Protect Chesham Bois Common & Surrounding Area

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Who We Are

Chesham Bois Common & Surrounding Area Campaign

As concerned residents of Amersham & Chesham Bois, we highly value and want to protect the unique nature of the Common, the woodland and the buildings that make the heart of Chesham Bois village and surrounding area enjoyable for everyone.

The reasons for setting up the campaign:

  • Create AWARENESS of the St Leonard's large scale development in the heart of the Conservation Area through stating the facts about the redevelopment.

  • Provide a platform for the wider community to SHARE THEIR VIEWS AND CONCERNS.

  • PROVIDE GUIDANCE for members of the community to state their own views formally.

 

The Proposed Development

The two sites will become one large site - all existing buildings will be demolished, with the following new builds:

  1. The 'Parish Centre' consisting of:

  2. A large (275 people) hall to be used for church services & gatherings with the intention of an 'all week' presence;​

  3. Additional multi-purpose hall to replace the existing Village Hall with an additional capacity for 100 people.

  4. Offices for St Leonard's Church and Chesham Bois Parish Council, including meeting rooms;

  5. Church led cafe.

  6. A new enlarged Rectory and 1 additional home for Church staff

  7. A separate building for Maryland Day nursery;

  8. Prayer Garden;

  9. Car parking for 114 cars, accessed via Glebe Way and covering the whole of the site including the Glebe Land (and with 22 overflow spaces on the grass area) 

Detailed plans can be found here

The cost is estimated to be around £5.5 million, making it the biggest development in the Chesham Bois Conservation area for many years.

 
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The Proposed Development

The Developers

St Leonard's Church

The site is owned by and is to be developed by the church, not the Parish Council.  St Leonard's Church is an Anglican, Evangelical & Charismatic Church that promotes the School of the Prophetic. Habitat for Humanity, are the project management company working with the church to develop the site:

Click here for more info

The Church's Vision

Grow the Congregation

  • The intention is to grow the church congregation (to 275) from outside as well as inside the Chesham Bois community.  Currently a very small proportion of Chesham Bois residents attend St Leonard's services. Congregation numbers year on year are declining. 

  • The primary purpose of the buildings - a 275 person, multi-purpose hall, offices & cafe, is for use by the church community and other local community groups.  Members of the groups will be renting the building for a variety of purposes.  It will be used during the day and in the evenings.

  • The existing St Leonard's Church on Bois Lane is a Grade II listed building.  It will continue to be used for the 8.00am & 10.00am Sunday services.

 
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The Concerns of The Community

Sensible Redevelopment

Serious concerns from the residents in Amersham & Chesham Bois have been raised on the proposed St. Leonard's development because:

·The size and intensity of the development is huge. It is not simply  a replacement Parish Centre – it is a new Church, to include a number of extra buildings.

This unprecedented large-scale development will be located in the heart of the Chesham Bois Conservation Area; it will impact ALL Chesham Bois residents.

It undermines the distinct character of The Conservation Area and  promotes the spread of urbanisation – it does not preserve or enhance The Conservation Area.

The proposed buildings could hold around 400 people, which  would result in an increase in traffic, with the incremental  increase in light / visual / noise/ air pollution issues.

Inevitably, parking will spill out on to the surrounding roads.  Although parking has been increased to 114 in the amendments, this is still not adequate for up to 400 people being on site when all the buildings are in use.  Additionally, access via Glebe Way (which turns into a one way road with cars parked there) for 114 cars arriving and leaving at a similar time (eg. for a church service or event) will inevitably result in congestion and over spill parking in the surrounding area

It sets a precedent for future large-scale development applications within the area, resulting in increased urbanisation and the loss of  the distinctive semi-rural character forever, which we all value  highly.

This will be an active site, with 7-day week worship, leisure and business activities both day and evening; it will greatly alter the nature and tranquility at the heart of the village.

Current Church attendance is declining, with 40% of the congregation coming from outside the area. St Leonard's intention is to grow numbers from outside the parish, yet there are already 9  churches in Amersham.

There is an existing St Leonard's Parish Church on Bois Lane -  what has been done for this church building to be adapted to twenty first century worship? Will it become a relic with the relocation of church services to the new worship hall  development?

 
 

Up-date on the Planning Application

All objections have now been submitted

You can view all the documents and the objections on the Bucks Council website under the 'Documents' tab:

www.chiltern.gov.uk/viewplanningapplications

The reference number to access the St Leonard's Planning Application is: 

PL/20/0401/FA

  • Many thanks to all of you for submitting your objections to the amendments.  There are circa 160 objections to the amendments in addition to circa 200 submitted in March, all of which put forward very compelling arguments against the development.   Additionally, there are objections from The Chiltern Society, Amersham Residents Association, and our MP Dame Cheryl Gillam.

  • We are hoping that the Planning Committee will meet in 2020 to make a decision and will let you know as soon as we hear about the date of the meeting.  Our Planning Consultant will be attending this meeting on behalf of the Protect group. 

  • Chesham Bois Parish Council have been asked to review their U-turn decision to support the development taking into account the Thames Valley Police and Environmental Health reports.  Their next meeting 9th November, so we will report back again after this.

  • Other news of significance is that a decision has been made to withdraw the Chiltern and South Bucks Local Plan. The Bucks Council will therefore need revert to the 1997 Local Plan.  This has relevance to the St Leonard’s planning application in terms of parking requirements, as the 1997 Local Plan stipulates a higher number of parking spaces required for buildings of the size and capacity proposed. 

 
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STAY INFORMED

The formal Planning Application has now been registered. We are at the end of an email and very happy to discuss the plans in greater detail with you. Please contact us at:

protectcbcommon@gmail.com

We will regularly place updates on Facebook, please follow us on: @ProtectCheshamBoisCommon

Read the HERITAGE REPORT, which Alison Bailey has curated, this provides some amazing stories and reasons why we need to protect the Chesham Bois Conservation Area.

Chesham Bois Parish Council are also seeking views from across the community.  Email your view to:

clerk@cheshamboispc.org.uk

 
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©2019 by Protect Chesham Bois Common & Surrounding Area.

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