AVDC pushes ahead with ‘rejected’ homes in North Buckingham

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Councillors are up in arms after plans for a housing development, rubbished by government four months ago, have been given the go-ahead.

A proposal for 130 new homes north of the town, at the ‘Castlemilk’ site on Moreton Road as detailed in the draft Vale of Aylesbury Plan, have been slated by Buckingham Town Council, who feel the neighbourhood plan is being disregarded.

Councillors appealed against the exact same proposal earlier this year; a process which culminated in the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government stepping in to reject the plans personally.

The District Council maintain that the site, which will include government-mandated affordable housing, is suitable for development, hence why it has reappeared in the latest draft.

Buckingham Town Council’s planning committee met on October 9 to discuss the development, and will recommend to full council that further steps be taken to ensure their reservations are heard.

District Councillor for Buckingham South Robin Stutchbury said: “The town council spent months successfully appealing against the first decision to grant permission to this development.”

“At no point have the District Council come to the councillors to ask about proposing it again. £70,000 went into producing the town’s neighbourhood plan, passed into effect by a vote of 98%, only for it to be totally ignored in Aylesbury.”

In a letter to Armstrong Rigg, an independent town planning consultant, Sajid Javid personally rejected calls for development work to be made at the site, citing the “adverse impacts of the proposal, especially in terms of the conflict with the Buckingham Neighbourhood Development Plan, which would significantly and demonstrably outweigh the benefits”

The planning department at AVDC offered this explanation: “As set out by council officers at the AVDC Cabinet meeting on 10 October, it is not unusual for new local plans to allocate sites that have had planning permission refused on the basis of current plans. This is particularly the case when looking for further sites to meet longer-term housing needs in a new plan.”

“As long as the reasons for refusal do not the affect suitability of the site for development, such as would be the case for flood risk, a site may be a suitable option for future development.”

“In relation to the Castlemilk site, which was refused principally because it lay outside the settlement boundary, it does not have any significant issues that would prevent its development. It is therefore, a suitable site for allocation in the Vale of Aylesbury Local Plan to meet future housing needs.”

The council assure residents that all objections to the plans will be considered by an independent inspector, tasking with assessing the suitable of development sites.

To read what the Vale Plan says about the development site, head to page 117 at www.bit.ly/2wRC5rT or to read Sajid Javid’s letter to the inpectorate from earlier this year, head to www.bit.ly/2wQeYha