At the meeting of the Buckingham Town Council Planning Committee held on Monday 17th October 2022, Members considered their response to the consultation currently being conducted by Buckinghamshire Council for this section of the draft Local Plan for Buckinghamshire.
The consultation document confirms that the Local Plan will require a minimum of 25% of housing developments of 11 or more dwellings to be affordable housing (80% of these for rent and 20% shared ownership). However, where a Neighbourhood Plan has a larger percentage, the Neighbourhood Plan will be honoured.
This is excellent news for Buckingham, as Buckingham’s Neighbourhood Plan states that 35% affordable housing is required for developments within the plan boundary, and Members were reassured to find that this will continue to be the case.
Councillor Mark Cole JP, chairman of the Planning Committee said “our neighbourhood plan foresaw the need to provide more affordable housing; there are far too many local people on the housing waiting list in North Bucks. Buckinghamshire Council itself acknowledges on its Home Choice website that ‘applicants can expect to wait several years for accommodation, especially larger families.’ “We have fiercely defended our 35% affordable percentage since the BNP was made, having constantly questioned why the VALP figure is so much lower, so it is gratifying that the draft countywide Local Plan will set in stone our 35%.”
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.
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.
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.
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