Strategic Sites Committee REFUSES film studio application

Save Marlow’s Green Belt is delighted with the decision to refuse the Marlow Film Studio planning application. There can now be no doubt that the harm caused by this development would far outweigh its benefits. We would like to thank all those people who have supported our campaign.

The applicant claims that the studio would benefit the film industry and help young people. We disagree. Over the last three years the amount of studio space has doubled and there is now more than enough to meet demand. And local young people are already well served by over ten studios that are within a 30 minutes’ drive of Marlow. Including Pinewood and a brand new one just up the road in Wycombe.

The planning committee clearly agrees that the lack of certainty over the benefits and the absolute certainty of the harm means that Marlow is the wrong place for a development of this type. It would create traffic chaos, destroy the environment and cause huge damage to the local community.

The recent parish poll, in which 85% of voters said “No” to the studio, shows that the vast majority of the community also agree with us. This is despite the applicant spending millions trying to convince them otherwise.

We hope that Dido Property Limited now recognises that the studio isn’t needed, it isn’t wanted and it can never be justified. We recommend that they don’t throw good money after bad by going to appeal and that they draw a line under this sorry episode.

SMG will continue its campaign to protect the local greenbelt from inappropriate development so that its benefits are secured for future generations.

Help us record nature in the Country Park

Help us record and map the plants & animals of the Little Marlow Lakes Country Park!

Submitting this valuable data, helps to understand what we have, as well as populations and trends. This public record will be used when assessing biodiversity and ecological value for any proposed development.

How can you contribute?

  1. Download the iNaturalist app for iPhone or Android or register on the web at
  2. Go for a walk all around the Country Park whenever you want
  3. Use the app to “add an observation” and take pictures of plants, insects, animals (or record sounds!). The app will suggest an ID if you don’t know it. It should also automatically add the location based on your GPS information.
  4. Sync & share your observations
  5. Repeat step 3-4!

If you have historical pictures, you can upload those too, via the web or app, with time and location info entered manually if not extracted automatically from the photo.

Please contact if you have any questions.

We look forward to seeing your observations, celebrating the biodiversity we have in our greenbelt!

Flyer for the Save Marlows Greenbelt bioblitz in the Marlow Lakes Country Park

Film studio transport plan “improvements” are hot air

Guernsey-registered Dido Property Limited have submitted “improvements” to their traffic plan by introducing a massive round about on the A4155. However, the congestion caused by more than two thousand extra vehicles is not going to be mitigated by a roundabout. The A404 and A4155 Marlow Road simply don’t have the capacity. National Highways has expressed serious concerns about the developer’s traffic model and this attempt to appease them is akin to repositioning a couple of deckchairs on the Titanic. In no way does it address the fundamental issue or does compensate it for the huge damage that this monstrous development will cause.

Officers brand Film Studio environmental statement as vague

In a recently published statement on the planning portal, Buckinghamshire Council’s Directorate for Planning Growth & Sustainability has indicated Marlow Film Studio’s much touted environmental plan is insufficient and lacking in any credible detail.

The modelling & calculations for building emissions are “acceptable as part of an initial, high-level assessment”. It goes on to say that “the Energy Statement (ES) that has been provided is suitable only as an initial, high-level estimate” and “we disagree with the explanations for “Be clean” and “Be green” within the [Energy Statement]”.

Also the proposed “sustainable construction” lacks substance: “the Climate Response Team would require the applicants to provide evidence of waste reduction throughout the entire development”.

It shows that the sustainability angle of the speculative proposal is a tick-box PR exercise from Guernsey-based Dido Property Limited rather than a well-thought-through, inclusive plan.

Ecology Officer slams film studio submission

The ecology analysis of Dido Property Limited’s planning application for the film studio by Buckinghamshire Council’s Ecology Officer was recently published.

The summary is clear:

‌”Further and better ecological information is required prior to determination.

At this stage, there are both in principle and specific reasons to object to the proposals on ecological grounds.

The fundamental problem with the application is the location in which it is proposed. If the same application were located on a less constrained site it would be able to overcome the objections and may well be welcomed. “

The opening statement is especially damaging:

“If the submitted documents are correct, a very substantial Biodiversity Net Loss would occur on site 20.64 Habitat Units (9.81%) and 0.13 Hedgerow units (1.35%). However, it is questioned whether this has been recorded correctly (both baseline surveys and post-development proposals). I am sure that the actual loss would be greater.
The proposals suggest that an off-site gain of 20% is aspired to, however, no solid proposals of where this would take place have been put forward.”

The detailed analysis goes on to point out missing information (the actual ecology survey results, rather than the methodology), inconsistencies (in the habitat plans & surveys), lacking justification (on habitat designation) and errors (claiming there are no waterways nearby whereas maps show there are; doing 5 instead of 10 surveys).

“As the problems with the surveys result in a down playing of abundance, diversity or value, the level of impacts will automatically be under estimated.”

Based on the Ecology Officer’s analysis, it seems that Dido Property Limited’s biodiversity & ecology assessments/statements are either a display of incompetence or deliberately obfuscating to reduce the site’s natural value. We have our own opinion…

Council officer reports confirm our objections

When Guernsey-based Dido Property Limited started touting its idea for the speculative film studio application, Save Marlow’s Greenbelt immediately identified areas of concern, around traffic, environment & flooding. We also questioned their economic case based on film studio/warehouse rental.

The planning application documents were vague and full of holes and hand-waving promises, affirming our key areas of objection:

  1. there are no “very special circumstances” (i.e. economic reasons) to build this monstrosity on Marlow’s Greenbelt
  2. it will be devastating for nature & wildlife.
  3. it will be horrendous for traffic
  4. flooding & sewage treatment are a major issue

This week several documents were published on the planning portal, outlining the analysis from Buckinghamshire Council’s own officers. On all fronts, they are damning for the planning application: inconsistencies, errors, obfuscations, omissions… Once you scratch the surface of the PR, things are not so glossy.

We will release more information on each key topic over the next week, starting today with ecology.

What’s that smell?

We want to track the level of foul odours (or otherwise) as a result of the Thames Water Sewage Treatment Plant. We want to gather data over time and also how it relates to weather events (e.g. heavy rain).

Specifically, we are looking for everyone to report their experience on the path along Spade Oak Lake, between the railway and The Moor (in Little Marlow). This is between ///shepherds.laptop.clocks and ///parrot.beast.purchaser.

So whenever you walk in the area, please let us know the odour level via . Please share with your friends and neighbours.

Boathouse application – approved!

On 10th November, Buckinghamshire Council approved the planning application (reference 22/05132/FUL) for a boat house in the Greenbelt in the Little Marlow Lakes Country Park, set against the A404. The facility is intended to be used by Great Marlow School and Sir William Borlase School.

The planning officer report explicitly mentions the RUR4 policy in the 2019 Local Plan as a deciding factor, as it allocates the entirety of the area for outdoor recreation and leisure use. Not a smaller area, as the Buckinghamshire Council Cabinet are trying to argue.

Marlow Town Council launches Sustainable Marlow Challenge

The BIG Sustainable Marlow Challenge is a community engagement and communications programme, promoted by Marlow Town Council, encouraging all residents to live greener. One of the headline “eco-missions” is “Helping Nature”.

One way to help nature is of course to not remove it when it is already there. This is what Save Marlow’s Greenbelt has been promoting for more than a year. We are pleased that Marlow Town Council is finally demonstrating support for our cause and look forward to reading their official objection to the Marlow film studio planning application soon.

If you live in Marlow, please write to your town councillors to ensure they live up to their own Challenge.

Cakes, Cookies & Cracker sale

Following the Save Marlow’s Greenbelt online auction, we are holding a Cake, Cookies and Cracker sale on Saturday 26th November 2022. Located in the car park of Emmett’s Farm Shop, Little Marlow, from 9 am to 1 pm.

All donations of homemade cakes and cookies would be very welcome, please. Please come along and see us and help support the fundraising efforts – the more the merrier!

If you can’t make it on the day, contributions can be delivered to the Farm Shop before the event.