COMMUNITY spirit would be lost forever if former green belt land separating Bourne End and Wooburn is developed on, according to a Wycombe District councillor.

Slate Meadow, an area of greenery separating the two villages, has been mooted for possible development under the district council’s local plan.

The local plan is a document outlaying the council’s plans up to 2031; these plans include a possible development of up to 175 homes on Slate Meadow.

Bourne End Councillor Brian Pollock, said: “There are serious concerns for me if they were to develop on Slate Meadow the whole nature of the area would change.”

He added: “Bourne End has a very strong community feel, my fears are if we built we could lose that.

“People also feel that there is a good balance of open land and built on land, although there is a lack of green space.”

Slate Meadow was formerly green belt land, but was taken out of green belt in the late 1980s and has since been used as an area of special restraint, although residents say by splitting the two villages it has acted as green belt land.

An Area of Special Restraint was a site identified to meet longer term development needs but protected from development in the shorter term.

Chairman of the Bourne End Residents Association, Jim Penfold, said: “They took the site out of green belt land so it could become a potential development.

“We were told they took it out to preserve the site but it is obvious now they did it to reserve the site for development.”

He added: “If they are doing a review into green belt land they should review the possibility of putting Slate Meadow back into green belt.”

Cllr Pollock added: “It is a two way process you can review what to put into it and take out of it, the green belt review can go both ways.”

Penelope Tollitt, Head of Planning and Sustainability, said: “The consultation is still live and we obviously want to complete the consultation and consider all the comments we receive before deciding how to proceed.”

A meeting was also held this week discuss reaction to local plan.

Ms Tollitt, who chaired the meeting, added: “We know that the Slate Meadow site is a very sensitive issue and we also know that as a Council we have a big challenge to plan for future housing.”

Ms Tollitt added: “We were pleased with the way that the meeting went on Monday night and I hope local residents felt that they all had the opportunity to express their concerns about the site.”

Another meeting to discuss the issue will be held at Wye Valley School Monday, March 24.