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Bourne End greenbelt campaigners vow to fight on against local plan

James Harrison

Greenbelt campaigners have promised to keep fighting after the green light was given to plans for hundreds of homes.

Efforts by the Keep Bourne End Green (KBEG) group to oppose the Wycombe District Local Plan were dealt a blow when councillors voted to progress the major planning policy to the next stage.

KBEG, which was originally known as Don’t Destroy Bourne End, has been working for over a year to try and force a change to the document’s proposals, which could see about 800 homes built in the village – including more than 450 at the greenbelt Hollands Farm site, between Wessex Road and Hedsor Road.

Stuart Wilson, a member of the group, suggested the meeting, on Monday, September 18, had been little more than a rubber stamping exercise.

He said: “I think the sense was that if they didn’t agree to this then it’s going to be a whole lot worse – it was presented as a done deal and that all hell would break loose if they didn’t approve it.”

Mr Wilson also rubbished plans to withhold brownfield sites from housing development, at the expense of greenfield sites, so they could be used for employment, such as the Glory Mill site. “People don’t want to put businesses in Wooburn and Bourne End because the traffic and infrastructure is already poor,” he said.

“They want to preserve sites for employment purposes, but there’s no point if there isn’t the market.”

The 450-page local plan sets out locations within the Wycombe District where almost 11,000 homes could be built over the next 15 years.

Following cabinet’s approval, it will go before the full council on Monday, October 9, and, subject to a vote, be put out to a six-week public consultation on Monday, October 16.

Cllr David Johncock (Con, Flackwell Heath and Little Marlow), cabinet member for planning and sustainability, said: “On the one hand, we have a severe shortage of housing and, on the other, we need to protect our wonderful countryside.

“We have worked positively with our neighbouring councils to review every inch of land across the whole county and we’ve had robust discussions with stakeholders and many people and community groups.

“We’ve had to make some difficult choices to get to the point we can present this plan.”

See www.wycombe.gov.uk to find out more about the Wycombe Local Plan and www.keepbourneendgreen.org to find out more about the campaign.

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