The Beaconsfield Society has criticised the town’s proposed Neighbourhood Plan for being ‘badly drafted’ and ‘not protecting Green Belt land’.

The group held a public meeting on Tuesday, April 16, at St Mary’s Church in the Old Town to discuss what a spokesperson described as “Beaconsfield Town Council’s incompetence” concerning the creation of a local Neighbourhood Plan.

The council held a period of community engagement on the plan, which would give the town a say on what happens to its neighbourhoods, last year and a public consultation concluded in November.

However, the outspoken amenity group the Beaconsfield Society has been vocal in its criticism of the council for what it views as a “badly drafted” proposal of policies that is “missing essential elements needed to protect the town’s green landscape”.

A spokesperson who was at the meeting on Tuesday said it had a “big turnout”, with residents reportedly agreeing that the wording of the plan was not precise enough to represent local interests.

They added: “Some people might say any plan is better than nothing, but in this case, nothing is better.”

The Beaconsfield Society successfully campaigned against plans to build 450 homes on Green Belt land near the A355 in 2022, a proposal that the town council also objected to.

One of the group’s central criticisms of the Neighbourhood Plan, which is currently with an independent examiner and on which a referendum will likely be held this year, is its perceived lack of deterrents to Green Belt development that are strong enough to be enforceable.

The spokesperson said this week’s meeting demonstrated that the town’s elected representatives are out of step and failing to represent “those who put them there”.

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However, Mayor of Beaconsfield Jackson Ng emphasised the importance of “getting a plan through as soon as possible” to give the town “a collective view” on measures likely to impact residents.

He said: “There’s always room for improvement and to finetune plans further, but at this moment it’s better to get this plan in place and safeguard the town’s position, then revisit it in a few years.

“There are always going to be residents with concerns but without a neighbourhood plan, Beaconsfield is vulnerable.”

A spokesperson for the town council added that it has “worked on the plan for over three years” with a Steering Group made up of councillors and local volunteers and "guidance from a respected planning consultancy".

“Whilst we are aware that comments have been made that other towns have written policy regarding development in the Green Belt, it is Beaconsfield Town Council’s stated policy that we will not support any development in the Green Belt and the Neighbourhood Plan re-states and supports this throughout.

“The independent examiner will consider the responses received and recommend amendments if appropriate.”