the health of High Wycombe Town Centre. In 2012 Wycombe District Council committed to a programme of small improvements to the “Public Realm”, which could improve the appearance of the High Street and other areas, but progress is slow.
- And of course a quick resumé of all the planning applications considered over the previous weeks.
You can contact the Planning Group by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Planning Links and Documents
- High Wycombe Town Centre Questionnaire
- The High Wycombe Masterplan and the “Alternative Route”
- Society response to the draft Wycombe District Local Plan