More high rise buildings and expanding villages into the Green Belt could become a reality as two district councils test options in preparation for more than 15,000 houses over the next 20 years. 

Both South Bucks and Chiltern district councils, under pressure to meet growing housing needs but constrained by Green Belt and AONB land, agreed to prepare a joint plan and started an eight-week public consultation to get residents’ input on January 19.

To meet the housing need, both districts need to find space for 15,100 houses – with 1,100 to 2,000 being affordable housing in the Chiltern district and 1,600 to 2,200 of them as affordable housing in South Bucks.

The councils now are ‘testing’ options to meet the demands and are asking residents their thoughts.

Towns and villages including Chesham, Amersham, Beaconsfield, Chalfont St Peter and Gerrards Cross could be expanded, while built-up areas in the green belt close to train stations could also be looked at to provide more housing, like Great Missenden, Seer Green and Iver.

The councils will also look at making better use of land in built-up areas, including increasing building density or heights, with opportunities for relocating areas of open spaces to create new development opportunities.

A review could also be undertaken of villages within the Green Belt, with a view to removing larger settlements and exploring development potential in places such as Winchmore Hill, Jordans and Denham.

Areas in Chesham, Little Chalfont, Chalfont St Peter, Gerrards Cross and Beaconsfield may also be explored to help meet office, warehousing and industrial employment needs.

While all the options are set to be tested and considered for the plan, it is likely that some of them will be scrapped because not all will be appropriate or that the “scope for development within them may be lower” than expected.

A review of the Green Belt is also being carried out, with experts looking to see if any parts of the land could be removed from the Green Belt because it is no longer suitable.

The extent of land to be removed from the Green Belt will be considered after experts look into it further in part two of their assessment.

Communities will also be able to nominate green areas of ‘particular importance’ to them to be considered for special protection through the joint local plan.

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