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We are redeveloping our Parish Centre!

Here you will find the latest updates on our progress, as well as some FAQs and the opportunity to sign up to keep up to date with our news.

Thank you for your interest in this project!

Update - December 2023

Over the course of 2023, a second planning application was being reviewed and determined. It had been submitted to Buckinghamshire Council on 13th Dec 2022. Further ecology reports were required to meet requirements that had materialised after the submission was made. This included biodiversity reports, and further survey work on protected wildlife (such as bats, badgers and newts). The Project Team fully met these requirements, and when it came to the Planning Committee meeting on 17th October, there was a long debate about several aspects of the proposals. However, the only issue which was cited as a reason to defer the decision related to the Beechwoods SAC (Special Area of Conservation). Councillors requested that Local Authority planning officers provide a report to demonstrate that no harm would come to the Beechwoods SAC as a result of visitors to the Parish Centre site in Chesham Bois. This request was at odds with the officer’s advice which was that they saw no discernible harm arising.


Despite the officer’s professional opinion, the Councillor’s voted to defer and the date for reconvening to determine the decision was set for December 2024. However, the meeting was not able to proceed due to one of the Councillors being unable to attend. Therefore, the new date was set for 9th January 2024. St Leonard’s have a strong case for appeal should the application be refused on the grounds of the Beechwoods SAC issue, as Natural England and the previous planning appeal Inspector could see the only issue being net gain in residential, which was dealt with by removing the Keeper’s Cottage from the application. Please do continue to pray for the process which has been a long and demanding one. We do believe that the vision for this redevelopment, and the future provision for the church and community makes it worth the journey!

Update - December 2022

Since our last report at the start of 2022, we received the disappointing news on 29th April that the Planning Appeal was ‘dismissed’. Whilst this was unexpected, particularly given the Local Authority support that had been shown towards the development plans by Officers prior to the refusal at Committee in January 2021, the content of the report is well worth reading. It can be found here.

Our summary is that the Planning Inspector was fully supportive of the redevelopment proposals at every level. It was very encouraging to receive this kind of validation of the design. However, the only reason for dismissal was because “the scheme doesn’t preserve the integrity of the Chilterns Beechwood SAC”.  Just towards the end of the appeal period, Natural England issued new advice regarding significant recreational pressure upon Chilterns Beechwoods Special Area of Conservation (SAC). This meant that the Planning Inspector was unable to uphold the planning appeal from St Leonard’s, since there was no statutory mitigation strategy in place to cover off the risks presented. It resulted in all planning applications which have a net increase in residential units, (even 1 unit as is the case with our redevelopment) being put on hold until a mitigation approach is decided on. You can find out more about this issue here.

The PCC decided that it would review options and the favoured approach was to resubmit the redevelopment plans, removing ‘Keeper’s Cottage’ which was the additional staff home proposed. This then removes the conflict with the Chiltern Beechwoods SAC. However, to do this several reports and all the drawings needed to be updated. This included the ecology surveys which were deemed to be out-of-date. We remain committed to seeing a great quality new building achieve planning, and now hope that all barriers to this have been successfully removed to allow for a positive decision with the new Planning Application. We submitted the plans in November, and they are now on the planning portal so the public can view them. You can see them here. You can comment on the application now it is online, during the statutory consultation period. We would highlight that the scheme is unchanged since the previous application, except for the removal of the Keeper’s Cottage. That is why no further community consultation has taken place since the planning appeal decision in April.


Our thanks go to all the people who have encouraged and supported us in this ambitious venture. We continue to believe it will be a blessing for St Leonard’s church and for the community of Chesham Bois.

To read previous updates please click here.

We are grateful for the level of local interest in our project and are keeping a list of FAQs in response to the main themes and issues being raised.  These are being updated periodically as we receive further feedback. 

Please click here for a list of FAQs.

Key Features of the Proposed Development

The design includes the following:

  • High quality design respectful of the heritage and woodland - many have stated how beautiful the design is and how it reflects its setting

  • ​Main hall accommodating up to 275 people

  • Offices for St Leonard's Church and Chesham Bois Parish Council, including meeting rooms for varied uses

  • Self-contained Day Nursery and garden space, modernising and improving facilities for Maryland

  • Additional multi-function hall

  • Church-led cafe

  • Replacement Rectory (according to Diocesan requirements) and a staff home

  • Sufficient woodland-style parking on site for everyday use, accessed via Glebe Way

  • Prayer, reflection and outside spaces

  • Dynamic green roof and other environmental features


The redevelopment will use existing Church-owned land and the project has the support of the Diocese of Oxford.  The new Parish Centre will serve the ongoing and future needs of the Church and local community.

The 800 year old Church Building on High Bois Lane will continue to be used for services on Sundays and all it's other current varied uses.

Stay Connected

If you would like to receive periodic e-mail updates, bulletins and information about events please subscribe to our mailing list.


If you would like to contact us with questions or comments about our Parish Centre redevelopment project, please use the following dedicated email address:

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Bishop Steven has given us a clear vision in the Diocese of Oxford: ‘a vision to guide us to become more Christ like:  contemplative, compassionate and courageous as we serve our fragmented world.’  We believe that our Parish Centre Site Redevelopment project enables us to engage with both the diocesan and our parish vision.

As you can see from our mission & vision statements and the Diocesan strapline above we are called to be more Christ-like, doing the ministry of Jesus the way he modelled to us.  All that we do together is grounded in our identity in Christ and arises from His call to us in His Word and by His Spirit.  This community enhancing project is exciting, and whilst challenging enables us to fulfil the long-held vision to bless and serve our parish.  We hope the information on this page will help you see the intentions of this project, the facts about it and the opportunities it will give to the whole community.

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