‘Strong vision for the future of town is urgently needed’

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Without a Neighbourhood Plan, the town is vulnerable, says chairman of The Buckingham Society.

Kathy Robins writes: The Buckingham Neighbourhood Development Plan is needed urgently to set the vision for the future of the town until 2031. But the plan is still not approved: it now has to go to consultation for a third time, this time because Aylesbury Vale District Council displayed the wrong map on its website and so potentially invalidated the consultation process. The previous delay which led to all this was caused by Radclive-cum-Chackmore Parish Council removing consent to part of the parish being included in the plan area. 
All this looks like adding another 12 weeks to the approval process at the least. Buckingham Town Council provided the correct paperwork throughout and has asked for an explanation from the chief executive and the leader of AVDC. But the damage is done and the town is vulnerable. 
None of this muddle can be laid at the door of Buckingham Town Council. The council has worked competently and imaginatively for the last three years in partnership with community groups and individuals, including the Buckingham Society to produce a plan which establishes an excellent vision for the town. But the incompetence of others is putting this at risk. The plan covers all aspects of the town’s future. A key feature is to identify future development and limit the number of new houses that will be built during the life of the plan.
Buckingham Town Council must now fund another round of consultation. That is an irritation in itself but the greatest cost is the delay: without an approved neighbourhood plan, building development faces few limits. Developers are more than eager to take advantage of this vulnerability and a number of planning applications are already in the pipeline. This situation is due to carelessness beyond the control of the Town Council. The Buckingham Society offers its full support to the Town Council in the urgent work to gain acceptance for the plan and more importantly, to limit the extent of development during this window of planning opportunity.