FORMER green belt land that has been suggested as a possible site for future housing was last deemed unsuitable for development in 1990 – by the very council now exploring the potential to build new homes there.

Development of Slate Meadow, which separates Bourne End and Wooburn Green, was rejected by Wycombe District Council 24 years ago because of a risk of flooding and fears over traffic congestion.

In the original planning rejection the council’s chief planning and development officer, Christopher Swanwick, cited the flooding concerns as a big factor.

He said: “Part of the site falls within an area which is likely to flood and therefore where new development is to be strictly controlled.

“In the opinion of the Local planning Authority the proposal as submitted would therefore be likely to impede the flow of flood water (and) restrict the capacity of the flood plain.

“Cores End Road and its junction with Brookbank/ Hawks Hill are inadequate to deal with the traffic likely to be generated by the proposed development with safety and convenience.”

However, in the opinion of the Save Slate Meadow campaign group nothing has changed and it has now called for WDC to reconsider having the area on its reserve list.

One of the group’s founders, Nicola Nicholson, said: “The flood risk is probably greater now than before because of the freaky weather we have been getting, which is expected to be more frequent.

“Obviously traffic congestion would have also increased since then. These two reasons for rejection are more important now than they were before.”

WDC spokesman, Catherine Spalton, said: “We appreciate that traffic management and the potential impact of building in a flood risk area are two important issues that require detailed studies and very careful consideration.

She added: “As part of the work around the New Local Plan, we are investigating flood risk issues and getting the most up to date information from both the Environment Agency and Buckinghamshire County Council.

“With specific reference to potential development at Slate Meadow, we have put forward a number of proposed options to mitigate any potential traffic impacts.”

Ms Spalton added: “We know that in coming years, some places in the district will change as a result of development, which is why it’s so important that we work with local people to strike the right balance and achieve sustainable change.

“As this balance remains a big challenge, we have been encouraged that local people are actively taking part in the conversation about future development in the district.