Railway reopening subject of homes battle

District councillor Simon Bazley and High Wycombe Society members Elsa Woodward, Nigel Phillips and Chris Woodman are against the plans

District councillor Simon Bazley and High Wycombe Society members Elsa Woodward, Nigel Phillips and Chris Woodman are against the plans

First published in News by

THE possibility of reopening a railway line between Bourne End and High Wycombe was furiously argued today during a public enquiry into a controversial planning application.

Developer Henry Homes wants to build on the thin strip of land behind Wycombe Lane, Wooburn Green and launched an appeal after Wycombe District Council failed to make a decision over its plans within its target of 13 weeks.

Today the council argued strongly why it listed the safe guarding of the land as one of its main reasons for refusing the scheme to build 29 homes on the 0.77 hectare plot, if a decision had been made on it.

Henry Homes, meanwhile said the possibility of the reopening of the line was “highly unlikely”.

If reopened the council would like to introduce a light rail or ultra light rail line between High Wycombe and Bourne End, which could open up opportunities to link up with First Great Western trains via Maidenhead.

Hugh Chaplain, giving evidence on behalf of Henry Homes, gave details of similar schemes proposed in Liverpool and Leeds, which had not got off the ground.

He said: “Given the evidence relating to light railway there's little chance in my lifetime of a light rail scheme being delivered on this (the Bourne End to High Wycombe) corridor.”

Mr Chaplain added the estimated cost of reinstating the line was put at around £200 million – a figure the High Wycombe society disagreed with.

The society, which works to protect the district's green spaces, has been campaigning for years to get the line reopened.

Nigel Phillips, a society member, said: “We're talking about five miles that doesn't cross the Thames, it crosses the motorway where there's already a tunnel for it.

“£40 million a mile is inflated.”

This is the second appeal Henry Homes has lodged against the district council over its plans to build on the disused line.

In November 2006 the council turned down Henry's proposals to build 33 homes on the site. Henry lost its subsequent appeal to the planning inspector.

The enquiry is expected to finish tomorrow.

Comments (9)

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3:32pm Wed 19 Nov 08

Mutley says...

The council should stick to its guns. Why scupper plans, however tentative, for a future rail link for the sake of a few houses. Once they are built the route is gone forever and more building will soon take place on other lengths of the route.
(Also, I think what exists at the motorway crossing (at Loudwater) is called a "tunnel" and not a "toll" - although the latter mighthelp pay for the line! :) )
The council should stick to its guns. Why scupper plans, however tentative, for a future rail link for the sake of a few houses. Once they are built the route is gone forever and more building will soon take place on other lengths of the route. (Also, I think what exists at the motorway crossing (at Loudwater) is called a "tunnel" and not a "toll" - although the latter mighthelp pay for the line! :) ) Mutley
  • Score: 0

3:53pm Wed 19 Nov 08

Punchy says...

Why do Henry Homes have such a hard-on for this piece of land? Selling these new builds to the public in this climate is nigh on impossible anyway!

In fact, they should be thankful this dispute has happened, it may have saved them a pile of cash.
Why do Henry Homes have such a hard-on for this piece of land? Selling these new builds to the public in this climate is nigh on impossible anyway! In fact, they should be thankful this dispute has happened, it may have saved them a pile of cash. Punchy
  • Score: 0

4:33pm Wed 19 Nov 08

Low_Wycombe says...

Mutley wrote:
The council should stick to its guns. Why scupper plans, however tentative, for a future rail link for the sake of a few houses. Once they are built the route is gone forever and more building will soon take place on other lengths of the route.
(Also, I think what exists at the motorway crossing (at Loudwater) is called a "tunnel" and not a "toll" - although the latter mighthelp pay for the line! :) )
ahhh, thanks Mutley, you should be a BFP Editor (I think there used to be one, he used to moan about Chinese takeaways and bus lanes)

I had no idea what was meant by "toll".

[quote][p][bold]Mutley[/bold] wrote: The council should stick to its guns. Why scupper plans, however tentative, for a future rail link for the sake of a few houses. Once they are built the route is gone forever and more building will soon take place on other lengths of the route. (Also, I think what exists at the motorway crossing (at Loudwater) is called a "tunnel" and not a "toll" - although the latter mighthelp pay for the line! :) )[/p][/quote]ahhh, thanks Mutley, you should be a BFP Editor (I think there used to be one, he used to moan about Chinese takeaways and bus lanes) I had no idea what was meant by "toll". Low_Wycombe
  • Score: 0

5:20pm Wed 19 Nov 08

SDJones says...

its no business of Chaplain when the link is open all he needs to know is it will one day how dare he make such statements get Henry Homes out of Bucks now, go build oop north where theres plenty of land you scum of the building world
its no business of Chaplain when the link is open all he needs to know is it will one day how dare he make such statements get Henry Homes out of Bucks now, go build oop north where theres plenty of land you scum of the building world SDJones
  • Score: 0

6:22pm Wed 19 Nov 08

billsheppard says...

Absolutely ridiculous. Maybe high-flying chief exec of some building firm doesn't see the need for the line, anyone who commutes from Wycombe to Maidenhead, Slough, Reading and other towns in the Thames Valley certainly would.

With the town growing more and more with traffic getting worse and worse in the town, can we really afford to nip potential commuter arteries in the bud like this?

If WDC allow the cowboys to build, it will shamefully show where their priorities lie.
Absolutely ridiculous. Maybe high-flying chief exec of some building firm doesn't see the need for the line, anyone who commutes from Wycombe to Maidenhead, Slough, Reading and other towns in the Thames Valley certainly would. With the town growing more and more with traffic getting worse and worse in the town, can we really afford to nip potential commuter arteries in the bud like this? If WDC allow the cowboys to build, it will shamefully show where their priorities lie. billsheppard
  • Score: 0

1:09am Thu 20 Nov 08

sportsturf says...

for a start, the rail link will NEVER take place, because i know the landowner who's land it has to go thru on 3 occassions, and he has told the council that they have not got enough money in the next 10 years budget to purchase it from him... so the "house-building" angle is a non starter anway..has anybody actually studies the proposed route of this "link"...you got houses to go thru, the M40 to negotiate..Kingsmead to get across somehow...then the A40 to link it to the main line...
for a start, the rail link will NEVER take place, because i know the landowner who's land it has to go thru on 3 occassions, and he has told the council that they have not got enough money in the next 10 years budget to purchase it from him... so the "house-building" angle is a non starter anway..has anybody actually studies the proposed route of this "link"...you got houses to go thru, the M40 to negotiate..Kingsmead to get across somehow...then the A40 to link it to the main line... sportsturf
  • Score: 0

8:02am Thu 20 Nov 08

Tharus Bond says...

If the railway was running I'd use it to get home from work everyday as it would be quicker than a bus! If it is reinstated then I think it would work! These developers are also the idiots that build on flood plains!
If the railway was running I'd use it to get home from work everyday as it would be quicker than a bus! If it is reinstated then I think it would work! These developers are also the idiots that build on flood plains! Tharus Bond
  • Score: 0

7:41am Fri 21 Nov 08

towncryer says...

rail idea is commendable but there are other more pressing issues --- A high wycombe bypass to north of town is greater priority to get traffic off London Road manage traffic linking to M40
We also need better buses 24/7 across the district ,surrounding towns and London at affordable prices
rail idea is commendable but there are other more pressing issues --- A high wycombe bypass to north of town is greater priority to get traffic off London Road manage traffic linking to M40 We also need better buses 24/7 across the district ,surrounding towns and London at affordable prices towncryer
  • Score: 0

9:55pm Fri 21 Nov 08

Miltonian says...

Of course this route must be protected: whether it becomes a light rail link or a guided busway is secondary but future generations won't thank us for building on potential gem of a connection. The tunnel under the M40 is there and the guy who thinks he'll make a mint will have to make do with adequate compensation and a compulsory purchase order for the greater good. With Crossrail at last on the way this link will become a lifeline. The last thing we need is for Brunel's legacy to be built over: that happened to the Oxford - Cambridge line years ago and now they are trying to find ways round it because it's needed again. The HW- Bourne End link made sense in the 1850s first time round and now it's time has come again.
Of course this route must be protected: whether it becomes a light rail link or a guided busway is secondary but future generations won't thank us for building on potential gem of a connection. The tunnel under the M40 is there and the guy who thinks he'll make a mint will have to make do with adequate compensation and a compulsory purchase order for the greater good. With Crossrail at last on the way this link will become a lifeline. The last thing we need is for Brunel's legacy to be built over: that happened to the Oxford - Cambridge line years ago and now they are trying to find ways round it because it's needed again. The HW- Bourne End link made sense in the 1850s first time round and now it's time has come again. Miltonian
  • Score: 0
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