Residents unite ahead of crunch meetings over 'reserve' housing sites

Residents unite ahead of crunch meetings over 'reserve' housing sites

Gomm Valley campaigners are just one group looking to save land from development

Residents unite ahead of crunch meetings over 'reserve' housing sites

Residents unite ahead of crunch meetings over 'reserve' housing sites

First published in News Bucks Free Press: Photograph of the Author by , Reporter

CONCERN is growing in neighbourhoods across the district ahead of a crunch council meeting over the possibility of building hundreds of houses on rural ‘reserve sites’.

A public forum next Thursday is the first of two that will outline the "implications" for large swathes of green land, including Gomm Valley, Slate Meadow and Abbey Barn.

Early plans were revealed in February for Wycombe District Council’s Local Plan to meet building demand over the next 15-plus years, including the possibility of releasing several ‘reserve sites’ for development.

Residents reacted angrily to the plans, with thousands signing petitions to save open spaces at Slate Meadow near Bourne End and Gomm Valley to the east of High Wycombe.

Though the exact content of the briefings is not yet known, WDC says changes in planning decisions nationally has led to a "change of approach" which will have "local implications".

Gomm Valley resident Ian Morton is spearheading a campaign to protect the area from developers, claiming the council want to push through housing on the important ecological site.

He said: "Feelings are running very high in this area because of the underhand way in which Wycombe District Council is pushing through with its agenda to hand over huge parts of Gomm Valley to developers.

"Residents are not going to stand by and see the destruction of an area that should be protected."

Mr Morton has so far gathered around 200 signatures from residents living alongside the lush area of fields and woodland alongside Wycombe District Councillor Cllr Paula Lee.

While Gomm Valley is not in the green belt, The pair say WDC’s own ecology survey in 2009 identified the valley as having "significant biodiversity resources with a number of Habitats of Principal Importance."

The potential for hundreds of new homes on a green belt site at Abbey Barn near Flackwell Heath has also raised fresh fears over road capacity.

Residents’ unsuccessful appeal against the nearby Daws Hill development argued that the road linking the two is already overcrowded.

Keny Tyson, formally of a residents' group that went to court to fight the 400-home plan, says an Abbey Barn housing development would add to the traffic woes along Abbey Barn Road and Daws Hill.

He said: "It cannot deal with the current levels of traffic, and we have been saying that for years now and we have said it and meetings and in court.

"Any new plans can only be tolerated if more infrastructure is built in advance. With the Local Plan I consider they are paying only lip service to the infrastructure upgrades and carrying on regardless.

"Roads are dealt with by county and the district council has little influence on what they do. The sooner we have a unitary authority the better, then there will be no hiding place."

A concerted ‘Save Slate Meadow’ campaign received the backing of MP Dominic Grieve, who called the area a "strategic gap between Bourne End and the Wooburns".

And while arguments rage over an outline plan to build a new M40 Junction 3A (see p.5), WDC is hoping to set the record straight at a separate dedicated meeting on August 20.

The council began launched the Local Plan consultation to address growing need for housing and jobs, with between 500 and 700 new homes every 12 months needed to keep up with demand.

But 72 per cent of residents interviewed during the consultation said it was more important to protect the countryside and wildlife than build new housing.

Nevertheless, WDC will hold two identical meetings - on August 14 and 28 at Bucks New University - to talk about the specific reserve sites for housing.

Council spokesman Sue Robinson said: "Over the last 6-12 months there has been a change in approach nationally to dealing with housing delivery.

"This has local implications, in particular for the ‘reserve sites’: Abbey Barn North, Abbey Barn South, Gomm Valley & Ashwells, Slate Meadow and Terriers Farm.

"To discuss the best way we can respond to this new approach we are holding two public workshop meetings.

"These workshop meetings will focus specifically on the implications for these sites and will not be dealing with wider Local Plan issues."

To attend one of these meetings, register by contacting Lynn Bartley on 01494 421102 or Simon Barlow on 01494 421158 or by email newlocalplan@wycombe.gov.uk.

Comments (19)

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8:15am Sat 9 Aug 14

Bodger1966 says...

Just like the junction 3 campaign this is just Lib Dem agent Yog whipping people up into a frenzy ahead of next year's local council elections. WDC are going to great lengths to engage with the public and there are plenty of good residents already organising their own campaigns so it's a shame to see these political opportunists exploiting people's fears.
Just like the junction 3 campaign this is just Lib Dem agent Yog whipping people up into a frenzy ahead of next year's local council elections. WDC are going to great lengths to engage with the public and there are plenty of good residents already organising their own campaigns so it's a shame to see these political opportunists exploiting people's fears. Bodger1966
  • Score: -36

8:32am Sat 9 Aug 14

faircuppa says...

Do those poor residents know who they are mixing with? Perhaps they should be told? Sooner rather than later. Ploy to get Ms Lee re- elected.
Do those poor residents know who they are mixing with? Perhaps they should be told? Sooner rather than later. Ploy to get Ms Lee re- elected. faircuppa
  • Score: -26

8:45am Sat 9 Aug 14

Bodger1966 says...

You would have thought they would have been able to get Clegg to intervene seeing as they are in government. WDC are just trying to meet the demands of central government.
You would have thought they would have been able to get Clegg to intervene seeing as they are in government. WDC are just trying to meet the demands of central government. Bodger1966
  • Score: -20

8:53am Sat 9 Aug 14

faircuppa says...

Bodger1966 wrote:
You would have thought they would have been able to get Clegg to intervene seeing as they are in government. WDC are just trying to meet the demands of central government.
Yes I agree Bodge, they need to sign up their Leader Clegge to Garden Cities or villages. Trouble is can't believe what he says. Remember Tuition fees? Bet those residents were hit. Now Clegge trying to foul up Local Plan and rearguard action needed!
[quote][p][bold]Bodger1966[/bold] wrote: You would have thought they would have been able to get Clegg to intervene seeing as they are in government. WDC are just trying to meet the demands of central government.[/p][/quote]Yes I agree Bodge, they need to sign up their Leader Clegge to Garden Cities or villages. Trouble is can't believe what he says. Remember Tuition fees? Bet those residents were hit. Now Clegge trying to foul up Local Plan and rearguard action needed! faircuppa
  • Score: -25

9:03am Sat 9 Aug 14

AgentMorty says...

The problems of living in a famous lane :-)
The problems of living in a famous lane :-) AgentMorty
  • Score: 0

10:04am Sat 9 Aug 14

faircuppa says...

Now to get back to politics. What is important is that solidarity is shown to the 4000 on the WDC waiting list. As well as pointing out unsuitability of certain sites. A concrete jungle is of no help to anyone so revisiting possible housing options is essential. None of this is helped by Aylesbury reducing their quota as the Bucks Councils are bound together through the way the housing list now operates.
Now to get back to politics. What is important is that solidarity is shown to the 4000 on the WDC waiting list. As well as pointing out unsuitability of certain sites. A concrete jungle is of no help to anyone so revisiting possible housing options is essential. None of this is helped by Aylesbury reducing their quota as the Bucks Councils are bound together through the way the housing list now operates. faircuppa
  • Score: -13

1:39pm Sat 9 Aug 14

vannin says...

I am one of the campaigners. It would have been appreciated if the above article had been written in good English. It is chock full of grammatical errors, and reminiscent of something a child would write though I may be doing an injustice to children. Does the BFP not check what goes on the page?
I am one of the campaigners. It would have been appreciated if the above article had been written in good English. It is chock full of grammatical errors, and reminiscent of something a child would write though I may be doing an injustice to children. Does the BFP not check what goes on the page? vannin
  • Score: 13

4:02pm Sat 9 Aug 14

faircuppa says...

The editors should check. Perhaps they don't at week ends.
The editors should check. Perhaps they don't at week ends. faircuppa
  • Score: -11

6:48pm Sat 9 Aug 14

Welwyn Dowd says...

Just like the Stadium proposals a couple of years ago. All these councillors deciding in advance what they think about a proposal will only end up excluding them from any decision making.
Just like the Stadium proposals a couple of years ago. All these councillors deciding in advance what they think about a proposal will only end up excluding them from any decision making. Welwyn Dowd
  • Score: -10

7:42pm Sat 9 Aug 14

Helen J says...

Welwyn Dowd wrote:
Just like the Stadium proposals a couple of years ago. All these councillors deciding in advance what they think about a proposal will only end up excluding them from any decision making.
Yes, surely there is a need for Councillors to be a little more strategic in their management of what will undoubtedly be a long haul process.
[quote][p][bold]Welwyn Dowd[/bold] wrote: Just like the Stadium proposals a couple of years ago. All these councillors deciding in advance what they think about a proposal will only end up excluding them from any decision making.[/p][/quote]Yes, surely there is a need for Councillors to be a little more strategic in their management of what will undoubtedly be a long haul process. Helen J
  • Score: -16

10:28am Sun 10 Aug 14

spartacus2014 says...

can we cut through the bull and get to the real reasosn why all housing developments are opposed?

reason 1 - the residents already have their nice little homes and if there is the slightest suggestion that property values might be affected adversely they will oppose it. I wonder if they've ever thought that going back many years when their homes were being built the existing homeowners might have been not too happy with all the building work/extra traffic etc

reason 2 - and this is the REAL reason - with new housing estates there has to be a 40% build of social housing and let's face it they don't want their sort on their doorstep
can we cut through the bull and get to the real reasosn why all housing developments are opposed? reason 1 - the residents already have their nice little homes and if there is the slightest suggestion that property values might be affected adversely they will oppose it. I wonder if they've ever thought that going back many years when their homes were being built the existing homeowners might have been not too happy with all the building work/extra traffic etc reason 2 - and this is the REAL reason - with new housing estates there has to be a 40% build of social housing and let's face it they don't want their sort on their doorstep spartacus2014
  • Score: -23

11:22am Sun 10 Aug 14

Bodger1966 says...

Yes spartacus. And with so many people struggling to afford private rent there is more need than ever to build more social housing. We do need the right kind of new homes in Wycombe and they need to be built somewhere.
Yes spartacus. And with so many people struggling to afford private rent there is more need than ever to build more social housing. We do need the right kind of new homes in Wycombe and they need to be built somewhere. Bodger1966
  • Score: -17

12:01pm Sun 10 Aug 14

maccapaka says...

Well spartacus2014, (as if there was an earlier model) you are certainly strong in your opinion. Have you ever asked the question why is all this building work needed? It seems to me that our useless parliamentary leaders (and no I am not politically motivated) are determined to build as much as they can as quickly as they can, in order to get Britain back to where they think it should be. England used to be known as a green and pleasant land, but if this level of development is allowed to go ahead (not just in Wycombe) then that famous line will be lost for ever. Once the green areas are built on they are gone forever. Talking of famous lines who needs to get to Birmingham 15 minutes quicker?

Have you asked the question where are all these people who need to be housed? Where are they living now? Are they all homeless? I doubt it very much. I suggest that you try and find out the real figures regarding homelessness in this area, and it could make for interesting reading. I have not seen anywhere figures that justify this requirement for extra development. Also it was reported in the BFP on 8th April that our council were only interested in homing local people. Interesting quote that I think.
Well spartacus2014, (as if there was an earlier model) you are certainly strong in your opinion. Have you ever asked the question why is all this building work needed? It seems to me that our useless parliamentary leaders (and no I am not politically motivated) are determined to build as much as they can as quickly as they can, in order to get Britain back to where they think it should be. England used to be known as a green and pleasant land, but if this level of development is allowed to go ahead (not just in Wycombe) then that famous line will be lost for ever. Once the green areas are built on they are gone forever. Talking of famous lines who needs to get to Birmingham 15 minutes quicker? Have you asked the question where are all these people who need to be housed? Where are they living now? Are they all homeless? I doubt it very much. I suggest that you try and find out the real figures regarding homelessness in this area, and it could make for interesting reading. I have not seen anywhere figures that justify this requirement for extra development. Also it was reported in the BFP on 8th April that our council were only interested in homing local people. Interesting quote that I think. maccapaka
  • Score: 8

2:07pm Sun 10 Aug 14

spartacus2014 says...

they're not all homeless macca..they are the children of wycombe residents, they are couples who have divorced, they are people who might have moved into the area to work or people who commute into London because they can only afford houses out here (if they are lucky)

As we are all so often reminded, capitalism is the best system we have - correct me if I'm wrong but according to the rules of capitalism if you want to bring the price of something down you usually increase the supply of the commodity. Why should housing be different? why do the archaic planning laws deliberately restrict the supply of land for housing - just to keep the value of houses artificially high? is the best way to provide housing for our children to saddle them with crippling mortgages or having to put our own houses into hock to raise massive deposits for them??
they're not all homeless macca..they are the children of wycombe residents, they are couples who have divorced, they are people who might have moved into the area to work or people who commute into London because they can only afford houses out here (if they are lucky) As we are all so often reminded, capitalism is the best system we have - correct me if I'm wrong but according to the rules of capitalism if you want to bring the price of something down you usually increase the supply of the commodity. Why should housing be different? why do the archaic planning laws deliberately restrict the supply of land for housing - just to keep the value of houses artificially high? is the best way to provide housing for our children to saddle them with crippling mortgages or having to put our own houses into hock to raise massive deposits for them?? spartacus2014
  • Score: 0

2:22pm Sun 10 Aug 14

jayeatman says...

'72 per cent of residents interviewed during the consultation said it was more important to protect the countryside and wildlife than build new housing'.
Gosh really! And of course protecting their precious views and property prices too. I'm surprised it was as little as 72%.
Did anybody poll the 4,000 on the WDC waiting list? Thought not! Do they have less rights or no votes? So it would seem judging by the actions of our political representatives.
'72 per cent of residents interviewed during the consultation said it was more important to protect the countryside and wildlife than build new housing'. Gosh really! And of course protecting their precious views and property prices too. I'm surprised it was as little as 72%. Did anybody poll the 4,000 on the WDC waiting list? Thought not! Do they have less rights or no votes? So it would seem judging by the actions of our political representatives. jayeatman
  • Score: -10

9:02pm Sun 10 Aug 14

Marsh Crusader says...

Agree, more housing is required social or otherwise..... but they should be spreading it over the surrounding villages and not just in the town of High Wycombe!
Agree, more housing is required social or otherwise..... but they should be spreading it over the surrounding villages and not just in the town of High Wycombe! Marsh Crusader
  • Score: 18

10:01am Mon 11 Aug 14

wycombetownie says...

Marsh Crusader wrote:
Agree, more housing is required social or otherwise..... but they should be spreading it over the surrounding villages and not just in the town of High Wycombe!
The problem is that the Rural community dont want housing in their area. we need to be building across the district noit just in High Wycombe . High Wycombe cannot cope with the current traffic and congestion.. We need to look at the surrounding villages and places like Stokenchurch and Marlow with good motorway access.
[quote][p][bold]Marsh Crusader[/bold] wrote: Agree, more housing is required social or otherwise..... but they should be spreading it over the surrounding villages and not just in the town of High Wycombe![/p][/quote]The problem is that the Rural community dont want housing in their area. we need to be building across the district noit just in High Wycombe . High Wycombe cannot cope with the current traffic and congestion.. We need to look at the surrounding villages and places like Stokenchurch and Marlow with good motorway access. wycombetownie
  • Score: 20

10:10am Mon 11 Aug 14

s6blr says...

The age old debate of the NIMBYS has to end -- either forced sterilisation or allow for more homes. How dare they block people being able to live where they want -- where do they expect them to live? In Slough -- fat chance no one wants to live there.

Planned, efficient, environmentally friendly housing is needed now in So. Bucks. Anyone who says no should be moved to Slough to free up property.
The age old debate of the NIMBYS has to end -- either forced sterilisation or allow for more homes. How dare they block people being able to live where they want -- where do they expect them to live? In Slough -- fat chance no one wants to live there. Planned, efficient, environmentally friendly housing is needed now in So. Bucks. Anyone who says no should be moved to Slough to free up property. s6blr
  • Score: -19

4:36pm Mon 11 Aug 14

Agniesca says...

If the UK population is to increase to 75,000,000 in the foreseeable future and household sizes continue to decline, then more houses are needed, and we must provide our share.
As populations increase, infrastructure elements (schools, road, hospitals, doctors) become overloaded. Town centres will die as the facilities offered do not keep pace with the increased costs and frustrations involved in accessing them. Economic theory postulates the idea of the optimum population above which quality of life and standard of living both fall.
Are we there yet??
If the UK population is to increase to 75,000,000 in the foreseeable future and household sizes continue to decline, then more houses are needed, and we must provide our share. As populations increase, infrastructure elements (schools, road, hospitals, doctors) become overloaded. Town centres will die as the facilities offered do not keep pace with the increased costs and frustrations involved in accessing them. Economic theory postulates the idea of the optimum population above which quality of life and standard of living both fall. Are we there yet?? Agniesca
  • Score: 0

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