RESIDENTS across two counties are stepping up their protests over plans to build new motorway service areas and thousands of new homes on Green Belt land.
The upsurge in activity in Buckinghamshire and Hertfordshire coincides with deadlines passing for local people to voice their concerns with local councils about their draft plans which will shape housing development in the area over the next 20 years.
Various protest groups are now raising funds for legal representation to proceed with their campaigns. The Beaconsfield Society Save our Green Belt Campaign has been vociferous it its efforts to fight the “biggest threat for a generation” to the local Green Belt, with plans for 1600 new homes, offices and travellers’ sites around the town, which the society claims would lead to a massive increase in congestion and pollution.
The society has slammed both Beaconsfield Town and South Bucks councils for a lack of communication over the blueprint for thousands of homes in the area and argue that the growing housing crisis is not an acceptable reason to build on the protected land.
In the plans, a total of 5,200 homes are proposed across the area from Iver to Chesham, and other groups have raised similar concerns.
In Little Chalfont, which has been zoned for 700 homes, the parish council and community association joined forces to respond to the proposals, while campaigners in Bourne End have also fought to protect Green Belt land.
Meanwhile Thames Valley Police has joined local residents in raising concerns about a £150m motorway service area proposed near Chalfont St Peter.
Extra Motorway Services wants to build a hotel, petrol station and a building containing 12 retail and restaurant units on the 147-acre site between junctions 16 and 17 of the M25, close to the M25 exit for Denham/Maple Cross.
Police objected to the plans because of fears about the impact of a new service area on police resources and the safety of staff and customers, pointing out that Beaconsfield Services at Junction 2 of the M40 currently represented “one of the biggest crime hotspots” in the local policing area, with numerous calls relating to crime and anti-social behaviour.
Residents were also worried about the impact of the development on the local community and about pollution and congestion.
But similar fears have also been raised about another massive motorway service station mooted on green belt land in Hertfordshire will could threaten the very existence of Kings Langley.
Gary Ansell, chairman of Kings Langley & District Residents Association (KLDRA), said in April: “We are extremely concerned the village of Kings Langley will be surrounded by development. And the site is close to a church and primary school which would both be affected by high levels of diesel fumes and noise pollution.”
Moto Hospitality has submitted a planning application for a new service station at junction 20 off the M25 near Kings Langley with an 80-bed lodge, range of shops, parking spaces and other facilities.
See the highlighted links above for more detail about the different protest groups’ campaigns.