Encroachments on Chiltern common

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We have called on Chiltern District Council to take enforcement action against unlawful works on Layters Green Common, Chalfont St Peter, in the Buckinghamshire Chilterns.

Willow Developments has planning permission to develop Willow Tree House, Layters Green, but the council has told the developer that it must first get consent from the Secretary of State for works on common land under section 38 of the Commons Act 2006.

The developer has apparently ignored this instruction and has widened the access track and erected a padlocked gate and ‘portacabins’ on the common, in breach of the Commons Act and denying the public its right to walk there.

The society has written to the council’s chief executive to point out that not only has the developer ignored the requirement in the planning permission but it has also encroached on the common. We are dismayed that this lovely common has been abused in this way, with a padlocked gate plastered with ‘Keep out’ notices on the common.

Chiltern District Council has the power, under section 41 of the Commons Act 2006, to apply to the County Court for an order for the removal of the unlawful works and the restoration of the land. We have urged it to take such action, both to restore this beautiful common and as a lesson to other developers that they ignore common-land law at their peril.’

Adds Richard Allen, chairman of Chalfont St Peter Parish Council: ‘Common land is an extremely precious commodity with landmark legislation aimed at protecting it as a community resource. It is a resource that should be protected at all costs for our children and our children’s children. We are hopeful that Chiltern District Council will take the appropriate action immediately to stop this damage to one of our precious commons.’

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