A campaign group is “very disappointed” after a petition opposing the building of around 2,600 new houses in a market town, which garnered almost 4,000 signatures, was debated at a council meeting this week.

The Risborough Area Residents Association (RARA) has been fighting for a “better town plan” for Princes Risborough, saying the associated infrastructure recommendations in the Local Plan are “vague, deficient and divisive”.

At a Wycombe District Council cabinet meeting on Monday (June 5), RARA asked the council to reconsider its plan for the town and proposed a lower scale of development, to investigate “better use” of available land and to “properly” consult with residents on future proposals.

Cabinet member for planning Cllr David Johncock, said it was “misleading” to suggest that the Local Plan had “vague, deficient and divisive” infrastructure recommendations.

Cllr Johncock argued that a steering group had been established under the chairmanship of the chairman of the town council two years ago, adding that members of major community groups, including RARA, were included in the group.

Speaking about other available land to build on, he said that there were no other options that had not “already seriously been explored”.

He also insisted that the council had been “at pains to consult locally”, saying that WDC had organised "numerous" public meetings and exhibitions at in the town since the beginning of the process.

Cllr Johncock added that the Town Plan was not a “done deal” and would still be open to consultation once published.

He said: “The fact is, without a viable and deliverable plan we will continue to suffer from speculative developments which will provide a lot of homes without any real improvements to local infrastructure and services.

“This would be the worst of all possible outcomes for the residents of Princes Risborough.”

RARA chairman Linda Cannon Clegg said: “RARA hoped for a meeting where the councillors were open minded and positively engaged in the democratic process.

“WDC's ‘defence’ was to claim they have undertaken extensive consultation. In reality, we have been ‘informed’ and not consulted, and the community has had little influence on the plan.

“This is evidenced by the number of petition signatures.

“RARA was hoping WDC would acknowledge this in some way, and offer to work with us on a plan scaled proportionately, and not simply focused on meeting ambiguous housing targets and concentrating housing in an isolated town.

“It was positive to be informed by Councillor Johncock that the plan is still open to consultation. RARA was hoping to hear something to this effect – it means it is worth persevering to challenge the housing numbers…”