Questions asked over timing of major Bourne End housing plans

Outline plans to build up to 400 new homes in the Bourne End countryside have been submitted to Buckinghamshire Council – but questions have been asked over the timing.

Developer Catesby Estates also wants to build a primary school as part of the overall development on Hollands Farm, in Hedsor Road.

A games area, parkland, improvements to road junctions, new footpaths and enhanced public transport routes are also planned.

More specific details - such as landscaping and how the buildings will look - are reserved at this stage.

Hollands Farm was earmarked for 467 new homes in the Wycombe District Local Plan (WDLP), which was adopted in August 2019, and an adjacent green space, Jacksons Field, could also be built on with 75 homes earmarked there.

Slate Meadow, another greenbelt site nearby, had outline plans for 150 homes approved in 2018, taking the potential number of new homes in Bourne End to 625.

Catesby proposes to offer some affordable homes as part of the scheme, and seeks to build 188 market homes; 192 social affordable rent and 20 'self-build' homes.

It ran a consultation on its plans for the site which ended earlier in the spring.

Campaign group Keep Bourne End Green (KBEG) has been critical of the amount of homes earmarked on Hollands Farm, saying that the numbers will put a strain on services.

Cllr Stuart Wilson (Ind, Wooburn, Bourne End and Hedsor), who is also part of the group, had concerns relating to the timing of the application being submitted.

A development brief for Hollands Farm is being produced in conjunction with Buckinghamshire Council, and Cllr Wilson has questioned why the outline plans have been put forward before the formal adoption of this document, which will set out how the site should be developed.

The council has said that the brief is expected to be determined for adoption in spring or summer this year.

Cllr Wilson also asked why the plans were not submitted together with the developer Capreon, which is developing out Jacksons Field, in order to picture how the entire site would operate.

He added: “It does not appear that many, if any, of the points raised by the various responses to the consultation have had an impact whatsoever.

“I have asked some of the questions I think residents will be asking. I anticipate the resident reaction so far has been one of disappointment.

“We will try and answer questions as best as we can and KBEG will be summarising its own response.”

Chairman of Wooburn and Bourne End Parish Council, Cllr Tim Bingham, shared similar worries to Cllr Wilson.

“The council are not against Hollands Farm per-say – what we are concerned about is there are points of access which are not adequate for the number of houses being proposed,” he said.

“And we think that any planning application is premature when the development brief has not been set out.”

Cllr Bingham said that policy ‘BE2’ in the WDLP calls for a ‘link road’ between Princes Road and Hedsor Road.

He said: “Because the two developers are not working together in concert, it does not envisage how a link road will work. The feeling is that this is not very joined up.”

The parish chairman added that more than 600 homes in the village would have an impact on already tested services in Bourne End, and questioned whether the village had the suitable infrastructure.

David Morris, planning and operations director at Catesby Estates, said: “We are pleased to be moving forward to the next stage in bringing this important allocation forward, and assisting the council in meeting its housing requirements, where there is a clear need for new homes, especially affordable housing.

“Whilst the application has been submitted ahead of the formal adoption of the development brief, the Supplementary Planning Documents (SPD) is at an advanced stage and undergone significant consultation from statutory consultees and the public over the last two years.

"Catesby Estates will continue to work closely with the council and carefully consider the adoption of the development brief, and where necessary update the outline application to respond to any changes during the determination process.”

The developer added that Jacksons Fields and Hollands Farm are 'under different ownerships', with Catesby at a 'more advanced stage of the process'.

"We have through the development brief process worked with Capreon and developed and shared a number of plans and survey work to ensure there will be synergy between the two applications," Catesby said. 

It is not yet known when the application is likely to come before the planning committee.

To view it, search for reference 21/06215/OUT on the Buckinghamshire Council planning portal under the ‘Wycombe area’.

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