Public opinion divided on retail

editorial image

Buckingham residents flocked to have their say about future development in the town, at a six-hour public event at Buckingham Town Hall last Wednesday.

Residents had the chance to indicate, on a map of the town, where they felt future development should go, to feed into the Buckingham Neighbourhood Development Plan.

Town plan officer Sam Dix told the Advertiser: “It was fantastic. We had far more people than we expected.”

He thanked the Buckingham Society for helping to manage the information stands.

Mr Dix said more than 100 completed maps were received.

Many people expressed a preference for a number of smaller developments, rather than another big one along the lines of Lace Hill, near Tesco.

Mr Dix said: “Generally speaking, people were drawn to the south and west of the town as the most obvious location.”

And he said there had been some demand for self-build housing plots.

The general preference for industry was for new small industrial sites in new locations, especially to the south and west.

Almost everybody wanted to see some sort of upgrade to the Buckingham bypass, with ideas ranging from a full ring road to smaller extensions and loops round the south of the town.

One thing that really polarised opinion was retail outlets outside the bypass.

Mr Dix said: “Some people would like to see a retail park outside the town centre, while others thought it should be kept strictly to the town centre.”

A lot of people said they like the green space that winds through the town and would like to see it extended along the river. There was also demand for a larger country park on the eastern edge of the town.

Town councillors now have to balance popular opinion received with good environmental and technical advice from other sources.

The final options will be subject to a public referendum, to be held next year.