Listen to our planning needs, demands Buckingham

An accusation that Buckinghamshire Council is ignoring the wishes of towns and parishes regarding Section 106 agreements – the financial contributions which developers make to lessen the impact of new housing on a community – was made at Buckingham Town Council’s recent Planning Committee meeting.

The charge came after members were told that the town would not be consulted on what mitigations it wants from the new 420-dwelling estate off Osier Way, adding 1000 more residents to the 1000 or so in the adjacent St. Rumbold’s Fields estate. The Unitary Authority agreed with the developer that it should make payments towards transport, education, open spaces and sports and leisure, but there is nothing towards onsite community facilities, or health provisions for which the Town Council has been pushing. Playgrounds alone do not make a community, especially one separated from the town by the bypass and industrial estate. Councillors are further disappointed that the developer has refused to discuss the Town Council taking on the management of the green spaces and play areas, preferring to pass this to a management company who will charge residents an annual fee.

The Town & Country Planning Act 1990 created s106 agreements ‘between a developer and a local planning authority about measures that the developer must take to reduce their impact on the community.’ They must take into account the resulting increase in population and the effect it will have on schools, GP services, hospitals and other local infrastructure. The education contribution is destined for Maids Moreton and Buckingham Primary Schools, and The Buckingham School – the first two being the furthest possible distance for young children to walk.

“Despite requesting that we would be involved from the start, the Town Council has been presented with the Osier Way S106 agreement as a fait accompli,” says Planning Committee chairman Cllr Mark Cole JP. “When we questioned that, we were informed by a Buckinghamshire Council that ‘it is not usual practice for any consultation to be made, although there were discussions with regard to public open space management and sports & leisure projects, which contributed to discussions with the developers.’

When Buckinghamshire became a unitary authority in March 2020, we supported it because it promised greater consultation in planning matters, but the opposite has happened. We are not alone in this – other towns are voicing similar complaints.

More and more planning decisions are being taken by a committee chairman and an officer, despite our repeated requests to speak at committees, and there appears to be a marked reluctance by the local planning authority, which is focused on meeting housing targets, to insist that developers provide community hubs or contribute towards health facilities.

There will be nowhere for at least 2,000 residents of Osier Way and the adjacent St Rumbold’s Way estate – which are on the south-western edge of the town – to meet under cover, and doctors’ practices and schools are already fully-subscribed.”

“Enough is enough,” adds Cllr Cole. “We are calling on Buckinghamshire Council and its six local ward councillors – five of whom are on the North Bucks Area Planning Committee – to start listening. Buckingham knows what its local needs are, but currently we are being ignored.

The result will be dormitory estates with residents isolated from the town and each other, with not even somewhere to meet and chat over a cup of tea.”

Success! Post box for St Rumbold’s Fields in Buckingham

After an appeal by Buckingham Town Council and numerous calls by residents of the new St. Rumbold’s Fields estate in Buckingham, Royal Mail has agreed to install a post box close to Kings Sutton Square in St Rumbold’s Fields, easily accessible to all 398 homes on the estate.

Initially, Royal Mail declined the Town Council’s request as they said there were existing post-boxes within a half mile of the location suggested. However, to access these required crossing a 50mph limit road, twice, as there is no footpath from the new estate to the Bath Lane post box. There’s also no street lighting, making the journey difficult in winter.

Cllr. Mark Cole JP, Chairman of the Planning Committee, was delighted to receive a letter from Royal Mail saying that a post box would now be installed near Kings Sutton Square in the next 12 – 16 weeks. The letter arrived just a few days after the Town Council highlighted the issue, with support from the local newspaper, the Buckingham Advertiser, BBC 3 Counties Radio and Greatest Hits Radio.

Cllr Mark Cole JP, said: “Common sense has prevailed, and Royal Mail has made a u-turn over its original decision not to give St Rumbold’s Fields residents a postal collection point on the estate, even though it delivers to every house. My thanks to the residents who have fought for this, and to the media for their support in our short but successful campaign. And of course, thanks to Royal Mail for seeing reason, and to our friendly local postmen and postwomen.”

Cllr. Mark Cole holds letters and smiles in Kings Sutton Square.

Planning Committee: 24th May 2021

The Planning Committee of Buckingham Town Council met on Monday 24th May. The full agenda is available in our archive.

The following decisions were made:

  • Cllr. Mark Cole JP was elected as Chair and Cllr. Anthony Ralph as Vice-Chair.
  • Cllr. Sue Hetherington was chosen to represent Buckingham Town Council on the North Bucks Parishes Planning Consortium East-West Rail Group
  • Of the planning applications discussed, 5 were recorded as no objections (one with the proviso to the satisfaction of the Heritage Officer) and 1 application was opposed. Of the tree applications discussed 6 were recorded as no objections and 1 opposed. Please note: planning applications are not decided by Buckingham Town Council, its objections or approval are given as a consultee to the planning authority: Buckinghamshire Council.
  • Briefing notes will continue to be provided for the agenda by the Planning Officer.
  • Buckinghamshire Council’s tree officer is to be invited to attend a meeting with Buckingham Town Council’s Planning Committee, Environment Committee, Tree Wardens and the Buckingham Society.
  • The next meeting of the Planning Committee will take place on Tuesday 8th June on Zoom.

A live stream of the meeting is available on YouTube. Full minutes of the meeting will be available via our 2021 archive in due course.

Flooding: could you be a flood volunteer?

On 23rd and 24th December 2020, at the end of a difficult year for many, the River Great Ouse burst its banks amid extremely heavy rainfall, and serious flooding hit Buckingham.

Many local residents immediately jumped to the aid of their neighbours. From turning up with buckets or supplying water pumps to help clear water to opening their homes to those in need, many people did what they could to help. Buckingham Free Meals, led by 14-year-old Sulayman, coordinated free hot food and drinks and ongoing food parcels. The Bard of Buckingham, Dean Jones, launched a fundraiser to support those flooded with rebuilding their lives. The more than £17,000 raised will be held and distributed by the Town Council based on decisions made by an independent panel.

Staff from Buckingham Town Council joined those from Buckinghamshire Council and Transport for Buckinghamshire to help close roads, deliver sandbags and clear up the mess. It took over a week to sanitise and reopen play areas and the public toilets, as well as clearing large amounts of debris from across the parks. The Council’s Shopmobility unit was flooded, and some equipment damaged.

The Council passed on a flood alert from the Environment Agency in the morning of 22nd December. Unfortunately, the EA’s flood gauge does not appear to have been working correctly, and no Flood Warning was issued.

The Town Council are reviewing the Community Flood Action Plan. Any suggestions for changes would be gratefully received. The Council are also looking to sign up Flood Volunteers to help with future floods and other emergencies. Residents from homes NOT at risk of flooding are ideal for this role, as those directly affected are less able to immediately help others. If you are interested in volunteering please email admin@buckingham-tc.gov.uk

The Town Council now has a direct arrangement with the Bucks and Oxon Response Group (BORG) who will again be prepared to use their 4×4 vehicles to help with any future events.

Council’s response to Vale of Aylesbury Local Plan modifications

Buckingham Town Council submitted the following response to Aylesbury Vale’s District Council’s consultation on the proposed main modifications to the proposed Vale of Aylesbury Local Plan.

The key points made by the Council are:

  • Removal of BUC051 – which is reserve site M in BNDP – the new modelling of traffic congestion is highly selective and does not consider whether similar unacceptable congestion would be created by other allocated sites that remain. This does not justify the removal of this site alone from VALP;
  • Western Relief Road which is part of the Buckingham Transport Strategy [BTS] has not been included in VALP, despite BTS remaining part of the evidence base for VALP.
  • Affordable Homes percentage may be retained in existing BNDP but not any future NDPs, even if there was sufficient evidence to support. Suggestion that future NDPs be included in this policy with the proviso that such a figure would need to be supported with robust evidence.
  • Request that additional evidence on (3), which was not heard at Public Hearings in July 2018, now be included in support.

Lace Hill Sports Pitches and Dog Walking

Keep Dogs Off the Pitches poster

We welcome everyone at Lace Hill Sports Pitches, this is a communal space that we want all residents to be able to enjoy. Buckingham's parks are one of its best assets and the Council works hard to maintain them and to create green spaces that work for everyone, including those exercising and dog walkers.

At the moment the Council is reviewing how best to ensure that everyone can enjoy the Lace Hill playing fields, and below are some of the most common questions that have been raised.

Audio version of the Summer 2019 newsletter.

The audio version of the summer 2019 Buckingham Town Matters newsletter is now online. If you would like any more information about anything you have heard or read about in the newsletter, please get in touch with the Town Council Office.

To find a PDF version of this newsletter, and previous editions of the Buckingham Town Matters newsletters since 2010, visit our publications page.

Buckingham Town Council Supports New Development

 
At an Extraordinary Meeting of Buckingham Town Council on Monday 4th February, called because of time restraints on the responses, Councillors considered two proposals for new developments in the town: an outline plan for 420 houses on land south of Osier Way behind Gawcott Fields, and amended plans for the Tingewick Triangle land at the junction of Tingewick Road and the bypass.  The difference between the approaches of the two developers gave a clear example of the best way to develop new housing plans for the town.
Osier Way
The development at Osier Way was opposed by Councillors; the site was not marked for housing in the Buckingham Neighbourhood Plan and fell outside the settlement boundary, separated from the town by the industrial areas and the bypass, and had no community facilities beyond open space and play areas. Councillors are concerned that this proposal would result in a dormitory estate which would be isolated from town life. In addition, the proposal assumed that residents would work locally and walk or cycle to work or school.  However in reality there is little likelihood of taking small children to school in any other way than by car, making the parent-car problems at the primary schools even worse than they are now. Shopping trips to Tesco, Lidl and the town centre would also add to the traffic in and out of the site via Osier Way and the bypass.
Councillors criticised the assumption that 25% Affordable Housing was acceptable, when the currently valid Plan – Buckingham Neighbourhood Plan – requires 35% (a difference of over 40 houses).  It was felt that the figure in force when the plans were submitted should be used, not the proposed figure in the Vale of Aylesbury Local Plan which has not yet been accepted by the Examining Officer.
Tingewick Triangle

Plan of houses in the Tingewick triangle area of Buckingham

Plan of houses in the Tingewick triangle area of Buckingham. Large green area is site of St Rumbolds Well and Roman archaeological finds.


In a huge contrast, Councillors welcomed the recent changes made to the detailed plans for Tingewick site in consultation with Design South East; this was a site designated for housing in the Neighbourhood Plan, and the developers had met and consulted with the Town Council at all stages, gradually refining the outline plan to suit Buckingham styles and other consultees’ requirements. Councillors therefore agreed no objections to the revisions, noting that not all consultees had responded yet. They also stipulated that all houses had to have telecoms connections before occupation.
Buckingham Town Council does not make final decisions on planning applications; this is the responsibility of Aylesbury Vale District Council.  However the Town Council are a statutory consultee on all planning applications, and make representations to AVDC where the Town Council opposes an application.
 
Osier Way – application 19/00148/AOP
Tingewick Triangle – 17/04668/ADP