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Buckinghamshire – the new Hollywood?

Christa McDermott
By Christa McDermott
1st April 2022

Fewer green screens, more green scenes…..

Our area, in the Home Counties to the North-West of London, already has a number of film and TV studios. Seven in fact. And there are FIVE proposals for more film and TV studios in the area. Just how many do we really need?

Pinewood has just got approval for a large extension into the London Metropolitan Green Belt, despite strong local opposition, and Bovingdon (in Herts, but right on the boundary with Bucks) wants to expand. There are also whole new sites being proposed in Little Marlow, Broxbourne (Herts) and in Surrey.

The proposal at Little Marlow (between the A404 Marlow By-Pass and the Spade Oak Nature Reserve) is particularly contentious for us because it is proposed for exactly the same area of land that the Council recently approved (via the Adopted Local Plan) to become a Country Park and is immediately adjacent to the Chilterns AONB. Furthermore, Wycombe Wanderers are also proposing a new Training Ground in the same area and together these proposals would effectively kill off any chance of creating a new Country Park for the public to enjoy.

We are not against new jobs, but would argue that the area already has enough film studio space that could more efficiently be used (film studios are notoriously inefficient on land use). The Little Marlow site was the subject of extensive public consultation and consideration by a Government Inspector before being incorporated into the Wycombe Local Plan as Policy RUR4. That Policy states (amongst other things):

  • The area is allocated for outdoor recreation (and we know how important that is as the recent pandemic has emphasised the benefits of that to our health)
  • Planning permission will NOT be granted for development within the country park that has an adverse effect on the amenities, setting, or which prejudices the function of the area for the purposes of a country park.

Before the ink is even dry on the Local Plan there are powerful commercial entities proposing to drive a coach and horses through that Policy. We will be objecting to the studio project and urge others to do too.

Lights, camera, lets take action!

Thank you, CPRE Bucks team.

 

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