On 15 February Wycombe District Council planning committee will decide an application to ‘convert’ a stable into a two-bedroom chalet-style bungalow. The stable is near the top of a hill, opposite Beeches Farm, in the Chilterns Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
The application includes the creation of a parking and turning area, the removal and replanting of hedgerows, a new garden, and a storage shed. The first application was withdrawn in January 2016 and further work was done on it before it was resubmitted.
The stable (grid reference SU 791 8870) is at the eastern end of the long Hambleden footpath 17 which runs up the valley to the stable at the top. If the development goes ahead, the applicants will want to divert the footpath so that it loses its lovely, purposeful, direct route. It would then join Colstrope Lane, beyond the development, on a dangerous slope with limited visibility.
There are nearly 40 objections, mostly from local people but including Hambleden Parish Council, Ramblers, Open Spaces Society and CPRE. Unfortunately the officer, Alastair Nicholson, is recommending conditional approval.
Our district councillor Chris Whitehead, has made some powerful points. He argues that ‘an ancient public footpath traverses the land, with stunning views over distant hills’. He points out that this is ‘a new build masquerading as a conversion’.
I strongly hope that the officer’s recommendation is overturned and the development is thrown out.
Update: the application was refused.