Controversial plans to build nine new homes on a disused car park have been voted down by the council – but the decision will be taken by a government agency.

Bucks Council agreed it is “minded to refuse” an application submitted by Revere Developments to redevelop the old car park, on Old Kiln Road, in Flackwell Heath – but having received a ‘non-determination appeal’, the matter is now in the hands of the Planning Inspectorate.

Plans detail the ‘redevelopment of the existing car park to include the construction of four semi-detached houses and five flats in a three-storey block’.

There will also be 18 parking spaces.

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The car park, which is privately owned and was largely used by shoppers at the former Budgens, “has not been in use since around 2014”.

Bucks Free Press:

Old Kiln Road from above 

It is understood the site was linked to the original permission for nearby Aries House – however, that link has since been severed by the change in ownership and the closure of the car park, documents stated.

Planning permission was also recently granted for the redevelopment of the former Budgens (Aries House) into shops, flats, and offices, which includes its own parking.

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Speaking against the proposal, Cllr David Johncock said the scheme could impact the village “forever” – and that parking, critical for local trade, was already scarce.

“The decision we take here tonight will significantly impact Flackwell Heath forever – and could be the beginning of the end of our retail centre,” said Cllr Johncock.

“In order to sustain a viable shopping centre, it needs parking, and that is something that is in extremely short supply in Flackwell Heath.

“The Old Kiln Road car park has been blocked off for several years now, and the upshot is that people now park anywhere and everywhere.”

He said an “extant” 1971 planning condition for ‘use of the car park’ covers “all the retail units in Aries House, which still exist and are mostly occupied on a permanent basis”.

He added: “We believe this is a 1971 planning condition, that requires the ongoing provision of a car park to support the retail units in Aries House, not just Budgens.”

Cllr Johncock also urged the undertaking of a parking study.

“In the opinion of the local planning authority, the redevelopment of the car park would result in the loss of an area of land which has the function of providing off-street parking for users of the facilities in Flackwell Heath,” proposed an officer in a summary draft response of concerns raised.

“The proposed redevelopment would remove the parking use from this land, contrary to [a planning permission condition], thereby resulting in displaced parking on the highway in an area that is already subject to intensive on-street parking.

“As a consequence, the development is likely to lead to the loss of amenity for local residents, and danger and inconvenience to users of the highway.”

They added: “The proposal represents an overdevelopment of the site to the detriment of the character and appearance of the area, and the amenity of local residents.

“Buildings are of an unacceptable scale, bulk and mass, resulting in an overbearing, dominant and unneighbourly form of development that would lead to overlooking.”

Cllr Johncock said the ‘design of the block of flats is out of character with the area’, including the ‘slotted windows, height and bulk’.

The defeated recommendation was originally “minded to approve”.

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