Buckingham Town Council (BTC) have taken the decision to spend £3,000 of the public's money on seeking legal advice regarding its opposition to the development of a care home in the town centre.
BTC argue that putting the proposed Grand Junction Care Home on the suggested site in Cornwalls Meadow contradicts the Buckingham Neighbourhood Development Plan (BNDP), which they say reserves the area for car parking and riverside walks.
The BNDP cost taxpayers approximately £80,000 and received a 91.4% approval by residents in a referendum in 2015, although the turnout was just 21.5%.
Aylesbury Vale District Council say that there is no explicit wording in the BNDP which rejects other uses of the land, and so therefore there is no conflict.
As a result, the planning application was given approval on 26 October, but BTC believe there is legal precedence to challenge AVDC's decision.
However, the appeal will not come cheaply, with an estimated cost of £30,000 attached to taking the dispute to the High Court.
Deputy Mayor and Chairman of the Planning Committee, Councillor Mark Cole said:
“...I propose that this council seeks a senior barrister's advice on whether we have a case to ask for a judicial review at the High Court.
“I would suggest that the cost – which as you have heard from our learned Town Clerk could be up to £3,000 – would be money well spent to protect our current neighbourhood plan, and an investment in those of the future.”
The town council will decide whether to instigate the judicial review, and thus risk the full £30,000, at its meeting on Monday 19 November after having received the legal guidance.
There is also concern that the site of the care home is on an area at risk of flooding but developers say that the plans mitigate this risk.