Campaigners are warning there could be an uprising after the council u-turned on its decision to let residents vote on future development in their area. 

Hazlemere residents and the parish council said they spent two years devising a Hazlemere Neighbourhood Plan.

Susan Jamson said: "We have two farmers – two builders – a Unitary Authority keen to meet their housing targets and residents hoping that proposed housing developments will enhance our village.

"To avoid an uprising we were told to get our Parish Council to create a village Neighbourhood Plan so we can have our say! The Independent Planning Inspector who examined the Plan with a fine toothcomb was happy with it. The Unitary Authority’s planning officers signed it off and on April 4 2023 our Council agreed that it can go forward to the residents for referendum.

"The enormous hoop-jumping task to create this plan took 2+ years and it is now ready to go back to the residents to vote whether to adopt it.

"On 25 April 2023, out of nowhere, came a legal threat from one of the builders! It came at the very last minute as there is a 22-day deadline to make this legal representation."

The scheme involves demolishing the existing buildings, including Inkerman House, to erect a housing estate known as ‘Orchard Hill Park Estate’ on former Green Belt land.

It includes 47 one-beds, 48 two-beds, 108 three-beds, and 56 four-beds in the form of 179 homes and 80 apartments. Nearly 125 of the proposed units are proposed to be affordable.

A total of 502 car parking spaces and 80 garages predominantly for three and four-bed homes are proposed. It also includes open space that provides a total of nearly three hectares.

A mountain of objections was submitted in protest against the plans, who were concerned that the homes will overwhelm the existing infrastructure, “destroy” the existing wildlife and habitats, and cause “unacceptable damage” to the character of the local area.

The plan was originally submitted in November 2021 to build 290 homes, but Bellway Homes recently dropped the housing number by 31 units following feedback from consultees.

After coming up with a Hazlemere Neighbourhood Plan, the council decided it didn't meet the basic conditions.

Susan added: "On the 27 April 2023 a notice was posted on the Bucks Council website from Steve Bambrick, Director of Planning and Environment. The Council didn’t even bother to tell our Parish Council who found out about it on the website! 

"The blood, sweat and tears the Community and the Parish Council spent creating our Neighbourhood Plan is now morphing into a battle plan. We want to establish what sort of legal threat could have resulted in a Council turning its back on its local community in just two days!"

Councillor Peter Strachan, Cabinet Member for Planning and Regeneration said: "The referendum on the Hazlemere Neighbourhood Plan has not been cancelled but rather postponed."

"The decision to not proceed with a referendum at this time has been made by Buckinghamshire Council, following legal advice. This identified that the current Hazlemere Neighbourhood Plan failed to meet a number of basic conditions and was at risk of being successfully challenged if a Judicial Review was brought.

"In order to strengthen the decision-making process and bring the Neighbourhood Plan into accord with the basic conditions, Buckinghamshire Council has made a decision to propose further modifications to the Neighbourhood Plan, in addition to those proposed by the examiner's report.

"A public consultation on these modifications has now been opened and this will allow residents the opportunity to give their views. When this consultation finishes and the representations and planning arguments have been considered, we can reconsider the decision to proceed to a referendum."