Proposal to build 550 homes in Buckingham met with concerns

The proposed site of development, in the south of the town
The proposed site of development, in the south of the town

Plans for 550 homes off of Osier Way were revealed this week, despite the Vale Plan only calling for "around 420 dwellings" to be built there.

Buckingham town council received a presentation from Wates Development at a full council meeting on November 20, where the group outlined their new proposals.

They expressed a belief that this site offered a suitable alternative to other contested locations, hence the rise in the developments proposed size.

Alison Walker, senior land and planning manager at Wates, told councillors: "We know there's concerns locally about the Bellway scheme, and we know the District Council have said, if you don't have the Bellway scheme find an alternative one."

"We think that this site has got the capacity to take those extra 130 units, and we've got the evidence to justify that 550 is acceptable and can be dealt with quite comfortably on this site."

The Vale Plan draft states that proposals for the 26 hectare site considers the “provision of around 420 dwellings at a density that takes account of the adjacent settlement character and identity.”

The majority of councillors voiced their concerns, agreeing that the move would represent unwanted development for Buckingham.

Cllr Mark Cole added: "I'm disappointed you didn't mention the Buckingham Neighbourhood Plan in your presentation The draft plan is one that carries absolutely no weight and it may not be approved until this time next year.

"You need to consider the Buckingham Neighbourhood Plan as it carries maximum weight at this moment in time."

Cllr Paul Hirons said: "This is really just a dormitory settlement, there's nothing there really except houses, houses, houses that will go onto the bypass, going to Milton Keynes and Oxford, creating more and more traffic.

"You also get quite a strong smell of spice there from the spice factory. You've said this would be a high quality development, but high quality developments don't smell of cooking." Wates described the impact of the factory as minimal.

Cllr Robin Stutchbury said: "There are problems with education here. It worries me greatly, because our next question will be, if and when this gets built, we'll be asking where will these children go to school and how will they get there safely."

Wates added that they do empathise with the town council's position: having produced a neighbourhood plan before a local plan was drafted. Representatives described the situation as unfortunate. They said: "It is the pre-submission plan but it is the effectively the strategy that the district council considers the most appropriate. "

Cllr Jon Harvey replied: "We don't doubt that, but we don't agree with the district council."

Mark Dolling, who lives near to the proposed site and attended the meeting to address resident concerns, said: ‘I and many other residents of Gawcott Fields are fundamentally opposed to the development of these agricultural fields. We feel quite strongly, despite assertions from Wates to the contrary, that this is not a sustainable development. If it goes ahead I believe it will destroy the character of the area and would be hugely detrimental to both Buckingham town and Gawcott village.

“Indeed, if this development proceeds, the town and village will essentially be linked together as one single area, destroying hundreds of years of local history and identity. These proposals also seem to completely ignore the Buckingham Neighbourhood Development Plan and sit outside of the settlement boundary.

“Whilst I appreciate the requirement to deliver much needed new homes in Aylesbury Vale this is an exceptionally poor choice of site in my view – the traffic problems, road safety issues and pressure on local services created by potentially 500+ new homes would be horrendous and I’d hope, with this all in mind, that Buckingham Town Council oppose this development in the strongest possible terms”

The Vale of Aylesbury plan is out for consultation. More information can be found at