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Enforcement action restores precious Green Belt land

| April 19, 2022

Plot 1 before the enforcement action. (Image supplied by Buckinghamshire Council)

Buckinghamshire Council has taken direct action to ensure an area of Green Belt land on the border of Little Chalfont and Chalfont St Giles has been restored to its authorised use.

The Council employed a team of specialist contractors to enter a number of plots of land at Lodge Lane in order to achieve compliance with five planning enforcement notices, after the land owners failed to achieve amicable compliance.

Between March 2019 and March 2021, the plots of land off Lodge Lane, which is situated in the Metropolitan Green Belt and an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB), changed use to become unauthorised caravan sites.

In an effort to cease any further unauthorised activity occurring and to seek to restore the land to its authorised uses, the Council issued five planning enforcement notices on plots of land as well as two High Court injunctions covering these plots and the surrounding area.

Whilst retrospective planning applications were submitted by the land owners in an effort to seek to regularise the unauthorised uses, these applications were refused planning permission by the Council and then subsequently dismissed at appeal by the Planning Inspectorate.

Despite the Council’s efforts to seek amicable resolutions, the land owners failed to comply with the enforcement notices and on Monday 4th April 2022 the Council’s specialist contractors entered the land and undertook the works required. This work included the cessation of the use of the land as a caravan site, the removal of caravans, buildings, horse boxes and associated hard standing.

Buckinghamshire Council will now be pursuing the costs incurred in undertaking this action from the registered land owners.


Plot 1 after the enforcement action. (Image supplied by Buckinghamshire Council)

Gareth Williams, Cabinet Member for Planning and Environment at Buckinghamshire Council, said: ‘Land like this, set within the Green Belt and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty, is a critically important part of what makes our area so special and shapes the place that we live and work.

The enforcement action that we have taken in this case over the past three years has been absolutely necessary to cease this unauthorised and harmful use and to restore the land to its former use, preserving the openness of the Green Belt and conserving the AONB.

The action we have taken is another example of the Council’s ‘no nonsense’ approach to planning enforcement which we continue to employ where necessary. We will always aim to work with parties to reach an amicable conclusion but where this is not possible, we will take further action such as this.

This should be a warning to others that Buckinghamshire Council will not tolerate breaches of planning control and, where appropriate, we will use all the enforcement tools available to us to achieve an appropriate remedy.

*Source of article : Press release from Buckinghamshire Council.

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