THE west of the Wycombe District should bear the brunt of some development as the east “has reached saturation point”, a campaign group has said.
Stokenchurch, with its access to the M40, and Saunderton, which has a train station, are two areas that should “share the load”.
The Pimms Action Group said “too much focus” has been put on building homes and employment areas in High Wycombe. It urged Wycombe District Council to look west and preserve sites such as Gomm Valley.
The group calculated there are 7887 people per square mile in the Wycombe town area compared to 726 residents per square mile in the wider district.
In response to WDC’s public consultation on the proposed Local Plan – which will outline where homes and economic sites will be built up to 2031 – the group said: “This demonstrates too much focus is put on the development of the eastern side of Wycombe, [it has reached] saturation point.
“Now is the time and opportunity to develop the western areas. Saunderton, with the benefit of a station, could be one area to contribute to the housing requirements.
“Stokenchurch could benefit from substantial investment creating houses and commercial development.
"The result would be an uplift to the declining shops available to the existing population and prospects of local job creation.
“The proximity to the M40 is a bonus to prospective commercial investment.”
Focusing on the patch it is trying to save, the Pimms Action Group said WDC recognised the Gomm Valley’s importance when it tried to have it registered as Green Belt land.
It said the roads around the area are already congested – which was one of the factors in the scrapping of a previous plan to develop the area in 2001.
Building houses now would only encourage future development, leading to the “gradual erosion of the valley”.
The group added: “The valley has existed for hundreds of years. It is unique because of its variety of content; there is no other like it in Bucks. Why destroy and demolish this valuable habitat, [which would be] lost forever?
“The Gomm Valley should be preserved and considered for development only when all other areas have been developed.”
Wycombe District Council may have to build between 500 and 700 new homes every year between now and 2031 to keep up with growth. Up to 400 dwellings are currently built every 12 months.
A review of the green belt will be carried out by the council, which previously said it "can’t see an answer" that doesn’t involve the use of some green belt land.
Saunderton and Stokenchurch are both in the Chilterns Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, which is designated by the government.
WDC said it would need "an extremely good reason" to develop AONB land but both villages have been identified as potential growth options in its Local Plan public consultation book.
The authority's public consultation on the Local Plan closes on Friday.
To have your say visit www.wycombe.gov.uk/newlocalplan or email your views to firstname.lastname@example.org.