Decision to be made on the Chiltern and South Bucks Local Plan

On 21 October, Buckinghamshire Council will be considering whether to withdraw the Chiltern and South Bucks Local Plan (CSB Plan).

Buckinghamshire Council inherited the draft Chiltern and South Bucks Local Plan (CSB Plan) on 1 April 2020 and over the summer we have had an opportunity to review the plan in the light of recent Planning Inspectors’ comments, the unprecedented impact of Covid-19, and the new government White Paper Planning for the Future which envisages a new planning system for England.

Councillor Warren Whyte, Cabinet Member for Planning and Enforcement, said: “In May 2020 the Planning Inspectors who were examining the draft CSB Plan pointed out that there was a strong likelihood that the only option will be for the Council to withdraw the Plan.  This was because, in their view, Chiltern and South Bucks District Councils had not cooperated with Slough Borough Council to identify sites in the plan for meeting some of Slough’s housing needs which would otherwise not be met. Whilst we did not agree with the findings of the Inspectors, we do believe the time is right to refocus our efforts and resources on completing a new Local Plan for the whole of Buckinghamshire.”

He added: “We do acknowledge that withdrawal of the CSB Plan may put pressure on housing land supply in the short term, but we believe this will be mitigated by the fact that 87.5% of the CSB Plan area is within the Green Belt and 43% in the Chilterns Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty which offers it a significant degree of protection.”

The impact of Covid-19 has also been considerable and has brought significant changes to how and where we work, future shopping needs and our town centres. All this will need careful consideration and our strategy for addressing these issues should be incorporated into the new Buckinghamshire Local Plan.”

The government’s recent changes in planning law, and the new White Paper proposing a brand new way to create local plans, reinforces the benefits of a new Buckinghamshire Local Plan. The Council is currently reviewing the proposed changes set out in the White Paper: Planning for the Future.  This consultation document proposes significant changes to the current planning system in England covering plan making, development management and development contributions.  The Council will be responding to this consultation, and discusses its draft response at Cabinet on 13 October.