A PROPOSAL to release five reserve sites for development, including former greenbelt land between Bourne End and Wooburn has been met with an angry reaction within the villages.

It was revealed yesterday that Wycombe District Council were proposing to release five wanted areas of land for development to ensure they kept in-line with government framework.

Residents in Bourne End and Wooburn Green have now reacted angrily to the news that a development could soon be built on Slate Meadow.

Chairman of the Bourne End Residents Association, Jim Penfold, said he does not believe WDC will now listen to the public views in an upcoming consultation.

He said: “It really does beggar belief that the council are just planning to go ahead and build on all of these sites when there is obviously a huge objection to it.

“During the consultation for the Local Plan around 300 people came out and the majority were clearly against Slate Meadow being developed.

“They now want to hold a consultation to see what people think of the plans, but there is absolutely no point holding a consultation if they don’t listen to the consultee.”

Since the Local Plan was published at the start of 2014 plans to potentially develop 175 homes on Slate Meadow was met with strong opposition.

The Save Slate Meadow group formed this year and so far have over 1,200 signatures on an online petition to have the area removed from the reserve list.

Mr Penfold said: “Slate Meadow was put into the greenbelt in the ‘70s and was then taken out quite some years later although nothing had changed, and it still has not changed.

“I just cannot understand how Slate Meadow can be considered a good option to develop when there is a large village green, part of it sits on a floodplain and most importantly it works to separate the two villages.

“If this was developed it would lead to a coalescence of community and if that is done everywhere, we will all just end up being one big town.”

WDC head of Planning and Sustainability, Penelope Tollitt, said: “According to the new framework we need to be able to show we can develop a certain amount of houses (between 500 and 700) in a five year land supply. But it is not just enough to say we can do it, we actually have to do it.

“That is why we think the time to release those reserve sites is now, in order to demonstrate we are managing that five year supply.

“If we do nothing, developers can put in applications and if we refuse it is very likely they will just be permitted on appeal.”

To read more about the WDC proposal, please click here.