Councillors and action groups opposed to development that could double the population of Saunderton have welcomed district council plans for an independently minded review into expansion.

Last week, leader of Wycombe District Council Katrina Wood called for a team of councillors, a Local Plan Task and Finish Group (TFG), to carry out detailed research into the possibility of expanding the village, which currently has under 200 households.

Phase one of a planning application from housing developer St Congar Land could see up to 212 houses built on the site of the former Molins factory in Haw Lane if approved.

Potentially, phases two and three could see up to 1000 houses in total on the Molins and surrounding greenbelt land, which could be turned into a ‘new’ village called Greater Saunderton.

A spokesman for the Molins Action Group (MAG) said the vast majority of residents in the village, which is one of the smallest in Wycombe district, are against the development they believe would cause ‘irreversible physical damage’ to AONB land.

He said: “MAG welcomes Wycombe District Council Leader Katrina Wood’s initiative to call for a “sanity check” to look at WDC Planning’s proposal to expand the village of Saunderton.

“We believe that a thorough and independently minded Task and Finish Group review into the Saunderton Area Action Plan and its proposal to place an urban style development of up to 1000 houses directly into the heart of the AONB is urgently needed.

“The overwhelming view of residents in both Saunderton and the wider area, is to protect Chilterns AONB land from what would be irreversible physical damage, to preserve some local land for employment use and to maintain the current rural aspect and quality of life in Saunderton from the fundamental change which such a massive increase in activity and traffic volumes would involve.”

While the group look forward to a public meeting on October 7, they are ‘disappointed’ at the choice of the Clare Centre as the venue.

Only residents in the immediate area have been invited to attend the meeting, which starts at 7pm and limit spaces are available.

The MAG spokesman said: “Given the importance attached to this review, the precedent for the countryside and the implications for residents in Saunderton and surrounding villages, we are disappointed about the very limited number of places that will be available at the venue chosen for the meeting.”

County Cllr and Saunderton resident, Carl Etholen, who opposes the development, said: “I fully support the work that they [the TFG] are undertaking and being ably chaired by Cllr John Savage, who has many years experience, I am sure that they will make the right decision having engaged with all the local stakeholders and residents.

“As the local member and a local resident, I believe that I speak on behalf of the vast majority of Residents of Saunderton and Bledlow Ridge that the landscape and beauty of the countryside would be lost forever if these proposals are approved.

“This would also set a precedent for developing in other areas of AONB and green belt. I appreciate that we as a nation need more housing, but I believe that Saunderton village is not the place for this.”

As well as councillors and residents, organisations such as Chiltern Conservation Board and Network Rail have raised concerns over the development.

St Congar Land says the 212-dwelling development site will be 'people friendly' with landscaped gardens and hedges as well as car parking and open spaces.

Visit or follow MAG on Twitter @savesaunderton.

To book a place at the public meeting on October 7 from 7pm to 9pm, email or phone 01494 421261.