Rail campaigner Nigel Phillips: 'Don't condemn Wycombe to car-only economy'

Nigel Phillips

Nigel Phillips

First published in News by

A CAMPAIGNER has urged councillors to block plans for a housing development on former railway land – saying the scheme could “condemn Wycombe to a car-only economy”.

Nigel Phillips believes proposals for 26 new homes in Wooburn Green would scupper any future revival of the Wycombe to Maidenhead rail link – as the planned development site lies around part of the old route.

The Wycombe Society member predicts a huge boost to the local economy if the line was restored.

Last month planning councillors tried to reject the Wycombe Lane scheme, but fears were raised that the reasons given for refusal would not stand up at appeal, which could leave the council facing a large legal bill if the developers challenged the decision (see related links).

The proposal will now go before Wycombe District Council's regulatory and appeals committee on Monday, where the agenda papers warn: "It is the view of your planning and legal advisers that the reason for refusal proposed by planning committee could not be robustly defended at an appeal...."

The agent for the developers Henry Homes Ltd says the plans would allow for a railway to run through the site, but Mr Phillips believes this would be impractical.

And he wrote to councillors this week: "Please don’t throw away this opportunity for future generations... More commuting will be required but the main roads are already at full capacity. 

"Wycombe’s economy is in the doldrums, and transport links are the key to inward investment... The economic benefit of creating a non-road connection to the Thames Valley cannot be emphasised enough."

He wants members to defer the decision and ask Bucks County Council to draw up detailed plans for the route – which he says would be necessary for the site to be protected.

Mr Phillips says there has been a policy shift in Whitehall recently, and the Government is “now in favour of this type of investment”.

He added: “Money from the Sustainable Transport fund is made available for light rail schemes, and is pouring into the northern cities, but not here.

“From our contacts with the Minister it’s clear that under localism the initiative has to come from Transport for Bucks [the county council’s transport department], but all they have done for High Wycombe is to install traffic lights.”

He says the council’s own long term plans contain “many warm words about sustainable transport and reducing car dependence”, and this is a prime opportunity.

Richard Wells, a spokesman for Bucks County Council, responded: “The Bourne End to High Wycombe disused rail alignment remains protected for walking and cycling uses.

“In the current planning climate, protecting a wider alignment for other uses, such as ultra light rail or heavy rail, without a realistic probability of delivery within five years, would be an indefensible position.”

 

Comments (9)

Please log in to enable comment sorting

8:39pm Thu 22 Nov 12

geoffW says...

He's right.
He's right. geoffW
  • Score: 0

9:08pm Thu 22 Nov 12

J B Blackett says...

He might be correct after the next fuel crisis. And the one after that
.
And the crises will happen. Energy usage is still escalating particularly fossil fuels. And a lot of the countries supplying fuels are not exactly stable and could turn off the tap at any time
.
But people don't wish to know that - and the politicians won't tell them either - even when it happens.
.
So keeping all the options open is a better option.
He might be correct after the next fuel crisis. And the one after that . And the crises will happen. Energy usage is still escalating particularly fossil fuels. And a lot of the countries supplying fuels are not exactly stable and could turn off the tap at any time . But people don't wish to know that - and the politicians won't tell them either - even when it happens. . So keeping all the options open is a better option. J B Blackett
  • Score: 0

9:27pm Thu 22 Nov 12

YorksDavey says...

Erm... as nice as it would be, any train comes a cropper at the Bourne End station Which is now a terminus and the Wycombe end which I can inform you has a development join up as I type on the part that linked it to the present railway. So forget the old route, and envisage a new one if you really want a railway between the two towns. Btw, the whinging about money for transport schemes going north is one I would scream shut up at. As a northerner, we have waited about 30 years for the funding to come through for our light rial scheme in Leeds, and still they wouldn't allow it and so they're getting a cheaper crappy trollybus instead. That's for a city with 10 times the population and alot more money being generated so you really think Wycombe is going to get money for what would be an underused rural route? Very unlikely.
Erm... as nice as it would be, any train comes a cropper at the Bourne End station Which is now a terminus and the Wycombe end which I can inform you has a development join up as I type on the part that linked it to the present railway. So forget the old route, and envisage a new one if you really want a railway between the two towns. Btw, the whinging about money for transport schemes going north is one I would scream shut up at. As a northerner, we have waited about 30 years for the funding to come through for our light rial scheme in Leeds, and still they wouldn't allow it and so they're getting a cheaper crappy trollybus instead. That's for a city with 10 times the population and alot more money being generated so you really think Wycombe is going to get money for what would be an underused rural route? Very unlikely. YorksDavey
  • Score: 0

7:11am Fri 23 Nov 12

williamjames says...

There has been much noise about reinstatement of the rail link between High Wycombe and Bourne End. I believe that, as the protagonists have not managed to persuade anyone to build the link, it is now time to accept that it will not happen.
I am sure that if there was a commercial justification for this route, not just a nostalgic one, Chiltern Railways would have jumped at it. They have a good record of route investment and are innovative with the connection at Bicester to give a route from High Wycombe to Oxford as but one example.
There has been much noise about reinstatement of the rail link between High Wycombe and Bourne End. I believe that, as the protagonists have not managed to persuade anyone to build the link, it is now time to accept that it will not happen. I am sure that if there was a commercial justification for this route, not just a nostalgic one, Chiltern Railways would have jumped at it. They have a good record of route investment and are innovative with the connection at Bicester to give a route from High Wycombe to Oxford as but one example. williamjames
  • Score: 0

10:40am Fri 23 Nov 12

M40 says...

I travel regularly throughout the South of England from Kent to Cornwall, most of those journeys are quicker and a lot cheaper from Bourne End or Maidenhead than travelling via London, I make daily trips that would not be possible from High Wycombe via London, this requires me to travel to either Bourne End or Maidenhead by car, parking there, taking up space that could be used by others.
The railway rebuilt would not only open up High Wycombe for others but open up the south of the country for the people of Wycombe and the employment opportunities available along the Thames Valley from Slough to Reading and beyond.
I travel regularly throughout the South of England from Kent to Cornwall, most of those journeys are quicker and a lot cheaper from Bourne End or Maidenhead than travelling via London, I make daily trips that would not be possible from High Wycombe via London, this requires me to travel to either Bourne End or Maidenhead by car, parking there, taking up space that could be used by others. The railway rebuilt would not only open up High Wycombe for others but open up the south of the country for the people of Wycombe and the employment opportunities available along the Thames Valley from Slough to Reading and beyond. M40
  • Score: 0

11:36am Fri 23 Nov 12

TheHorsesMouth says...

When Cross-rail is built, terminating at Maidenhead and travelling through London, wouldn't it be useful to have a train link from High Wycombe to Maidenhead?
...
Just a thought.
When Cross-rail is built, terminating at Maidenhead and travelling through London, wouldn't it be useful to have a train link from High Wycombe to Maidenhead? ... Just a thought. TheHorsesMouth
  • Score: 0

12:10pm Fri 23 Nov 12

Kania 2000 says...

Are but planners only use rule books. No thought for the future?
Are but planners only use rule books. No thought for the future? Kania 2000
  • Score: 0

1:31pm Fri 23 Nov 12

Windsorian says...

TheHorsesMouth wrote:
When Cross-rail is built, terminating at Maidenhead and travelling through London, wouldn't it be useful to have a train link from High Wycombe to Maidenhead?
...
Just a thought.
Crossrail is now unlikely to terminate at Maidenhead: the Reading station up-grade, GWML electrification and western rail access to Heathrow (WRAtH) makes it almost certain that Crossrail will be extended to Reading.

A 2tph WRAtH Crossrail service from Maidenhead via Bourne End to High Wycombe would open up an alternative London route via Heathrow; also would improve connectivity to the Chiltern line in the opposite direction.
[quote][p][bold]TheHorsesMouth[/bold] wrote: When Cross-rail is built, terminating at Maidenhead and travelling through London, wouldn't it be useful to have a train link from High Wycombe to Maidenhead? ... Just a thought.[/p][/quote]Crossrail is now unlikely to terminate at Maidenhead: the Reading station up-grade, GWML electrification and western rail access to Heathrow (WRAtH) makes it almost certain that Crossrail will be extended to Reading. A 2tph WRAtH Crossrail service from Maidenhead via Bourne End to High Wycombe would open up an alternative London route via Heathrow; also would improve connectivity to the Chiltern line in the opposite direction. Windsorian
  • Score: 0

8:06pm Fri 23 Nov 12

washondo says...

With all of the information, skill and expertise apparently available from the correspondents here, one would be tempted to question the relationship between bus lanes, more and more unnecessary traffic lights and "Wycombe in the doldrums" due to a hamstrung transport system.
Did I hear BCC?
With all of the information, skill and expertise apparently available from the correspondents here, one would be tempted to question the relationship between bus lanes, more and more unnecessary traffic lights and "Wycombe in the doldrums" due to a hamstrung transport system. Did I hear BCC? washondo
  • Score: 0

Comments are closed on this article.

Send us your news, pictures and videos

Most read stories

Local Info

Enter your postcode, town or place name

About cookies

We want you to enjoy your visit to our website. That's why we use cookies to enhance your experience. By staying on our website you agree to our use of cookies. Find out more about the cookies we use.

I agree