What is the Iver Action Group?
The Iver Action Group was convened by Joy Morrissey MP in July 2021. The Group meets every six weeks to stand up for the local issues that matter in Iver Heath, Iver and Richings Park.
Who is in the Iver Action Group?
Meetings are chaired by Joy Morrissey MP and attended by groups who are able to best represent and advocate for the local community. Members include local Councillors Wendy Matthews, Luisa Sullivan and Paul Griffin, as well as members of the Iver Parish Council. The Residents Associations for Iver Heath, Iver Village and Richings Park are also active members.
The Iver Action Group’s first meeting
The Iver Action Group’s first meeting took place on Saturday 16th July 2021 in Iver Village Hall. The meeting was a huge success and many plans of action were put in place thanks to the enthusiastic and collaborative approach taken by all parties to resolve a number of extremely important issues.
Key Issues for the IAG
The need to protect and enhance the valued wild spaces, waterways, ancient woodlands, marshlands and meadows in the Ivers was discussed. Protecting biodiversity in the area is crucial as the existence of these green spaces promotes good air quality, low carbon emissions and a better quality of life. Joy Morrissey MP had already raised the issue of local green spaces being given to developers in a Westminster Hall Debate on 13th July 2021, where she fought for the protection of the lungs of London.
Pinewood Studios has proposed a £450m expansion to its current site in the Colne Valley Regional Park, close to Iver Heath. The development is set to include the ‘Pinewood Studios Experience’ which is a 350,000 sq ft film-inspired attraction. This is something that attendees felt very strongly against due to the environmental impact of such a development, for which there is a strong case given the very little Green Belt land left as open green space in the Ivers. Joy Morrissey MP had already written to Pinewood to make clear the objections of the residents and emphasised that they need to look at alternative sites.
Going forward, the Group decided that it will communicate collectively and only collectively with Pinewood. It devised a strategic approach which is multifaceted, involving objecting to the application, submitting mitigation and trying to scale back the development. The ideal outcome would be for the Colne Valley Regional Park to be made an area of outstanding natural beauty so that it will be more difficult for the local authority to grant permission for development.
Moreover, the Group was reassured that Joy Morrissey MP has requested a meeting with the Minister of Housing, Communities and Local Government on this matter. She also committed to writing to the planning officers asking for documentation outlining the Section 106 legal agreements, detailing what planning obligations will be enforced to mitigate the environmental impacts of the development.
Joy Morrissey MP has formally and publicly objected to the development and asked that residents of the Ivers do the same. Objections to the Pinewood proposal can be made here.
Motorway Service Area
Another development has been proposed in the area which the Group voiced its objections to. Welcome Break has submitted a planning application for an M25 motorway service area in the Colne Valley on the border of Iver Heath. The site is set to include a number of facilities including a hotel, drive-thru coffee and food, a large central plaza and more than 1,300 parking spaces.
Similar to the Pinewood development, the service area would destroy a Swathe of Green Belt land in an area where green spaces are already under very significant pressure. The Group emphasised that this service area would bring with it local traffic congestion, would erode green space and would increase air and noise pollution, making it incompatible with a zero emissions world. It was noted that a previous application made by Welcome Break went to a full public enquiry and was refused so the Group is hopeful that this application will be refused again. Highways England does have a standing objection which has endured since the previous application and the Group is hopeful that this will be successful.
Fears were expressed that pockets of the Ivers will be sold off quietly and that pressures from developers will only increase. However, Joy Morrissey MP emphasised a need to stand up against these predatory developments and that the group will collectively lobby for the Ivers.
Joy Morrissey MP has formally objected to the motorway services proposal and is encouraging residents to object too. Objections to Welcome Break’s proposal can be made here.
Worries about traffic were raised as Buckinghamshire County Council’s Transport Strategy has been focused on building relief roads to reduce the impact of traffic on Iver Village, as opposed to the introduction of traffic calming measures. The Group collaborates to support traffic restrictions through the use of the developing Neighbourhood Plan.
Attendees raised problems with the diminishing availability of public transport, specifically bus routes, in the Ivers. The loss of the route 582 service was the most concerning issue to local residents as it has left the people of the Ivers feeling cut off and underserved.
Joy Morrissey MP has written to the Department for Transport asking for a review of bus routes in the Ivers, with specific reference to revisiting route 582.
Iver Medical Centre
The Group is concerned at reports of problems with the practice of Iver Medical Centre, namely a lack of accessibility and issues with the Covid-19 vaccination programme. The consensus was that the Centre requires either help or a replacement and that a full investigation and audit of the practice should take place. Members agreed that writing to the Buckinghamshire Clinical Commissioning Group about this should be the next step.