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The environment secretary has given the go-ahead to Yeoman Homes Limited for works on Layters Green Common, Chalfont St Peter, Bucks. The consent is for two temporary trenches for the replacement of mains water and mains electricity, and installation of mains drainage and gas in connection with development of an adjoining property.
The society, Chalfont St Peter Parish Council and two individuals objected to the application which was made under section 38 of the Commons Act 2006.
Last year, Yeoman Homes erected fencing and portacabins on the common without consent for works on common land, and removed them after pressure from the Open Spaces Society and parish council.
We deplore the approval of works on Layters Green. It is a beautiful common in the Chilterns Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and deserves special protection.
We consider the trenches will cause significant disruption to the common and will be contrary to the public interest, interfering with people’s right to walk here. Unfortunately the Planning Inspectorate, which took the decision on behalf of the environment secretary, was satisfied with the applicant’s response that pedestrian access would only be partially restricted and that the site will be reinstated. However, the applicant has a poor record on this common so we do not share the Planning Inspectorate’s confidence.
We recommended the Planning Inspectorate to carry out a site visit before reaching a conclusion, and are sorry it declined to do so. We shall keep a close watch on the common to ensure the works are kept to a minimum and the common is fully reinstated afterwards.