VILLAGERS opposed to the expansion of Pinewood Studios got their first chance to present their case this morning at the inquiry to decide its fate.
Sylvie Lowe, chairman of the Stop Project Pinewood (SPP) group, insisted current infrastructure could not cope with influx of cars and HGVs the £200m extension would create.
The Iver Heath parish councillor said it is unacceptable for residents to lose Green Belt land and that planning measures to prevent urban sprawl should be respected.
She said: “The proposed development is to be sited on 110 acres of Green Belt land. Many people bought their houses because of the rural character of Iver Heath and specifically the Green Belt.
“Residents are worried about the huge increase in traffic and air pollution that this will cause.
“The sole purpose of this development is for the financial gain of Pinewood and its shareholders and will not benefit local people.”
Mrs Lowe questioned why the application secure the future of Pinewood had changed so drastically since its last incarnation in 2009, which was refused on appeal last year.
She said in terms of the Government’s National Planning Policy Framework, the area is “unsustainable” and therefore not suitable for large-scale development.
And she told Terry Phillimore, the Secretary of State’s planning inspector, that the area had already seen a significant increase in traffic in recent years without the expansion.
Martin Kingston QC, representing Pinewood, said despite residents’ fears, Bucks County Council had agreed to a draft traffic plan to deal with the expansion including the installation of traffic lights.
He asked Mrs Lowe, who disagrees with the council’s traffic forecasting, if SPP had conducted her own professional investigation to prove BCC wrong, but she admitted the group had not.
Mr Kingston pointed to Pinewood’s plan to launch a shuttle bus service to the new site to reduce the number of cars using the complex.
And he addressed the group’s concerns over parking and cycle access by drawing the inquiry’s attention to measures proposed in the studios’ plans.
These include a cycle and pedestrian path linking the site to Five Points roundabout in Iver Heath and creating additional parking on the appeal site to alleviate problems in the village.
The promise of footpath access to the Green Belt land, which is owned by Pinewood and currently inaccessible to the public, was also offered to residents.
Pinewood Shepperton plc claims growth on its Iver Heath site is vital to remaining at the forefront of the film industry, and will create over 3000 jobs.
The 16-day inquiry continues, with Pinewood stating its case for the expansion of the world-famous studios next week.