County council pledges to fight garden city plan after Gerrards Cross rumours (From Bucks Free Press)
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County council pledges to fight garden city plan after Gerrards Cross rumours
A RUMOURED garden city scheme of 100,000 new dwellings near Gerrards Cross would cause irreparable damage to the area, said the leader of Buckinghamshire County Council this week.
Councillor Martin Tett confirmed the council would strongly oppose any such plan, which he said would contravene Green Belt policy.
Buckinghamshire, Oxfordshire and Warwickshire have reportedly been earmarked as potential sites for development of two new ‘garden cities’ to combat the housing shortage.
The national press this week identified Gerrards Cross as being mentioned in an internal report as the location of a possible site for development.
Government Communities Secretary Eric Pickles has denied that his department was aware of any such plans in that location but did not rule out the possibility that a civil servant from another department might have mentioned Gerrards Cross in a report.
Reacting to the press rumours, Cllr Tett said: "Whilst there's no evidence that the Government are actually planning to push for a major new ‘City’ development near Gerrards Cross, the rumours are nevertheless troubling.
"I'd like to state the very clear position of Buckinghamshire County Council on this. We have at no stage had any discussions with the Government or any other agency about the possibility of such a development in the Gerrards Cross area or any other part of Buckinghamshire.
“Gerrards Cross is in the Green Belt and County Council policy clearly opposes inappropriate development in the Green Belt. We would therefore strongly resist any attempt to impose such a scheme, which would irreparably damage the character of the village and its surroundings.
"We would urge the Government to clearly dispel all such rumours of New Cities being imposed on Buckinghamshire."
The Deputy Leader of South Bucks District Council, Councillor Roger Reed, has also reacted to the press rumours.
He said: "At no time have we been approached or consulted by the Government about this. It is a ridiculous suggestion which does not sit comfortably with our own policy.
"I want to make it clear that we are already delivering housing in line with our robust Core Strategy which was adopted in 2011.
"Gerrards Cross is surrounded by Green Belt and we would clearly expect the Government to support its own policy which attaches great importance to the Green Belt.”
Mr Pickles has also said that garden city schemes would not be forced on unwilling communities.
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