You may be aware that the Parish Council recently submitted an application to Aylesbury Vale District Council to register the open land in front of The Crescent as an Asset of Community Value. The informal allotments were registered by AVDC, but the open parkland was declined on grounds that it “is not of community value” and “does not further the social wellbeing or social interests of the local community”. We find this hard to believe and we need your help to show AVDC how valuable it is.
The Parish Council leased this land from Bucks County Council in 1984 to provide open space, fruiting trees and a tranquil area for the community to pass time. The parish requested a renewal of the agreement when the lease expired in 2005, but this has been declined to date. We have also offered to purchase this land for community benefit and this has also been declined to date. The Parish Council continues to manage this land on behalf of BCC, using its own resources to do so. Bucks County Council recently expressed an interest in building on this land, which we know our residents are opposed to. If the land had been accepted onto the register of Assets of Community Value, it would ensure that BCC would have to delay any sale for a period of up to 6 months to allow the Parish Council (or the wider community) the opportunity to put together a bid to purchase the land. As part of the Pitstone Neighbourhood Plan, we are seeking to designate this land (and the neighbouring allotment plots) as “Local Green Space”. Such a designation would essentially prevent any building on the land and ensure its continued protection as public open space. As you will know, AVDC are currently consulting on our proposed Neighbourhood Plan. That consultation closes on 22 December. It would be immensely helpful if you could write to or email AVDC before then in support of the proposed Local Green Space designations, and tell them why you value this open area and how you use it. Perhaps you pick the cherries, apples and blackberries? Use it as a space for quiet reflection? Picnic on the bench? Meet friends there? Enjoy the daffodils? Exercise your dog?
To write to AVDC, send a letter to: Forward Plans, AVDC, The Gateway, Gatehouse Road, Aylesbury HP19 8FF. Or email email@example.com. Make sure you include the words “Pitstone Neighbourhood Plan” in your letter or email.
All information submitted to AVDC is also supplied by them to the independent examiner appointed to “examine” (and, hopefully, approve) our Neighbourhood Plan. Help us to ensure that AVDC and the examiner are aware of the level of local support for these areas of Local Green Space. Your comments need to be submitted by 22 December 2015. Hopefully the evidence will also help the council submit a renewed bid to put the open parkland onto the Asset of Community Value register as well, to provide an additional layer of protection to this valuable open space.
Laurie Eagling, Clerk to Pitstone Parish Council