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'Ghetto' housing plans dismissed
'PURE greed' was behind plans to redevelop the site of a disused Amersham pub into 'ghetto' housing, council chiefs said as they dismissed proposals.
Plans to convert the Pheasant pub in Plantation Road were unanimously rejected by members of Chiltern District Council's planning committee on Thursday.
Part of the pub would have been knocked down, with the Listed central block being retained, to pave the way for a new development of 14 houses.
Councillors said too many homes would have been crammed into the plot and there would have been no replacement community facility, with the site not big enough for a children's play area or any green space.
Cllr Nik Stewert was particularly scathing in his attack on Amersham-based developer Inland Homes, who submitted the plans, saying they need to "go away and have a very, very big think".
He said: "When you are removing a community facility, albeit one that doesn't make money, and you are proposing to put what I can only describe as a ghetto in its place, you should be providing some space for openness or some residential amenity.
"This is clearly far too much on a little plot. It really is stretching things. I have seen some applications in my time but this is quite frankly taking the proverbial.
"The design of the houses isn't very attractive. They couldn't have squished any more in if they tried. It's horrendous - I don't know what the developer was thinking.
"Local developers should be putting in plans that provide facilities for local people - this does not. The developer needs to go away and have a very, very big think."
Committee member Nigel Shepherd, who is also Mayor of Amersham, said: "We are faced with a developer trying to fit a quart into a pint pot.
"Nowhere in the application is there anything about replacement community facilities. We heard the developers are talking about these issues but it's too late. Issues of this type are central to the application - they are not bolt-on extras.
"There are precious few facilities at close hand. I would be looking for a community space or openness.
"I don't want to see crammed-in developments with cars parked on verges."
Cllr Shepherd's predecessor as Mayor, Mimi Harker, added: "It looks like pure greed. It's completely unsuitable. This is exactly what changes the character of areas."
The pub, housed in a building that dates back to the 17th century, ceased trading in December last year.
Matthew Corcoran, acting on behalf of Inland Homes, said the business had been suffering heavy financial losses over a number of years and residents had raised concerns over anti social behaviour relating to the site's use as a pub.
He added: "We sought to engage with the community and the council. 89 residents attended a public exhibition and the vast majority were in favour of the principle of redeveloping this site."
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