Wycombe must build 6,600 homes

HIGH Wycombe could have to find room for another 6,600 new homes over the next 20 years, new targets have revealed.

Plans for the future expansion of Buckinghamshire districts were launched by members of the South East England Regional Assembly (SEERA) at Oxfordshire County Hall on Friday.

Over the next four months, planning experts will listen to public opinion on the plans SEERA has drawn up and will decide whether the ideas are what Bucks really needs.

undeveloped land

The plans would see 330 homes built a year in the town. South Bucks would also have an extra 1,800 homes by 2026 and Chiltern another 2,400.

Earlier this year, planners sent leaflets to every house in the county asking for people's comments about the South East Development Plan for the future of their region.

More than 7,000 people replied, with transport topping the list of worries.

The number of homes planned for the districts of Wycombe, South Bucks and Chiltern are relatively low compared to other neighbouring areas. Nearby Aylesbury Vale will see more than 20,000 new homes spring up before 2026.

Council leader David Shakespeare will represent Buckinghamshire County Council at the public hearing.

He said: "We have to get the message across to the inspectors that the numbers being put forward at the moment are the right number. We've just held the biggest public consultation ever held in the south east.

"The plans are achievable over the next 20 years without going into the green belt. Too many new homes would totally change the character of Wycombe and Buck-inghamshire making it more urban, and people around here really like living in a semi-rural area."

The South East Development Plan public hearing comes as residents of Bourne End and Wooburn Green are battling a spate of planning applications from property developers.

Mr Shakespeare added: "Where we build is for our district to decide. We can achieve these numbers without building into the green belt. The Government is looking for almost double the number to be built in a very insistent way, but we would simply run out of land.

"We are talking about a large number of houses in the south east, over 600,000 in total, but the Government wants to see around one million. I have to make the point about the green belt very strongly.

"We need to tell the Government that more homes need more roads and schools too and that it would need them to put their hand in their pocket rather than dump the cost on the tax payer."

Public consultations will begin today and last until March 2007. Inspectors will then make recommendations to the Govern-ment, which will decide on changes before agreeing the final plan.

This is the first time planners from 11 south east counties have joined forces to develop a plan that allocates housing, roads, schools, doctors services and utilities in a coordinated way.


How many new homes by 2026?
  • Wycombe: 330 per year, totalling 6,600
  • South Bucks: 90 per year, totalling 1,800
  • Chiltern: 120 per year, totalling 2,400
  • Aylesbury Vale: 1,060 per year
  • Total: 21,200

thisisbucks.co.uk, 28.11.2006

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