A petition launched to prevent 900 new homes being built on Chesham green belt has reached more than 1,000 signatures in just over two weeks.
Set in motion by Lye Green residents in response to the latest consultation stage of the Local Plan, it aims to raise awareness over what has been proposed and to bring attention to the depth of feeling against it .
But Chiltern District Council (CDC) and South Bucks District Council (SBDC) - who are preparing the plan - have hit back saying petitions ‘will be dealt with on the same basis as a single response’.
CDC and SBDC have launched the Green Belt Preferred Options Consultation to seek opinions on areas of possible future development, as part of the 20 year housebuilding scheme known as the Local Plan.
But the Lye Green community fears the proposals put forward will result in damage to the openness and appearance of the area.
People are also concerned about the potential loss of identity of Lye Green which they fear will become absorbed within Chesham, along with the loss of good quality agricultural land and the adverse impact upon the wildlife, flora and fauna.
Philip Plato, of campaign group Brown Not Green, said the reaction to the petition has been very positive from the public, adding there was a huge number of people not from the town who have signed it.
He added: “This isn’t a bunch of nimbies. They’re clearly concerned about the effect on the town as a whole.
“People are saying the site is unsuitable. It’s too far from the town centre and public transport.”
He said it is predicted there will be a 400% increase in traffic if the proposals go ahead: “This is a very real concern that the whole town would really just to come to a stand still.
“It would not be good for business and Chesham would become the place to avoid.”
He added: “I’m astonished at the number of residents who have come and done so much in such a short space of time.”
A spokesman for CDC said: “We are actively seeking peoples’ views on options for meeting development needs which cannot be met within built areas, on previously developed land or in areas outside Chiltern and South Bucks.”
They said that from an initial 400 green belt sites put forward only 15 have been included and stressed that ‘nothing is set in stone’.
CDC has said it is also working with service and infrastructure providers to consider the need for new and improved schools, healthcare facilities, roads and public transport.
More than 1,300 people have attended one of the 13 public exhibitions, 140 representatives have attended one of two stakeholder meetings and the council said it has written to more than 3,200 individuals and groups with updates.
The spokesman said exhibitions are ongoing at the councils' offices, information is in in local libraries, messages have been put out on social media and the consultation has been covered in the local press.
The spokesman added: “All responses received will be fully considered based on their planning merits.”
The deadline for comments is 5pm on Monday December 12.
And visit www.petitions24 com/stop_plans_to_build_homes_on_green_belt_at_lye_green_nr_chesham and http://brownnotgreen.weebly.com/ for more information on the petition.