Buckinghamshire Council adopts planning blueprint which overrides Buckingham Neighbourhood Plan

The Vale of Aylesbury Local Plan sets out plans for development across the whole Vale area and overrides all existing Neighbourhood Plans

Thursday, 16th September 2021, 1:34 pm

The controversial Vale of Aylesbury Local Plan (VALP) which overrides all existing local Neighbourhood Plans in the Vale, has been adopted by Buckinghamshire Council

Councillors voted to adopt the plan which covers the northern part of the new unitary council’s area, on Wednesday, September 15.

The VALP sets out a long-term planning blueprint and vision for the Vale of Aylesbury area up to 2033, dictating where housing should go, along with infrastructure and employment land.

Deputy leader of Bucks Council, Gareth Williams

The VALP allocates land for 30,134 new homes, which are mostly concentrated around Aylesbury with other sites at Buckingham, Winslow, Haddenham and next to Milton Keynes.

Work on the VALP started in 2014 and it went through three stages of public consultation before it went to an independent Inspector in 2018, whose final report was issued last week.

The chairman of Buckingham Town Council' s planning committee, Mark Cole, previously told the Advertiser the VALP "overrides the Buckingham Neighbourhood Plan with flimsy justification".

Under the Plan, Buckingham will be obliged to accept housing at two sites which are outside the development boundary set out in the Buckingham Neighbourhood Plan - at Moreton Road Phase III and off Osier Way.

But a site off Brackley Road, which was allocated for housing in the Buckingham Neighbourhood Plan, has been removed from the VALP, as it was dependent on the construction of a Buckingham Western Relief Road - which will now not happen.

Buckingham Town Council will consider the Plan's recommendations regarding Buckingham in full at its next meeting on October 4.

Winslow's Neighbourhood Plan steering group has welcomed the VALP.

Steering group chairman Colin Bishopp said: "This puts an end to the long uncertainty, inevitably extended by Covid, about the detail of the Plan and allows us to proceed with making our own Neighbourhood Plan, knowing the background against which we must work."

He said Winslow is affected very little by the amendments the Inspector has been considering recently.

Colin said: "We have known for some time that we must accommodate about 335 houses and flats on the roughly triangular site between Great Horwood Road and the railway line.

"Fortunately, Winslow Town Council has been able to negotiate some useful mitigating features with the promoters of the scheme – preserving as much as possible of the hedge along Great Horwood Road, limiting the access points, ensuring that there are adequate pedestrian and cycle paths within the site and that they link to the existing paths on Buckingham Road, and safety improvements to the junction of Great Horwood Road and Buckingham Road."

The other major change is the enlargement of the area allocated for sports facilities at Redfield. This will now be much larger than originally envisaged, providing additional space for walking, dog walking and cycling.

Colin said: "The Sports Hub, as it is to be known, is a Buckinghamshire Council project, but we are particularly pleased that Buckinghamshire Council has agreed that Winslow Town Council can install a skate park on the site, and we are hoping to find some additional space for further outdoor facilities for younger residents."

The new VALP also dictates some changes to the allocations on the former Winslow Centre site, with the detail yet to be determined, but the proposal to build housing on the rugby pitch remains.

Colin said: "This too is a Buckinghamshire Council project which I know disappoints many residents, but it is not possible for Winslow Town Council to change the proposal.

"A significant part of the Sports Hub project has to be completed before development of the rugby pitch can begin, and our hope is that a start on the Sports Hub will be made early next year – Buckinghamshire Council's plans are due to be published for consultation very soon."

Deputy leader of Bucks Council Gareth Williams said: “Now we have completed the Vale of Aylesbury Local Plan process, we can use the policies to give us more control and more local say about what gets built where. It gives us power to shape future development in the way we want and where we want it to be.”