Slate Meadow campaigners who were branded “controversial” and “verbally abusive” by a councillor have hit back at the claims, days after it was announced that plans for new homes on the site could be submitted within months. 

Last week, Wycombe District Council’s cabinet agreed to push through the development brief for Slate Meadow in Bourne End, which was one of five reserve sites to be released for housing in 2014. 

However, controversial comments made by Bourne End cum Hedsor councillor Tony Lee at the meeting have been criticised by members of the Slate Meadow liaison committee. 

He told his fellow councillors that members of the group were largely happy with the development brief, adding: “There are a number of very confrontational characters on the committee and have needed a great deal of control, sometimes getting verbally abusive to officers.

“I have spoken to the two most vociferous ones and they are delighted with what is going on – 85 per cent of what they wanted, they got, and they are more than happy with that.” 

Hitting back at the comments, Jim Penfold, chairman of the Bourne End Residents Association and member of the Slate Meadow Liaison Group who attended every meeting, said it was untrue to suggest that members were happy with the development brief – which outlines rules for developers on how any new housing should look – and objected to being called “verbally abusive”. 

The liaison group outlined concerns with a number of issues including flooding, traffic and transport and infrastructure.

Mr Penfold said: “[Cllr Lee] is totally wrong. The liaison group put in a 4,000 word, 11-page document in which we were questioning various aspects of the development brief.

"None of this has been taken into account - how can the group be content to any extent, let alone 85 per cent?

“To say that there are confrontational characters, I find untrue. When statements made by officers have been misleading, we have questioned it and not accepted it. 

“Two of us have been the most open in coming forward but we have never, ever, verbally abused an officer. We have been forthright and we have stuck to our guns. They have been questioned, but to say they have been verbally abused – I find that offensive.” 

Simon Fowke, who was also on the liaison group, added that he did not “recognise” any of the comments made by Cllr Lee, saying they were “disingenuous”. 

He said: “There was a strong group of individuals who did call the officers to task but I wouldn’t say there was any abuse. If there was abuse, I’m sure the chairman would have addressed it. It paints an incorrect picture of the liaison group.” 

Cllr Lee did not wish to make any further comments when approached by the Bucks Free Press.