‘AMENDMENTS’ to plans for a major expansion boasting some 2,500 new homes, two schools, and a critical new highway have been approved – but associated infrastructure costs have risen to more than £131 million.

Buckinghamshire Council has agreed “in principle” changes to a series of proposals bound up with an expansion of Princes Risborough, which has seen its strategic costs surge from an earlier estimate of £90 million.

Cabinet members agreed proposed “minor changes” to the Princes Risborough Expansion Supplementary Planning Document (PRE SPD), on February 16.

READ MORE: Children's play centre and next-door gym site lease ‘bought’ for ‘future regeneration’

Bucks Free Press:

PICTURED: Urban Design Framework

It “expands on” the Wycombe District Local Plan adopted in August 2019.

It sets out when, where and how homes, schools and infrastructure should be built, phased and funded, while proving “a framework to guide the preparation and assessment of future planning applications within the area”.

The expansion is the “largest single housing allocation” in South Bucks, comprising around 2,500 new homes and associated infrastructure, including two primary schools, sports pitches, and a new relief road serving as a complete alternative to the A4010, with two rail under-bridges.

Bucks Council has secured a £12 million Housing Infrastructure Fund (HIF) grant towards the first phase of the relief road, known as the Southern Relief Road (SRL).

READ MORE: Residents battle ‘dust storms and POTHOLE HELL caused by landfill lorries’

Bucks Free Press:

PICTURED: Character Areas

Other proposed infrastructure includes “additional secondary school places”, traffic calming “in the Alscot area”, public transport provision, and “improvements to the town centre”, according to cabinet member for planning and enforcement, Cllr Warren Whyte.

He also mentioned a Mill Lane sports hub “concept”, featuring a club house, football and hockey pitches, and tennis courts.

There is also reference to an underpass and pedestrian footbridge. Land for open spaces, walking and cycling improvements are also factored.

“Clearly one of the challenges of a proposal of this size is the number of landownership issues,” said Cllr Whyte. “There are numerous owners, and they haven’t formed a consortium which is unfortunate and led to some challenges in preparing the SPD.”

Bucks Free Press:

PICTURED: Indicative Phasing Plan

A February 2021 briefing with local members and Princes Risborough Town Council saw a number of changes recommended to the 2019 draft.

Among them is the need for a new medical centre which has been reviewed following comments from Bucks Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), which now wishes to see an expansion of existing facilities.

It also includes changes to “indicative relief road alignment to avoid mature trees and to minimise issues of cross-site boundary coordination by different developers”.

READ MORE: Multimillion-pound fund for TOWN expansion - thousands of homes, new schools and major highway

“Careful phasing of development will be required to avoid capacity bottlenecks mainly in relation to traffic and school places,” it states.

Bucks Free Press:

PICTURED: The main expansion area

It also states: “The delivery of the SRL is critical to enable the main phase of housing delivery to get underway.”

Phases two and three of the relief road unlock the second and third phase (682 and 1,247 homes respectively). It states the relief road should be complete by around 1,400 homes (expected by 2029/30), with widening of the B4009 the following year.

Council leader Cllr Martin Tett urged further amendments, including exploring alternatives to CCG funding for the health centre, and gathering “informed” views from local members. 

“I’ve not been convinced the CCG has taken a forward view on primary care capacity,” said Cllr Whyte.

We’ve launched a new Facebook group for local news junkies, politics fans and everyone who wants to keep up to date with the latest issues affecting Princes Risborough. Please join the conversation over at Buckinghamshire Politics