Object to the Marlow film Studio

The planning application for the film studio project has been published on the planning portal with reference number 22/06443/FULEA. In March 2023, amended/updated plans were uploaded and the Council has alerted everyone who provided a response by 9th April 2023. Another iteration was uploaded in June 2023, focusing on transport and ecology – but still full of gaping holes. The latest iteration (February 2024) offers more glossy images and tries to throw money at the problems, further emphasising the massive issues that the traffic and parking will cause.

Please object again – even if you have already done this.

How do I object?

Option 1

Alternatively, email planning.wyc@buckinghamshire.gov.uk, with “Objection to 22/06443/FULEA” in the subject line. Or use our one-click email builder below to start your email app with a prefilled template:

Option 2

  1. Click the link to the planning portal
  2. Once logged in, check that all details (name, address etc.) are correct and select the type of commenter relevant to you – likely “Member of Public” or “Neighbour”. Note that anonymised comments are not taken into account when evaluating planning applications.
  3. Select “Object” under “Stance”.
  4. Select the “Comments” tab. Then click “Login and make a comment” (if you have made a comment before) or “Register here”.
  5. Write your comment in the large box (max 5000 characters)
  6. Press “Submit”.

What should I write?

Guidance on general topics of what you can use as arguments and what you cannot, is available from the Buckinghamshire Council website. You can read Save Marlow Greenbelt’s 2023 official objection and our recent additional objection (March 2024) online.

The key points, even with the amendments and updates, are:

  1. The economic case put forward by the applicant is flawed and out of date. We urge Buckinghamshire Council to commission a new independent report.
  2. The submission from National Highways on 13th March 2024 highlights the outstanding flaws to application that is likely to result in safety issues as well as increased traffic, congestion, pollution, and parking issues.
  3. The applicant has failed to demonstrate Very Special Circumstances justifying the destruction of the Greenbelt.
  4. There is no financial mitigation possible that could offset the scheme, as it would forever destroy Marlow’s Greenbelt.

Our 2023 list was:

  1. The integrity of the Greenbelt should be protected. Even at a national level, the Government has committed to protecting and enhancing the Greenbelt.
  2. The “sequential test” is flawed and just a self-serving exercise to try and claim that Dido Property Limited’s land is “most preferable”.
  3. The economic analysis performed by LSH on behalf of the Council clearly states that there is sufficient studio capacity in the pipeline, the proposed scale is unnecessary and the requirement of the “West London Cluster” is overstated.
  4. The proposed changes, e.g. to transport, do not change the underlying flawed logic to destroy the Greenbelt and the Little Marlow Lakes Country Park.
  5. The transport plans have been assessed by an independent consultant and confirm National Highways objections: the current proposals would result in an unacceptable impact on highway safety and overall that the application site is “unsustainable in transportation terms thereby failing to meet the requirements of paragraphs 105 and 110 (a) of the NPPF.”
  6. The ecological assessment is full of errors, as detailed by Buckinghamshire Council’s Ecology Officer’s report. It is based on dubious calculations and considers a single field conversion sufficient to offset the loss of 90 acres of wildlife habitat.

And here was our original list from 2022:

  • The proposed site is designated as Green Belt in the 2019 Local Plan (policy RUR4), which provides National Planning Policy protection from inappropriate development. The 2019 Local Plan is very new and as such is considered to be very relevant in its policies and designations.
  • The proposed site is designated as mitigation for the release of green belt in Bourne End in order to build circa 500 houses. Removal of the proposed site from the Green Belt would therefore also remove the mitigation for the Bourne End development.
  • The proposed site is adjacent to the Chilterns Area of Outstanding Beauty and would be out of keeping with the natural rural landscape character.
  • The special economic circumstances claimed by Dido Property Limited (Guernsey) rely on further growth in the film industry (including streaming services that are now cutting costs) and proximity to London. The recent approval of extensions to nearby Pinewood Studios and the conversion from temporary to permanent studio space at the Wycombe Air Park both offer skills & opportunities for local young people. Do we actually NEED another film studio?
  • Recruiters are currently struggling to fill job vacancies in our area. Film studio jobs would largely be for those travelling from London or the wider area and our local traffic infrastructure is not designed for this level of commuting. The plan for the studios requires a maximum of 40% car travel, which is unrealistic as the current average for similar studios is 80-90%.
  • The alternative site assessment (required to demonstrate the need to develop here) is very thin, centres around a “West London Cluster” and does not provide any detail on which sites were considered. It does not include any locations in the North of England, where the need for employment opportunities is greater. This is not compatible with the Government’s “Levelling Up” policy.
  • Local sewage infrastructure cannot cope with this development and is likely to lead to increased discharge into the River Thames.
  • The proposed site is a valuable wildlife-rich habitat, supporting multiple protected and endangered species.
  • It is detrimental to the people living in the area, destroying their quality of life by being surrounded and trapped by the industrial-scale development.
  • It ignores the rights of way (footpaths and cycle tracks) that people have been using for more than 20 years.

If you have any questions about the process, please don’t hesitate to contact us and we will help you where we can.