Wycombe District Local Plan protestors disappointed at council response to petition

James Harrison

Campaigners opposing plans for hundreds of new homes in Wooburn and Bourne End have promised to fight on, despite a lukewarm response from Wycombe District Council (WDC).

The protestors appeared at a meeting of the council’s cabinet yesterday evening (Monday) to present a petition demonstrating the depth of opposition to the proposals in the latest draft of the Wycombe District Local Plan.

But they were left ‘disappointed but not surprised’ after a non-committal response from the council.

Speaking after the meeting, Penny Drayton, one of the founders of the campaign, said: “We’re disappointed, but we’re not surprised.

“I just feel that everything we prepared is being disregarded and not really taken notice of because they have their own agenda.”

If approved, the local plan could see up to 750 houses built in the two villages. However, since it was announced over the summer objections have been raised, led by the Keep Bourne End Green group, formerly known as Don’t Destroy Bourne End.

Speaking at the meeting, Mrs Drayton said the main objections to the scheme were based on concerns over impact on infrastructure and the effect of urban sprawl.

She also claimed brownfield land in the villages had not been fully exploited and that no ‘economic, social or environmental’ assessments had been made on the potential impact of development.

In response to these issues, the group’s petition collected 2,404 signatures – less than 600 fewer than the total number of responses to the whole local plan received by WDC.

Reading from a pre-prepared statement, Cllr David Johncock, cabinet member for planning, said: “Let me emphasise that we have not disregarded the issues raised by your petition, particularly issues of infrastructure.

“I know people in Bourne End would prefer it if we took Hollands Farm out of the plan, but if we had done that for all objections to our plan then there would be very few sites.

“In this case we believe Hollands Farm is a suitable location, although there are serious issues to address.”

Click here to find out more about the campaign. Visit www.wycombe.gov.uk/newlocalplan to view the latest plan.

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