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Group continues attack on council over sports centre site
ANGRY residents have continued their attack on a council over the proposed development of the Wycombe Sports Centre site.
The frustrated Daws Hill Neighbourhood Forum says Wycombe District Council is acting undemocratically and simply “paying lip service” to residents over the plans for Handy Cross.
A claim rejected by WDC’s Cabinet member for Planning and Sustainability, Councillor Hugh McCarthy.
Members approved an outline planning application for a new sports centre last month – but the Forum, already pushing for a Judicial Review into WDC’s decision to omit the site from its Neighbourhood Area, says the council has not listened to its concerns.
Stewart Armstrong, chair of the DHNF, said: “It’s all very frustrating and feels very anti-democratic.
“We all want the best for the wider community and yet WDC seems to want to ignore everything we in the electorate, who live in the area and therefore have the real local knowledge, suggest.”
Mr Armstrong has complained about being given a small slot to make DHNF’s concerns to WDC about the impact the new sports centre - and the mooted housing development on the former RAF Daws Hill base - would have on the surrounding infrastructure and land.
He added: “The council was only paying lip service to what we were saying. It seemed like they were just ticking a box which said ‘Residents present and they commented’.”
DHNF member, Roy Carlisle, added: “When these developments are added together, residents will have plenty of time to reflect on how much influence they were given as they look at these massive developments while they sit in the traffic jams and pollution caused by them.
“The move on the Neighbourhood Area limits DHNF’s ability to influence development on those sites in contradiction of the much vaunted Localism Act.
“The same act supposed to give the residents the power to influence the development where they live.”
But Cllr McCarthy said all the pros and cons about the sports centre and coachway were weighed up before the decision was made.
Cllr McCarthy said: “The planning committee reached its decision on the sports centre site application after hearing all the arguments for and against.
“The issues - which are complex - were set out in a comprehensive report and this included reference to many wide ranging benefits and improved infrastructure associated with the proposals for a new district sports centre, coachway and business space.
“Six minutes was given for objectors to speak at the committee. This was longer than the normal three minutes for public speaking on planning applications due to the scale of the proposal.
“It was all conducted in accordance with the council’s regulations for such meetings and there was extensive discussion and debate by the committee before they reached a decision.”
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