Updates

“So, what happens now?”

Well, not “another suitcase in another hall”, anyway!

Now that our legal challenge to Bucks Council over the grant of outline planning permission to the Hampden Fields development has been lodged with the court, we now await several things.

First is any defence that the Council wish to offer. This will be reviewed by our legal team (solicitors Richard Buxton of Cambridge and barrister Jack Parker of Cornerstone Barristers at Gray’s Inn Square, London). Any rebuttal arguments and evidence will be prepared to take the case forward. One of the key next steps will be to await the judge’s decision as to granting us permission to pursue the Judicial Review.

(‘The court’, incidentally, is the Planning Court in the Queen’s Bench Division of the High Court of Justice. This is a serious case.)

But, while our prime focus is naturally on the Judicial Review, that does not mean that we are taking our eyes of the ball in other areas. One of our committee checks constantly for anything on the ‘Woodlands’ planning portal. (More on this next week.) Another keeps track of anything relating to the ongoing Examination of the Vale of Aylesbury Local Plan VALP. And we are always looking for any suitable opportunity to press our case publicly.

Quite a bit happening, actually. Thanks for staying in touch.

9 August update: Our Judicial Review case goes in

Thanks to the astounding financial support given by hundreds of people we have now been able to go ahead with seeking Judicial Review (JR) of the Hampden Fields development. The law requires a JR application to be submitted to the court no more than six weeks from the date of planning permission being granted. In that time, the money was raised, a recommended firm of solicitors was selected and a barrister with particular expertise in this type of case was engaged, their advice taken, and many documents, chronology and legal grounds were considered and analysed to ensure that we had the strongest possible strong case. The papers were submitted to the Court on 5 August, inside the time limit.

It is important to understand that a JR is not a re-run of the merits of the decision made by Bucks Council but a challenge to the lawfulness of that decision. A council (the defendant in this case) may well submit “summary grounds of defence” to try to explain why it is unarguable and that permission for JR should not be granted. We then wait for a judge to grant or refuse permission to proceed to the next stage. This may take several weeks, and we are naturally hopeful of success.

This is just the beginning of what could be a long process. Again, thanks for the support that everyone gave to enable us to achieve our financial target. It was a tremendous effort not just by local people but from a remarkable number of areas of the country.

We will keep you informed each week on this website and via social media. There may be some weeks when nothing has happened, but check in anyway so as not to miss any developments. And if you have any questions, don’t hesitate to get in touch via info@hfag.net.

You Did It!!



Dear Supporter, WHAT A REMARKABLE RESULT – £38,000 in SEVEN DAYS.
We put out a ‘last ditch’ request to raise what we thought would be unachievable – a minimum of £35,000 in seven days. After 11 years, who could blame anyone for apathy setting in against a developer with a bottomless pit of money and a council/elected representatives who stopped listening or caring years ago.

Well the bottom line is you have not given up – this is how you raised the money:

Phil Yerby Just Giving Page = £26,975
Cheques/direct donations = £5,537.50
Matched donation in last 24 hours (up to £5,000) = £5,000

Total = £37,512.50

We had over 300 individual donations from £5 to £5,000 – they ALL made a difference so thank you to everyone who was moved to donate – many of them completely anonymously.  Whilst donations were of course concentrated around the development they also came from further around Aylesbury and in fact, from around the country.

We are not alone, many other resident groups feel unrepresented by local councils who pay lip service to any objection, impose these developments and then simply blame central Government. Having been put down for years with the “Nimby” label and the over simplified  “We need houses!” argument, people are beginning to find a voice – and you have given yours a very good chance of being heard! 

We have already spent a considerable amount of time with our legal team – hence the slightly later update for which we apologise – and we formally served papers on the Council last Friday, 16th July. 

The council have until 29th July to respond and we will keep you posted and publish all documents on our website. 

Thank you once again – this was an amazing and quite humbling community effort!

Best Wishes

The HFAG team
 

“That’s great news!” “Brilliant. Thanks so much” “Brill news!” “How exciting to have won such a wonderful prize!”

The Midsummer MegaRaffle draw was held on 30 June. It has been a pleasure to offer people the chance to win one of the great prizes as well as supporting the campaign. 102 people bought tickets and a splendid £1,000 was raised. Thank you to everyone who joined in. Here are the winners. We congratulate them all:

Spitfire / Messerschmitt simulator experience Chris Barrow

Spa Day at Champneys Mark Webb

Chequers meal        Carolyn Rooth

Go Ape tickets     Beryl Hunter

Go Ape tickets Damien Campbell

Presentation bottle of gin Eric Green

John Lewis Vouchers  Linda Sanders

Wine and Cheese hamper from No 2 Pound Street      Sue Mayhew

Croquet session Sue and Rex Horton

Bottle of Claret       Victoria Bye

National Gardens Gift Token       Beth Adams

Two bottles of Fizz                     Jo White    

100 people, 300 tickets!

HFAG wanted people to have some fun, so we launched the Midsummer MegaRaffle. Some big prizes, with a theme of enjoying life in the summer.

By the end of the month, more than 100 people had bought almost 300 tickets. Tonight, they will find out who has won which prize.

Exciting!

And we thank everyone for joining in the fun, and helping HFAG funds into the bargain.

In the teeth of the evidence

Bucks Council have shown that they are deaf to evidence-based objections.  On 24 June 2021, Steve Bambrick, Service Director Planning and Environment signed a document giving outline planning permission to the Hampden Fields Consortium to proceed with building the new estate.  


The latest legal challenges from Hampden Fields Action Group?  Ignored.


Objections running to many pages from the NHS Buckinghamshire Healthcare Trust and the local Clinical Commissioning Group, clearly stating that the proposed health centre will not meet the needs of the new patients?  “Nothing to see here, folks, move along please.”


A draft Vale of Aylesbury Local Plan that is still undergoing examination and of which Hampden Fields would form an essential part?   BC have simply parked a large tank on the Inspector’s lawn.


Transport issues still unanswered after years?  Ignored.


Even the Weston Turville Parish Council’s request for some local funding has been turned down as if it had no merit.


The HFAG Committee are meeting early next week to consider where we go from here.


A bad day at your office, Mr Bambrick.

Our Midsummer MegaRaffle is live!

Now summer is here, let’s have some fun. HFAG has organised a Midsummer Mega-Raffle to give you the chance to win some great prizes while also helping our campaign funds.  

Fancy flying a Spitfire simulator for an hour, duelling against an opponent in a Messerschmitt?  What about a relaxing Spa day with a friend at Champneys?  Or a delicious meal for two at The Chequers?  Taking your kids up into the trees at Go Ape in Wendover Woods? Shopping at John Lewis?  Buying something for the garden?  (Where you could also enjoy a rather special presentation bottle of gin.)  Or you could win a No 2 Pound Street wine and cheese hamper for a summer picnic. 

Tickets to enter for the Megaraffle are £5.  Just call Chris Webbley on 07850 899 447 or email him at chris.webbley@btinternet.com.

Thanks for your support, and good luck!

Chris Webbley (Organiser)

Bucks Council now facing a legal challenge

If Bucks Council thought Hampden Fields was a done deal, they’re having to think again.

On 27 May they received a three-page letter from our solicitors raising no fewer than 14 ‘potential legal errors’ and ‘multiple serious concerns’ about the application.  Citing the proposed contributions for education and healthcare, the letter focuses on problems with the plans for transport, both public and private, and the legality of the whole Travel Plan brought forward by the developer.  The legal arguments were strongly aided by a recent report from our professional transport consultants.  We and our solicitors await a response.


It is the contributions from the Action Group’s many supporters that enable us to take heavyweight action like this. Developers have deep pockets, as we all know, but access to law does reduce that imbalance. Of course, that costs money and we are continuing to raise funds, for example via the crowdfunding appeal currently running. By carefully targeting how we spend those funds, we can make the biggest possible impact. 

Thank you for your ongoing support.  The campaign continues!   

Amanda, Chris, Glynn, John, Peter, Phil, Roger and Tony

Healthcare and other issues: an update

Phil Yerby spoke up at the Vale Plan hearing on 13 April. Since then, he and the rest of the HFAG Committee have continued their work on several important topics on behalf of the community.

We are monitoring the progress — or lack of it — regarding the Woodlands development, still subject to a flooding objection by the Environment Agency.  The latest, lengthy draft ’Section 106’ agreement for Hampden Fields has raised some serious questions: we are pursuing them. We have also made two Freedom of Information Act requests about the transport plans affecting the whole of this area.  


But our sharpest concerns are about healthcare. The NHS told the Council what facilities would be needed to serve the huge patient increase from all the proposed developments in Weston Turville, Aston Clinton, Stoke Mandeville and Bierton. But the current offer in the Hampden Fields agreement falls far short of that. That is worrying and needs attention, not least by our elected representatives.   

HFAG argues our case at Vale of Aylesbury Local Plan public hearing

On 13 April, Phil Yerby of HFAG together with our Transport Consultant appeared before the government inspector examining the VALP. The session was to examine Bucks Council’s policy and plans for transport, which have been heavily contested by HFAG ever since the draft Plan emerged in 2017.

The hearing lasted more than three hours.  If you watched the webcast, you would have seen a strong team put forward a strong case and often challenge the Council on what we regard as their weak evidence base.

The Inspector will now consider his assessment in the forthcoming weeks and draft a final report to the Council regarding whether the Plan can be found to be ‘sound’.

We have made a good case but everything is now over to him.

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