Plans to build 150 homes on Bourne End greenbelt deferred

Controversial plans to build nearly 150 homes in the Bourne End countryside have been deferred over the design of buildings – which would be double the size of existing homes in the area.

The Slate Meadow site, in Stratford Drive, has been the centre of greenbelt debate for some time, with developer Croudace Homes gaining outline planning permission in August 2018.

A planning application concerning the development’s access, appearance, landscaping, layout and scale was debated at a Buckinghamshire Council planning meeting on Wednesday, June 8.

Council officers recommended the committee delegate the application to the head of planning for approval, subject to a number of conditions.

These included confirmation of where developer payments should be directed, with it being recommended that cash should go to Burnham Beeches.

However the plans were met with resistance at last week’s meeting from independent ward councillors and a vocal public gallery.

After a long debate, meeting chairman Councillor Neil Marshall deferred the proposals after the committee and public speakers raised a number of concerns.

Cllr Penny Drayton (Ind, Wooburn, Bourne End and Hedsor) claimed that the planned buildings would be double the height of nearby homes, adding this would have ‘a huge hit-on effect’.

Cllr Drayton added that the scale of buildings would also block views to nearby hills.

Ward colleague Cllr Sophie Kayani had concerns over how transport would operate once the development is built, particulary at school pick-up and drop-off periods.

“This application falls way short of the ambition for this site,” she told the meeting. “Without additional consideration for transport mitigation, there will be massive disruption in the area at peak times.”

Croudace Homes told the meeting that it amended plans following conversations with residents, adding that the ‘principle of development cannot be reconsidered’ following outline approval.

But the plans continued to be opposed, with Cllr David Johncock (Con, Flackwell Heath, Little Marlow & Marlow South East) saying the council ‘should be striving for better.’

He also called on developer money to go to Little Marlow Lakes and Country Park (LMLCP) instead, which he said will be utilised more by Bourne End residents than Burnham Beeches.

Ray Martin, development management team leader at Bucks Council, concluded the debate by instructing the plans be deferred.

“It may be we can bring this back with regard to biodiversity, building heights, and all the things that were discussed,” he said.

Following the meeting, Cllr Wilson accused developers of trying to ‘squeeze’ homes on to the site.

He also asked how LMLCP could become a green space for residents when a number of other developments are planned there, including a new film studio.

Buckinghamshire Council’s cabinet member for planning, Cllr Peter Strachan, said after the meeting: “Members opted to defer the application to consider amendments to the scheme.

“The Wycombe Local Plan allocates land for a country park in Little Marlow and the council is currently preparing a report to consider the next steps for delivering a country park in this area.”

Croudace Homes declined to comment.

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