This week Chesham and Amersham MP Cheryl Gillan writes exclusively to Bucks Free Press readers:

One of the themes of the Budget was infrastructure and development, but I was pleased that the Chancellor of the Exchequer was able to emphasise commitment to “continuing the strong protection of our Green Belt” when he spoke about the need for more housing.

I acknowledge the desperate need for affordable housing (as a constituency MP I often have people asking how their children can afford a property in the area), and whilst I heartily support improved connectivity of the kind which the Oxford to Cambridge Corridor could bring about, I also think that we need to take a step back to view what is happening in Buckinghamshire, so that we have a cohesive approach to the area.

The Chancellor welcomed the National Infrastructure Commission’s interim report on the Cambridge-Milton Keynes-Oxford corridor. 

This identifies that lack of housing and connectivity are putting future success at risk. 

The proposal is for better transport links and infrastructure, with a house-building programme that could see as many as 150,000 homes built in central Buckinghamshire.

Along with the possibility of local government restructuring, our local authorities are faced by the HS2 project consuming scarce resources. 

The Buckinghamshire Thames Valley Local Enterprise Partnership (BTVLEP) has done excellent work on the county’s strategic economic plan and are also working with the South East Midlands Local Enterprise Partnership, which means that streamlining the work will be necessary. 

The Infrastructure Commission’s proposals are ambitious and thus BTVLEP will be facing a major rethink of their work.There are concerns about the environmental impact of the proposals and the ‘ripple effect’ across the county. 

We have the Chilterns AONB and there is concern about the fragility of the chalk streams, which are of international importance because they are rare eco-systems.

The connectivity of the corridor must be examined because the present configuration (including HS2) does not maximise the benefits, nor minimise the downside.

I’m hoping the Chancellor will be able to meet with Bucks MPs to consider how these concerns can be addressed, so that local resources are not overwhelmed by unmanageable change.