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Study: Green Belt land may be 'only option' for jobs
DEVELOPING Green Belt land may be required to boost Wycombe’s economy and create enough jobs for incoming residents, a report states.
A report by consultants Peter Brett Associates said the Wycombe district lost 12,500 jobs and "performed very badly" compared to the rest of the region between 2001 and 2011.
The district’s office and industrial space is ‘mostly well occupied’ meaning new land is needed to create employment opportunities but there are currently few areas available for development.
Wycombe Air Park, Marlow and the M40 J3a area are mentioned as potential sites.
And with more land being freed up to meet housing requirements in the district, Green Belt land may be required to fill the void, the PBA study for Wycombe District Council states.
The presentation is now available to view on the council’s website. It states: "Almost any job growth in Wycombe requires new land...
"Even if we proceed with all three areas (the Air Park, Marlow and M40J3a) of new land, the market will remain tight.
"Perhaps greatest concern is that if land continues to be released for housing, the pressure on the employment stock will increase.
"[We] will need further land [and] the only option will be in the Green Belt or a much lower economic aspiration. Few jobs, more commuting?"
WDC said the report was commissioned as part of work that was being undertaken on a new Local Plan for the district, in order to outline housing, job and infrastructure plans until 2031.
Spokesman Sue Robinson said: "The initial study findings indicate that we need to consider options for new business sites which could deliver more local jobs into the future.
"There will be public consultation on those options early in 2014.
"Whether it is necessary to expand into the Green Belt is not a decision for now but would come much later in the process and could only be justified if the benefits outweigh any dis-benefits."
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