An allotment site that a community group fought to save from development could be turned in homes for people over the age of 55, Wycombe District Council has revealed.

The Ryemead Forum hoped to turn Bassetsbury Lane Allotments in Wycombe Marsh into a community asset so it could eventually become a heritage and visitor centre, but Wycombe District Council (WDC) has other ideas for the site.

The allotments site was found to be contaminated and “unfit” for use as allotments after Vanadium, Cadmium and Benzo(a)pyrene were discovered in the soil and was formally shut down in 2013.

Now, more details have been revealed about what WDC wants to do with the space.

Ahead of a public consultation in January, it has been announced that the council – as landowner – wants to promote plans for single-storey homes which can be “manufactured off site” and offered to retired people who want to downsize.

The council plans to specifically target the over-55s with the new homes, but extensive and “costly” work will need to be done on the site to clean the soil and add a 60cm layer of clay on top.

New gas, electricity, water, sewage and drainage will also be need to be installed and the estimated cost of all these works could be up to £1 million.

The council says the homes will “provide residents with low maintenance/low energy homes within a community which is close to local shops and transport links” and would “enable local people to release equity and stay near their friends and families for their retirement.”

Site investigations at the allotments have revealed that the ground formation is “poor” and that it is not possible to build conventional homes there.

A statement from WDC said: “The proposals provide a practical solution, which would not only  help to meet our local chronic housing need, but also bring the site back into beneficial use, as allocated in the publicised version of the Wycombe Local Plan.”

The council plans to launch a two-week public consultation on the idea at the beginning of January, which will look in more detail at issues like traffic management and construction.

The plans will also look at ways to improve the old railway line access to create a new cycleway to the town centre and railway station.

As announced by the Bucks Free Press already, the council is planning to include an area for the Chiltern Rangers to be based in Funges Meadow, with the possibility of track access from Bassetsbury Lane.