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Councillors dismiss 'scrub land' offered in Beaconsfield land-swap deal
A DEAL which would see the creation of a new piece of public green space for Beaconsfield residents has been given a lukewarm reception by councillors.
If proposals for a ‘land swap’ deal in Beaconsfield Old Town go ahead, a large section of tree-lined field to the south of Pyebush roundabout would become common land for public use.
It is part of a potential deal between South Bucks District Council, Bucks County Council and Hall Barn Estates, owners of the land, to allow regulated parking to be introduced in the centre of the Old Town..
Beaconsfield Old Town Residents' Assocation have welcomed the move, with chairman John Brown saying the group is "grateful" for the study into improving the area.
But a town councillor dismissed the piece of "scrub land" as inaccessible and polluted, claiming it is not a fair swap for bringing regulated parking in the area.
At a meeting last week, Cllr Richard Keith said: "We are being offered a piece of scrub land that Hall Barn does not want.
"It is away from town where no one will want to go, and we’re being offered that in return for paying for something that we already have for free."
He expressed concerns over the accessibility of the site, especially for disabled people and those with small children.
Cllr Keith also raised fears over the area being polluted given its proximity to the busy roundabout and motorway, which he said would increase with HS2 traffic if the project goes ahead.
A representative from Hall Barn Estates reassured councillors that the area of land is an attractive, sheltered green space, and that accessibility would not be a problem.
And Chris Marchant, head environmental officer for SBDC said it was very difficult to create public green space in the town centre because of the density of buildings.
Cllr Philip Bastiman suggested a different use for the proposed out-of-town common land.
He said: "Has anyone considered using the land to build a car park? The old fashioned way to address the problem of not enough parking is to create more."
However, Mr Marchant stressed Green Belt planning regulations do not allow for the creation of car parks, and no special circumstances for overriding these had been identified during the district council’s study.
Residents will get their say over the land swap scheme after councillors agreed this month to carry out a public consultation.
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