At the Extraordinary meeting of Buckingham Town Council held on Monday 4 February, Councillors discussed the proposed care home at West End Farm on the Brackley Road. The proposal is to build 72 self-contained flats with at least one resident requiring at least 1.5 hours care per week; the minimum age for residents would be 55. Care would be available 24 hours a day but not from live-in carers.
The new owners of the site, Brio Retirement Living, had submitted plans to vary the approved scheme to enable it to be built of modular units to be assembled elsewhere and brought in by truck. The proposed on-site amenities (for instance, a cinema) had also been reduced.
Councillors felt that their concerns on the amount of traffic likely to be generated by residents had not been addressed. Residents aged 55 may well have a job or other outside interests and commitments, and parking would also be needed by staff and visiting carers. The proposed access onto a fast road would be awkward, and there were only 72 parking spaces proposed for the 72 flats. Town councillors have always opposed the definition of the development as a care home as the flats are self-contained, with kitchen and bathroom, with a front door onto a stairwell with no internal connection to adjacent stairwells.
Town Councillors feel the proposal is for a retirement village with a nominal entry requirement for contract care, and consequently housing, which means that according to the Buckingham Neighbourhood Plan a requirement of 35% Affordable Housing should be insisted upon, even if this was satisfied by a payment towards such housing elsewhere.
Town Councillors therefore decided to continue to oppose the proposal.
Planning application number 18/04290/APP
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.
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
Town Council Seeks Legal Advice as to whether to launch a Judicial Review of AVDC’s decision to approve an application to build a Crown Care Home on land behind the Grand Junction Public House.
Buckingham Town Council held an Extraordinary Meeting last night (Thursday 9 November 2018) to decide whether to spend Council funds on seeking an expert legal opinion as to whether the Town Council should instigate a Judicial Review in the High Court of a recent planning decision by AVDC. The Town Council has six weeks from the date the decision was made – Friday 26 October – to decide whether to launch an appeal. Once the Council has obtained legal advice, it will decide whether to proceed at its meeting to be held on Monday 19 November 2018.
The Town Council is looking to take this action to protect the town’s Neighbourhood Plan, which was made in October 2015, at a cost of £80,000 and thousands of man-hours, and backed by 91.45% of those voting in the referendum.
Deputy Mayor and Chairman of the Planning Committee, Councillor Mark Cole said:
“What members are being asked to do tonight is to defend not only the current Buckingham Neighbourhood Development Plan, but also our future Neighbourhood Plans. We believe that errors in law have been made by AVDC Planning officers in their advice to the Strategic Development Management Committee to approve the application to build a Crown Care Home on land behind the Grand Junction Public House… Buckingham Town Council has strongly opposed this application from the start… This Council also maintains that this application contravenes National Planning Policy Framework policies regarding developments – and particularly those for vulnerable people – in floodplains, and AVDC’s interpretation of them… The cost – which… could be up to £3000 – would be money well spent to protect our current Neighbourhood Plan, and an investment in those of the future.”
Click here to read Buckingham Town Council’s response to the consultation on the draft Vale of Aylesbury Plan.