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Daws Hill Neighbourhood Forum decision 'called in'
COUNCIL chiefs have been asked to re-consider their decision to omit two key sites from the proposed Daws Hill Neighbourhood Forum area.
RAF Daws Hill and the Wycombe Sports Centre sites were taken off the original area the Neighbourhood Forum would serve by Wycombe District Council’s Cabinet last month after WDC sought legal advice.
The decision sparked outrage from the Daws Hill Residents Association, which has threatened legal action, because a major reason for it making the forum application was to influence the proposals for a new Wycombe Sports Centre and major housing development on the RAF base.
Wycombe District Council’s Improvement and Review Commission elected to go ahead with the call-in led by Cllr Alan Hill on Tuesday night.
Cllr Hill questioned the reasons for removing the two battlegrounds and said: “Cabinet has ignored the spirit of the Localism Act whereby the local community should be engaged in decisions that affect their community.”
Cllr Hugh McCarthy, Cabinet member for planning, told the meeting that the original decision had not been taken lightly and was based on legal advice.
He added the council was “in-between a rock and a hard place” as the issue was a matter of “timeliness”, with live planning applications in motion or in the pipeline for both sites which would have to be considered before the Neighbourhood Forum was ratified and active.
Cllr David Shakespeare, Cabinet member for the Big Society, added the new development on the RAF base would be a “brand new community” and, therefore, not part of the existing neighbourhood.
But, after a lively debate, I&R members decided the proposed development projects would heavily impact upon the Daws Hill community and the Neighbourhood Form should be able help shape the projects.
Cabinet will now be asked to consider an amended application with the sold off RAF camp and sport centre sites back on the forum map.
The I&R commission’s ruling was met with approval by Ken Tyson from the Daws Hill Residents Association – which he said has been busy lobbying Cabinet members ahead of Monday night’s crunch meeting.
Neighbourhood Forums were born out of the Localism Act, which introduced new planning tools for community groups.
The idea is to give residents – through parish councils or Neighbourhood Forums – the opportunity to shape their communities, including giving them a voice to say where shops and houses should be built.
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