Slough's housing need 'ignored' by Chiltern and South Bucks Local Plan, council claims

Slough Borough Council is calling for an ‘immediate review’ of the Chiltern and South Bucks Local Plan due to concerns it ignores Slough’s demand for housing.

The plan, which outlines a need for 15,260 homes to be built in South Bucks by 2036, is due to be submitted for government inspection in September.

It pledges to release 13 greenbelt sites for housing or employment development and proposes a strategy to deliver 85 gypsy and traveller pitches.

But the borough’s lead officer for planning policy, Paul Stimpson, told a meeting on Wednesday, July 3 that the council intends to formally oppose Chiltern and South Bucks’ housing blueprint.

Mr Stimpson said: “Our biggest concern about the plan is there has been no mention of our objections or considering whether or not the plan should be meeting some of Slough’s needs.

“Slough only comes up three times in the whole of the plan and it really hasn’t been considered in what’s coming forward.

“There’s a shortfall of housing within the plan compared to the local need.”

In 2016, SBC proposed the creation of a ‘garden suburb’ to the north of the borough to solve the town’s housing shortage.

This, the council argues, would be achieved by building on greenbelt land in the South Bucks district.

Speaking to the Express on Thursday, July 11, council leader James Swindlehurst said the council is ‘disappointed’ the Chiltern and South Bucks Local Plan has not considered its request for a northern expansion of Slough.

He said he is keen for the plan to proceed but echoed Mr Stimpson’s calls for a review.

“We think that there are a number of flaws with the plan which we will be raising at the examination but think that the best way forward would be for the inspector to recommend that there is an immediate review of the plan which would bring forward the northern expansion,” he added.

Mr Stimpson also told the meeting of SBC’s planning committee that its neighbours aimthat ‘70 to 90 per cent’ of new houses should be three bedrooms or more was ‘bizarre’.

He said: “Given that one of the problems with South Bucks is they are the fifth most unaffordable area in the whole country it does seem to be bizarre to make that even worse by insisting housing that does come forward is very large and expensive.”

A spokeswoman for South Bucks District Council said: “South Bucks District Council has engaged with Slough Borough Council throughout the preparation of the local plan under its Duty to Co-operate. 

“This has involved numerous discussions with Slough BC including consideration of the option of a Northern Expansion of Slough. 

“This was ruled out as it involved the loss of land in the greenbelt which performs strongly against the purposes of the greenbelt.”

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